Clem Snide’s Debut “You Were A Diamond” To Be Released On Vinyl For The First Time

Tractor Beam is proud to announce that Clem Snide’s “You Were A Diamond” the band’s debut album originally recorded in 1997 and released 1998, will be released on vinyl for the first time on November 18, 2016 via Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. Pre-order the album here.

“You Were A Diamond” with songs by Eef Barzelay and featuring sounds by sonic sound-smith / cellist / multi-media artist Jason Glasser, was engineered and produced by Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Anders Parker, Space Needle,Helium) and Martin Brumbach (Hal Wilner, Idaho, Eef Barzelay). 

Deep Background:

**Excerpt from interview conducted a few years back w/Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records founder & CEO Mike Turner for article about the label called HHBTM Records: 10 Years Of Angst & Regret.**

Q: So given that you were already hanging out in Athens a lot, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea must have been a big deal for you when it came out.

Mike Turner: Not really. At the time, I was just completely obsessed with this record by Clem Snide called You Were a Diamond that to me just did everything Neutral Milk did, but did it so much better. More heartfelt, more raw. In fact I actually kind of slammed the Neutral Milk record in my zine because there seemed to be all this hype behind it while this other record that I loved so much was just getting brushed aside. But of course I kept hearing Aeroplane everywhere I went and eventually yeah it clicked with me and I realized it was brilliant and everything people say it is. So yeah, I guess I felt a little embarrassed about that.

Q: Embarrassed because you’d said Clem Snide’s record was better?

MT: No. I’ve never been embarrassed about that. That record’s amazing. It still kills me that nobody seems to know about it

* * *

Some records you put out because you like them, some records because you love them, and some records you put out because it’s an obsession and you want the whole world to hear this thing that has so much to offer.

You Were A Diamond is a record that is both haunting and haunted (that cello, the way it mimics the scraping of fragmented skull against fragmented brain). Like paintings done on glass instead of canvas, fragile and yet somehow more luminous. Clem Snide’s music is impossible to reduce to a literal description—can’t call it alt-country when there’s a cello, call it lo-fi even though you’re able to hear every note, call it folk, even though there is a predominant electric guitar. All of this adds up to the most unlikely of sonics. Call it Clem Snide.

Or maybe call it the missing link between John Cale and Hank Williams.

Even the band name, Clem Snide, sounds like a demented Flannery O’Connor character, But it’s actually from a William Burroughs novel. Urban Gothic?

And then there’s the songs. ‘Better’ is a song of staggering empathy. The way Eef Barzelay urges his (friend? love? self?) to take off their sweater because it’s warm outside, but—and this is the difference between lyrics & singing—the way he strings out ‘waarrrrm outsIIIDE’ is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. And then there’s ‘Nick Drake Mixtape,’ and oh my god ‘Your Night To Shine’ with its lines about mustard gas and blood in the lungs. How have these songs not appeared in every film? Every poignant moment portrayed on TV? How can something this powerful—this warmly bleak, this achingly human—be so overlooked?

You Were A Diamond didn’t go completely unheard at the time (even Pitchfork eventually called it ‘a beautiful and gently melancholy album that crawls under your skin’), but it doesn’t get talked about now. Which makes sense, in a way.

The world still isn’t ready for Clem Snide because the world remains as broken, unjust and fucked-up as it’s been since the day Clem Snide was born. And we’re all still too afraid of what might happen if even for an instant we stopped smiling in public, and so we spin on ever-faster in this never-ending carnival ride of desperate apocalyptic joy. But if we would just be real for a second about the anxiety & pain of being alive, then Clem Snide would be indispensable even though in a sense they already are.

A bit of Early history from Dan Efram (Tractor Beam)

I met the band Clem Snide in Boston circa 1991. Their brash style at the time represented more prog/art rock than what would develop into alt-roots. After moving to NYC, I heard from Eef Barzelay a few times and received their latest cassette which included solo demos of many of the songs that would end up on Diamond. After leaving a record label job at Zero Hour Records where I helped to work on and sign artists I loved (i.e. Swervedriver,  Notwist, Varnaline, Anders Parker, Space Needle, Dirt Merchants, The Black Watch), I decided that Clem Snide would be a great next project to help develop. Eef’s songs were unmistakeable and I was determined to do my best to bring their sound to the world.

Besides signing on for management, I helped to fund “Diamond” with producer Adam Lasus. From the very  beginning, this album was a labor of love. Its vibe, created at Lasus’ Fireproof Recording in barren, isolated Red Hook, Brooklyn circa 1997/8 was hard to get to, but once there it was isolated enough to give the band time and space to make this masterpiece. I’m proud to have helped launch my new label and their career with it.

Shortly thereafter, the band was signed to Sire Records by none other than Seymour Stein (Madonna, Ramones, Talking Heads), on the strength of Diamond. Though in the end this deal nearly ruined the band, having Seymour Stein woo us by singing old country and western songs to us – unaccompanied in his office – felt like a pretty big deal at the time.




The Elephant 6 Collective’s family tree is beyond diverse. The first seed to take hold was E6-001, the 1993 self-titled EP by The Apples in stereo (referred to by fans as the “Tidal Wave” EP), then known simply as The Apples. It was recorded and produced on four-track cassette by Elephant 6 co-founder Robert Schneider, who would soon apply his genius to the records by Neutral Milk Hotel, The Olivia Tremor Control, The Minders, Beulah, and countless others in the E6 pantheon.

