New York's Wild Pitch Records, home to hip-hop artists like Oaktown griots the Coup and verbal maestro OC, has dissolved into a production company. According to Wild Pitch honcho Stu Fineman, the label didn't get much financial love from its most recent bosses at EMI. Despite a reputation for a Slim-Fast budget, WPR still compiled an impressive roster of crews, even though the much-anticipated Large Professor album never hit the racks. Serch, former 3rd Bass MC and now former WPR senior VP, played an instrumental role in signing groups to the label. "We thought we could be two young guns, go in there, bang some tables, and get shit done," Serch says. "I knew shit was fucked when me and Stu roped in 35 radio stations to play the Coup's Genocide and Juice and the EMI staff got three." Serch and Fineman admit that Bay Area promotion for the Coup could have been stronger, but Serch says that several East and West Coast mixes of the Coup's singles were being prepared to boost publicity when he learned of WPR's fate: "I thought the Coup were ready to blow up. But now they'll be picked up, and they will get theirs." At the moment, the Coup is looking at offers from other companies. "We made enough noise that other labels are wondering, Why isn't their shit blowin' up?" says the Coup's Boots. "There's no deal yet, but we are very excited about the third album."
After six years in its current location, Rough Trade Records is moving to an enormous Third and Townsend space in SOMA, near the Tower Records outlet. "We grew out of the Haight Street location three years ago," says Gail Countryman. "But we couldn't find any more square footage in the neighborhood. This area is very up-and-coming, with more foot traffic than people realize." To open Aug. 4, the new store will feature a separate room for DJs, hip hop, house, and techno with turntables inside; a "listening lounge" with different interactive media; and a mezzanine level for bigger in-store performances. According to Countryman, most of the employees are "relieved to be leaving the Haight." But will the infamous "off-key singing-guy" customer make the trek?
With Radio Valencia still boarded up almost a month after a firetruck crashed through the front of the building, some friends are throwing a benefit to cover what the cafe's insurance doesn't. The Wednesday, Aug. 2, Paradise show includes: Trance Mission, Barbara Manning & S.F. Seals, Virginia Dare, Glenn Spearman, Blue Room Boys, Graham Connah, and Lisle Ellis. Tickets are $10; call 621-1911.
By Philippe Shepnick, Sia Michel