PWR BTTM’s Debut Album Ugly Cherries Coming Back to Streaming Services
In a statement sent to the press this morning, PR representatives for the disgraced indie rock band PWR BTTM announced that its debut album Ugly Cherries will return to streaming services and stores today. The album, which was released on the indie label Father/Daughter Records in 2015, was, along with the band’s new album Pageant, pulled from streaming services and stores after lead singer Ben Hopkins was accused of sexual assault last month—claims that Hopkins and the band have strenuously denied. Pageant was released (briefly, anyway) by the label Polyvinyl, and today’s statement indicates that the band—along with an attorney, and ex-label executive and Kinky Boots composer Lisa Barbaris—is fighting the label to once again make that record available. The statement reads:
PWR BTTM’s LP ‘Ugly Cherries’ will be made available digitally as of Tuesday, June 13. This LP, originally released by Father/Daughter Records, and the May 2017 release ‘Pageant’ were pulled from stores and streaming services last month when the band’s current and past record labels dropped them as a result of an anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct.
This allegation followed rumors that began to circulate two days before the planned release of PWR BTTM’s breakthrough album ‘Pageant’, which had garnered early acclaim from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, The FADER, and NPR Music and had been named one of the “most anticipated albums of 2017″ by The A.V. Club, Stereogum, and more. The band released a statement contesting the claims. Still, the band’s 36-city tour remained canceled and their music remained unavailable on virtually every digital platform.
Veteran label exec and music manager Lisa Barbaris is currently working with PWR BTTM. Barbaris was Director of Press and Artist Relations for Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records before opening So What Management in 1994 and becoming manager for Cyndi Lauper, working with her on numerous tours and recordings plus her debut as a Broadway composer with ‘Kinky Boots.’ As a fan of PWR BTTM’s music, Barbaris was appalled at the response of the band’s labels in withdrawing music and support so hastily.
Attorney Jeffrey Koenig of Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy & Worob LLP has been working with PWR BTTM and Barbaris to reclaim the band’s music following the label’s unprecedented move. As of now, Polyvinyl has not presented any viable plan to the band to make the music on ‘Pageant’ available to their fans.
In a comment to Billboard, Polyvinyl said:
Polyvinyl has been in contact with PWR BTTM’s team to work out a separation, and is waiting for details necessary to make that happen. Polyvinyl wishes to make the transition as easy as possible and has no desire to prevent the band from releasing Pageant once an agreement has been reached.
In speaking with Billboard, Koenig, the band’s new attorney, indicated that Polyvinyl “wants to be reimbursed for the unrecouped advance it gave PWR BTTM to record the album before it will transfer distribution rights to the group,” a claim that the label did not address.