Friday, July 15, 2011

Volume 3 Released! News, News, and More News!

First of all, thanks to our brothers-from-another-mother and sisters-from-another-mister over at GTG Recordings for the shout outs to the 3-Way Singles Club's third volume, featuring The Hat Madder, The Playback, and Narc Out The Reds.  

  Download/Stream 3-Way Singles Club, Volume Three HERE.  

...And don't miss the great show TONIGHT at the GTG House, featuring Cavalcade, Josh David & The Dream Jeans, and Johnny Unicorn.  You've heard of Facebook by now, right?  Well here's the event, it's part of GTG Festivus, the mutant offspring of the annual GTG Fest, which outgrew the McCord ranch last summer and has been split into several multi-band events this month.  Come drink pure rock'n'roll rainbows right from the source itself!

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It is with great pride that ITAV unveils the third volume of the 3-Way Singles Club!  Volume Three features three songs by three bands that are all known for their technical prowess, fierce live shows, and teambuilding in the Lansing music scene.  I've been looking forward to this one since the series began, and, in many ways a conversation with Isaac from The Hat Madder a few years ago is the whole reason this series started in the first place.

In 2008 I was in the process of assembling the In The Orchard of Osiris compilation, which was shaping up to be a mellow, autumnal collection of songs, when I received a couple of instantly catchy yet hard rocking tunes from the Hat Madder and from West Lafayette, IN's artsy indie-punkers Drum Kit.  I fell in love with both tracks, yet try as I might to shoehorn them into In The Orchard of Osiris, they just wouldn't sit right in the playlist.  So I had these two great tracks, just different enough from each other in production and recording aesthetic that they would have made an uneasy split single...  But, and just but, with a third just-as-unique track maybe, just maybe a 3-way split single could be constructed?  Madness, I thought.  Anyway, I wanted to focus on In The Orchard of Osiris so the idea got shelved.

Fast-forward two years.  I.T.O.o.O. was completed and pressed, and I was itching to keep up the momentum.  Yet if there's anything I learned from I.T.O.o.O., it was that a large-scale project like that was very hard on my resources.  As most things of lasting beauty are wont to do, it cost more and took more time than even my careful budgeting and conservative time-lining had prepared for.

The idea with the singles series was FAST:  new songs, straight from the studio to the ear buds, with as little lag time as possible.  Making the series digital meant no manufacturing costs.  My years spent booking shows and working with bands on their visual design needs had put me into contact with a slew of hard-working and talented acts that (in my opinion) were woefully under-exposed.  I literally love the acts on the 3-Way Singles Club roster, and I wanted to deliver fresh platters of their sounds to new ears everywhere.  Another angle of the project was that I wanted to reward listeners and gig-goers who had been supporting these bands all along -- singles and EPs tend to go unnoticed by the masses, who'd rather consume full-length albums or 99-cent downloads.  It's the faithful who collect these smaller packets, who treasure them and request obscure B-sides at live shows.

(and by the way, we still haven't released those great Hat Madder and Drum Kit tracks -- Isaac wrote a brand new slamming post-punk song for Volume Three)

This series is for those fans, as well as for adventurous newcomers.  I'm extremely excited for next month's installment featuring The Plurals, Cavalcade, and Terminal Girls.  That's three bands that exemplify creative hard work, and having come into possession of the Terminal Girls' track a little early, I can say that 3-Way Singles Club, Volume Four is already in the not-to-be-missed category!

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But why are the singles $3?  Why aren't they free?   Well, first of all because it made the series' motto "3 artists, 3 songs, 3 bucks," and that just has a nice ring to it.  And may I remind you that Volume One was, in fact, and still is, also in fact, FREE.

All glibness aside though, the 3-Way Singles Club was also designed as a funding vehicle.  I've noticed over time how free things can often go unappreciated -- leaving the well-intended benefactors feeling burned out or worse.  It's a nice gesture that can get easily lost.  ITAV's first ever project was a free compilation called First-hand Accounts, Theories, and Their Repercussions.  We pressed 1,000 and handed them out in stacks.  It still brings me a smile when I see a copy of it somewhere, but I also know that hundreds of them filtered to the bottom of people's CD stacks or ended up under a car's floormat somewhere.  The 10% of them that still get listened to are the success of that project, which was great fun by the way.  I don't mean to imply in any way that compiling independent music is drudgery, because it's not.  So, ITAV's newer releases are something you have to work for -- not very hard -- but you have to trade something of value for them:  3 bucks.

Where that $3 was going to go was a question that I've been ruminating for a while.  Putting out music has a lot of incidental expenses, so at first it was just going to roll right back into ITAV's operational costs.  Which would be fine.  And which all of the bands have been comfortable with.  But then I got a better idea.

The Independent Musicians Fund

Making and performing music has a lot of incidental expenses too.  Chances are, if you are one of those musicians whose parents didn't buy you a Marshall half-stack and a 1958 Telecaster, you've taken something like a vow of poverty to be able to make music.  Maybe you're a student, maybe you have a day job.  Lord knows, without label support, you're not going to support yourself solely on independent gigs -- nevermind if you have a family.  Artists are the only working group in society who are expected to never retire.  Into this mix comes the unexpected: shorted amps, broken mic cables, missing guitar stands.

So those $3 downloads are going to be earmarked for the IMF (Independent Musicians Fund).  As of writing, we're at about $9 in the fund -- but once the ball gets rolling unsigned independent musicians can apply to the fund for unexpected repairs, unforeseen touring expenses, etc.  There will be a lot of denials at first, because the fund started at zero and will take time to accumulate.  However, next January we will institute a blanket $30 subscription to the 3-Way Singles Club that will entitle the subscriber to all past and future volumes in the series.  You'll still be able to get each individual single for $3, if you prefer.  Then when, say, your favorite local band's van gets a flat while they are trekking across North Dakota on tour, IMF will be in a position to do something about it.

Right now, with just a few volumes out, the economics don't make sense to start the subscription.  However, if you want to get in at the ground floor, hit the "donate" button over to our right and earmark your $30 donation "IMF."  Include your e-mail address and we'll send you new volumes of the series as they come out!  Sometimes before they come out!  There will also be many other subscriber-only benefits, more on that later.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Comments?

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