A couple years ago when people were knee deep in their nostalgia for C-86 inspired girl bands, Chin Chin seemed to get looked over. Maybe it was because their albums were long out of print and nearly impossible to find, or perhaps it was because they were from Beil, Switzerland and didn’t get a lot of press or exposure in the English language music rags when they were around. Whatever the case, a couple of stellar labels are in the process of making sure that Chin Chin get their due. Hopefully the process will be a three step one.
In 1984 the band released their first single We Don’t Wanna Be Prisoners, three songs that had a lot in common with the Shop Assistants who apparently were like a sister band to them, touring together in old Europe. Portland’s eclectic Mississippi Records has just reissued that first single which was hopelessly OOP. Step one complete. Soon after putting out their single, Chin Chin unleashed the 14 song debut album called Sound of the Westway which was amazing for it’s consistency and ability to sound like the Ramones and the Shangri-Las’ kid sisters at the same time. This record has made the rounds on the torrent sites and leak blogs, but anyone actually wanting to actually own a physical copy of the album had to be patient and well funded. Once again Mississippi Records, this time with the help of Slumberland (you may have heard of them) are coming to the rescue bringing this obscure jem to the general public. A date hasn’t been set, but Slumberland’s site says it’s on the slate for this year and it will be a vinyl only reissue. Step two nearly complete.
Up to this point Chin Chin had put out their records on their own label they christened Farmer Records, but after touring with the Shop Assistants, they caught the fancy of one Stephen Pastel. At the time Pastel was curating his 53rd and 3rd label and released the band’s eight song Stop! Your Crying. Finally the stars had aligned and Chin Chin and the Shop Assistants were on the same label, and all was right with the world. Except that is wasn’t. The band never seemed gain much notoriety and like so many of the great ones sloughed off into obscurity. I don’t know of any plans to reissue the Stop! Your Crying, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the planning stages right now. Step three anyone?
mp3: Chin Chin – We Don’t Wanna Be Prisoners (reissued on Mississippi)
mp3: Chin Chin – My Guy (soon to be reissued on Mississippi & Slumberland)
mp3: Chin Chin – Stop! Your Crying (hopefully getting reissued too)
Here is the video the band made for We Don’t Wanna Be Prisoners. I’m pretty sure I never saw it on 120 Minutes.