This fall has certainly been eventful for members of the Photo Atlas. First, they parted ways with drummer Devon Shirley in the middle of an East Coast tour, and then word came down last week that Rob Stevenson, head of the act's Stolen Transmission imprint, had been handed his walking papers by Island Def Jam.
Soon after that news broke, label co-founder Sarah Lewitinn (aka Ultragrrrl) posted a note on her personal blog assuring everyone that despite the split, the label would continue. "Stolen Transmission started IN MY BEDROOM," she wrote, reminding everyone that the label began as an indie, "putting out hand made cds of bands that me and Rob Stevenson believed in. We weren't funded back then, and we were really happy.
"I'm so fucking proud that the label went from me and a bunch of interns sitting in my bedroom smoking and watching Degrassi and eating guac I had just made to me sitting in meetings once a week with Jay-Z," Lewitinn marveled. "And now it'll just go back to being run from my apartment again. We plan on continuing with Stolen Transmission and are really excited to be returning to our indie roots.... We're just working from a different location. We're still working all the bands we released (no bands we were working with had anything unreleased — 'cept for innerpartysystem, who are still in the studio and will remain there til they're done). We're still doing everything the same as before, for the most part...So it's business as usual here!"
The Photo Atlas
But Lewitinn's optimism may have been a bit premature. Last Thursday, citing an unnamed source (presumably an insider at the label), Billboard.biz filed a report alleging that the future of Stolen Transmission has yet to be determined, and that in all likelihood, the imprint will continue to operate under the Island Def Jam umbrella.
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And at the moment, confirms Morning After Records honcho Dan Rutherford, nothing has changed for the Photo Atlas. "The band and myself have been instructed to go on as business as usual," he says. "The records are still in stores; the records aren't being pulled off the shelves. Tours are still happening, and demos are still happening." Those marching orders, Rutherford adds, came directly from their new A&R rep at Island, who is working with the act in Stevenson's absence. Stevenson, meanwhile, is reportedly slated to meet with IDJ execs sometime this week to discuss the future of Stolen Transmission.
However it all pans out, you can bet the fellas will continue to live in a van, as they have for the better part of this past year. In that regard, at least, everything really is business as usual.
In fact, Alan Andrews and company were back in town this past weekend for a scheduled date with 3Oh!3 at the Gothic. As anyone who ventured out on Saturday night can tell you, though, Denver's streets had been converted into a massive skating rink, prompting the cancellation of the show, which has now been rescheduled for January 5.
And speaking of 3Oh!3, the outfit is due major props for being included in the first batch of groups announced as part of next year's Warped Tour. If kids outside our area code take to the tomfoolery of Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman as the ones here have, you can expect the scene shown here — from this year's Warped Tour — to be replicated across the country all summer long.