Present Tense was Shoes' first major label release on Elektra Records in the fall of 1979. Recorded in Oxfordshire, England at Richard Branson's The Manor recording studio in the summer of 1979 and mixed in London at Trident Studios working with producer Mike Stone (Queen, Asia, T. Rex). Present Tense garnered very positive reviews both in the U.S. and in England and set the tone for Shoes' reputations as "critic's darlings" everywhere from New York's Village Voice to England's New Musical Express. The 12 songs included here spawned 4 single releases (Tomorrow Night, Too Late and I Don't Miss You on 7" and I Don't Wanna Hear It on 12") as well as 4 videos (Tomorrow Night, Too Late, Cruel You and In My Arms Again) that would later become early staples at MTV. The layered vocal harmonies and guitar-based songs became a trademark of all of Shoes' discs.
Tongue Twister was recorded during the summer of 1980 but wasn't released until January of 1981. Working with Fleetwood Mac's production team of Richard Dashut and engineer Hernan Rojas, basic recording was done at United Western Studios in Hollywood, CA and was mixed at The Village Recorder in Santa Monica, CA. The production approach was for a more stripped down sound giving the overall disc a more basic feel but still grounded by melodic, guitar-driven songs. The initial single release was to be She Satisfies b/w The Things You Do and copies were pressed and ready to ship (with full-color picture sleeve) when a noted radio programmer declared that Karen would be a "top 40 smash" if it were released as a single. So Elektra destroyed the original pressing (collectable picture sleeves of the intended single still exist) and pressed up singles designed to be a "double A-side" release of She Satisfies and Karen. A video of In Her Shadow was compiled from an appearance as musical guests on a Madison, WI television show and released to MTV in late 1981, who were by this time clamoring for more Shoes videos. The video was pulled from MTV by Elektra after a few showings due to the fact that the band didn't go through proper channels at the label before it was issued.
For more info and a behind the scenes peek at the recording of Present Tense, check out Jeff Murphy's book, "Birth of A Band, The Record Deal and the Making of Present Tense" here;