Monday, July 25, 2016


Petra Haden - Imaginaryland and The Who Sell Out
(Reissued April 22, 2016)

Petra Haden, as both a vocalist and musician, has worked with a who's who of the music industry, including the Green Day, Beck, the Foo Fighters, the Decemberists, Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers, Weezer, Bill Frissell, and the Rentals, to name just a few.  One of triplet daughters of jazz bassist Charlie Haden,  Petra has often worked with sisters Rachel and Tanya (most notably in That Dog.) But she's perhaps best known for her homemade, mostly a cappella recordings, Imaginaryland (1995) and the remarkable Petra Haden Sings:The Who Sell Out (released by Bar/None in 2005.)  In April, 2016, Bar/None reissued Imaginaryland and The Who Sell Out, making them available to a new generation of fans for the first time.

Petra Haden: "I started recording  a cappella ideas and melodies, and covering songs on a 4-Track, back in the 90's. That's where my first solo album Imaginaryland was started. A few years later, Mike Watt asked me to record an a cappella interpretation of The Who Sell Out. He gave me his Tascam 488- Portastudio and I started working on it right away.
He put a tape inside with The Who Sell Out recorded on the 8th track, so I had 7 tracks to work with. I have to say it took me a little while, but I eventually had a finished product. I played him the songs over the phone and he said, "Great, now you haveto put it out!" I thought, who is going to want to put THIS out? It's so weird. Well, It got in the hands of Glenn Morrow at Bar/None andhe told me he wanted to talk to me about Bar/None putting it out. I said, "Are you sure? Don't you want me to re-record it in a studio,with a better mic?" He told me he liked it just how it was. Then I found out that Pete Townshend liked it just how it was too. It was so cool - I was learning how to record on an 8-track while getting to know more about The Who's music. I'm so happy Mike asked me to do it. And I'm so grateful to Bar/None! Thank you Mike Watt, Glenn Morrow, Mark Lipsitz and everyone at Bar/None for believing in me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Here's a special treat as part of Bar/None's ongoing 30th Anniversary celebration - a video medley of some of the label's most memorable artists.  How many of these songs do you remember?



They Might Be Giants - Self-Titled (November 4, 1986) 
They Might Be Giants - Lincoln (September 25, 1988)
Various Artists: Hello Radio: The Songs Of They Might Be Giants (July 8, 2008)

John Flansburgh and John Linnell grew up as friends in Lincoln, Massachusetts but only began to perform together when both relocated to Brooklyn - to the same apartment building, on the same day! - in 1981.  Their clever, quirky, and often comical  take on modern pop - performed on guitar, accordion, saxophone, and drum machine,  accompanied by outlandish props like giant fezzes and large cardboard cut-out heads - soon attracted a cult following in the NYC club scene. When Linnell broke his wrist and Flansburgh's apartment was robbed, the duo had to stop performing for a time.  They  began reaching fans by advertising their phone number in local newspapers and offering free songs on an answering machine. "Dial-A-Song," as it was known, attracted the attention of Bar/None Records, which released the group's self-titled debut in 1986.  College radio loved it and MTV put the video for "Don't Let's Start" in heavy rotation;  Bar/None had its first hit album.  In 1988, Bar/None released TMBG's second album, Lincoln (named after Linnell and Flansburgh's home town.) Lincoln included the hit single "Ana Ng," which reached No. 11 on the U.S. Modern Rock Chart.

In 2008, Bar/None invited a host of indie artists (including Frank Black, OK Go, The Wrens, and Jason Trachtenberg) to interpret their favorite TMBG songs on the compilation Hello Radio: The Songs Of They Might Be Giants.


 Hello Radio: The Songs Of TMBG on

Here is the some of the advertising that They Might Be Giants inspired back in the Eighties:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


As we reminisce on the past 30 years, we’ve been scouring the archives and digging up all kinds of ephemera. Below is a small collection of demo submissions we’ve received over the years—artists that didn’t find a home here for one reason or another. Some of these artists called it quits and others rock on. We’re hoping you can provide us with a bit more info on these acts, maybe let us know what they’re up to today. If you are the first to name one of the artists pictured below, we’ll send you a FREE Bar/None catalog vinyl record of YOUR choice, so take a stab at it! Email your findings to BARNONE30TH@GMAIL.COM.

 1.) No consensus on where they should be looking, but maybe you've got one on their name?

2.) How could you forget bodies like these?


3.) She's smiling like you're never going to guess her name.

4.) Might have been your friendly neighbor?

5.)If you weren't gambling on Jenga with this group, then what were you doing? 

Email your findings to and if you are the FIRST to give a correct answer, we will send you a FREE Bar/None catalog vinyl record of choice!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Time For A Change: Bar/None Sampler #2 (1989)

Bar/None released its second sampler compilation, Time For A Change, in 1989.  It not only introduced fans to the label's eclectic roster but even attracted the attention of People magazine.  Here's a fan letter we recently received from a fan in Queens whose own band was inspired in part by the music on Time For A Change, followed by the review that appeared in People.

We're The Pardos, an alternative rock band from Queens, NY, and I think we might be a good fit for your label. Or at least I hope we are, considering that you were the first label to sign They Might Be Giants, who are one of our primary influences. But that's not the only reason.

When I was about 15 years old, I found a (very reasonably priced) CD online that had some TMBG on it. It was Bar/None Sampler, #2: Time For A Change. I ordered a used copy off of Amazon, and it arrived in a couple of days, thanks to the wonders of modern freight. And as I listened to it, going from Otis Ball to Bill Drummond to Luka Bloom to Freedy Johnston, I couldn't help but wonder what the odds of these artists getting signed by a major label. They were just too different, too strange. And that was pretty much the first time that I realized that there were labels out there, like yours, that gave weird bands a home, that someone's going to listen and care, even if your lyrics are cryptic and specific or your sounds aren't overproduced and slicked up. It helped me see that there are people out there who think weird music and good music can be the same thing, and I think that gave me the courage to not care about being accessible, to write songs about Stockholm syndrome, prisoners in love with news anchors, and how boring assisted suicide can be. There's a chance someone out there will enjoy them. I think that simple sampler from your label showed me that those songs might have a place, and I honestly want to thank you for that.

That anecdote isn't meant to sway you in any way, and if our songs don't fit on your label, that's okay. I just wanted to let you know that your artists were a part of what inspired me to make the art that I make, and to thank you for giving them a platform. 

Also, how cool is the internet that I can tell you that? What a time to be alive. 
And here's a link to our website if you need any more information:

Thank you so much for your time,

Adam Rudy

A Time For A Change Playlist