In 1994, the renamed Apples in stereo released a subsequent EP on the Bus Stop Label along with a peppering of 7″ split singles before their first full length, Fun Trick Noisemaker, came out in 1995. The band has consistently stated that vinyl is the primary medium for, in the words of the Summer 1993 E6 catalog, their “dense chiming classic pop… soaked in fuzz.”

Long out of print, Science Faire collects these earliest recordings in the original format that they were released, and were meant to be heard: on seven-inch vinyl! Complete with posters, stickers and books, Science Faire has been lovingly reproduced. Each side has been stretched to the sonic limit with maximum music per side, just as with the originals.

And as with the original 1996 pressing of this collection, there is never-before-seen artwork (for the “Time for Bed” single) from the early 90’s by Elephant 6 co-founder W. Cullen Hart of The Olivia Tremor Control. As a bonus, the track “Onto Something” is included here which wasn’t included on the original Science Faire release.

All three singles are housed in a special package created by Chunklet’s in-house designer Henry Owings.

Edition of 500.

Releases: December 14, 2016

This album is a collection of EPs and singles by THE APPLES in stereo, released between the summers of 1993 and 1995.

“Touch the Water” & “To Love the Vibration…” lyrics by J. McIntyre.
All other lyrics by R. Schneider.

Recorded between various four-track tape machines at The Elephant 6 Recording Co., 1993-1994.
The Apples EP originally released on Elephant 6 Records, 1993.
The Hypnotic Suggestion EP originally released on The Bus Stop Label, 1995. Thank you so much, Brian.
TIME FOR BED EP collects the following recordings:
“To Love the Vibration of the Bulb” (1993) was recorded for the APPLES EP, but wasn’t included in the release.
“Time For Bed/I Know You’ll Do Well” was originally released on a 7” split EP with The Olivia Tremor Control (Small-Fi Records, 1994). Thanks, Ben.
“Rocket Pad” was originally released on a flexi-disc split with The Heartworms (Wurlitzer Jukebox Records, 1995). Thanks, Keith.
“Onto Something” was originally released on a 7” split EP with Sportsguitar (100 Guitar Mania Records, 1995). Thanks, Furu.

Exquisite hand-drawn artwork by W. Cullen Hart.
Collage art by Robert Schneider.
Package design by Henry Owings.
Thanks to KLPI-Ruston,LA for the cover photo.
The Songs: “Tidal Wave” and “Not The Same” by R. Schneider/C. Parfitt.
“Stop Along The Way” by J. McIntyre/R. Schneider.
“Touch the Water and “To Love the Vibration of the Bulb” by J. McIntyre.
All other selections by R. Schneider.
All compositions © 1993, 1994, 1995 The Elephant 6 Publishing Co. (ASCAP).
Thanks to our families, our friends, our kitties, spinART, and Henry Owings.

This compilation under exclusive license from The Elephant 6 Recording Co.

Chunklet Industries 1694 May Ave SE Atlanta, GA 30316 U.S.A.

Robert Schneider to Support E6 Cohorts Neutral Milk Hotel / Publishes Ramanujan Article In The Believer

The Apples in stereo’s Robert Schneider to Support Elephant 6 Cohorts Neutral Milk Hotel on Band’s Final Tour

Publishes Long Article on Mythical Mathematical Genius Srinivasa Ramanujan in McSweeney’s The Believer

(Decatur, GA): The Apples in stereo’s Robert Schneider will provide direct support for Elephant 6 friends Neutral Milk Hotel on several dates over the summer, for the last dates of their long-running reunion tour. Schneider produced, engineered, arranged and performed on both Neutral Milk Hotel albums, and is a lifelong collaborator of NMH leader Jeff Mangum. This is his first tour since apparently leaving the music scene three years ago to pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics at Emory University, studying under world-renowned number theorist Ken Ono.

“I have missed playing shows, and traveling with my friends,” says Schneider. “This is going to be awesome.” Dates below.

But the intervening years have been busy ones for Schneider. This month, he and bandmate Benjamin Phelan have published a long article in The Believer about Schneider’s trip to India to investigate a mathematical super-genius named Srinivasa Ramanujan. (In fact, it’s Ramanujan who’s responsible for Schneider’s musical hiatus–after hearing Ramanujan’s incredible story, he put the band on hold and moved to Georgia to pursue a Ph.D. in number theory.) The article is just as bold and adventurous as anything released under the auspices of Elephant 6. While on tour for 2010’s Travellers in Space and Time, Schneider and Phelan, a new Apple recruited for the tour, who happened also to be a magazine writer (New York Times Book Review, Harpers, Best American Science Writing 2009), discovered a joint love of mathematics, and developed a unique shared perspective on the meaning of Ramanujan’s work. In an article for The Believer, “Encounter with the Infinite,” Schneider and Phelan relate their intricate vision, weaving Schneider and Ramanujan’s story together to create a psychedelic travelogue through Southern India and an inquiry into the nature of infinity. (Link to article:

Wed Jun 3, 2015 McDonald Theatre, 1010 Willamette Street, Eugene, OR 97401-3133

Thu Jun 4, 2015, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101

Fri Jun 5, 2015 Knitting Factory – Spokane, 919 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Sat Jun 6, 2015, Wilma Theatre, 131 S. Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59802

Mon Jun 8, 2015, Knitting Factory – Boise, 416 S. 9th Street, Boise, ID 83702

Tue Jun 9, 2015, Knitting Factory – Reno, 211 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89501

Wed Jun 10, 2015, Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Thu Jun 11, 2015, The Phoenix Theater, 201 East Washington, Petaluma, CA 94952

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