Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Late August Release for 3-Way Singles, Volume 4!

Rock and roll is not about adherence to schedules, flight plans, or even expectations: some of the best records I've ever heard frustrated my expectations (or exceeded them) on first listen.  Such has been the case with the fabled 4th volume of the 3-Way Singles Club, which will see the light August 30th!

Originally slated to drop the first day of each new month, starting this past May, the Club made a slow entropic slide to the middle of the month for July's volume with Narc Out The Reds, The Hat Madder, & The Playback.  But it was a concession made in favor of the music: the bands' intention was to record all together, in the same room with each other adding input on the writing and recording process and frequently guest-spotting on each others' songs.  The results were worth the wait, and the single is a testimony to Isaac Richmond Vander Schuur's band-herding, engineering, and production skills.  Considering that two of the bands were about to depart on tour and Narc Out The Reds was wrapping up the mastering/pressing of the Pawnmower/Leak In The Disease vinyl 7" that same month, we were fortunate to appeal to their artistic sides and the resulting songs, mostly written in situ over a marathon weekend of recording, bring the Singles Club to more rocking territory at a high point, and with a grand entrance.

Work began almost immediately on Volume 4.  It was agreed that releasing a new single merely two weeks after the last one wouldn't do any favors to either, so we aimed for the middle of August.  Something to welcome the students back with, for those of us in college towns, and specifically something to introduce incoming freshmen to a portion of the independent music kaleidoscope in little old Lansing -- a city situated between the creative poles of monied Grand Rapids and decaying Detroit that has risen to its own musical prominence over the 19 years I've lived here, hatching such artists as Frontier Ruckus, Calliope, Benoit Pioulard, El Smasho, Apollo 9, Cheap Girls, Steppin' In It, and The Verve Pipe, just to name a few of the more nationally recognized ones.  You may also have heard of a guy named Stevie Wonder, who made his name in Motown but cut his teeth in Lansing.  Or maybe The Crucifucks, who among other things gave us Sonic Youth's drummer Steve Shelley?  OK, point made, right?

Lansing is also a crossroads for musicians who still bother with Michigan.  Back in the day, you could see Brainiac, At The Drive In, or even Taj Mahal at a house show!  Or you could see U2 on the tour for their album "Boy" in the basement bar Dooley's.  Or The Jesus Lizard at booty-dance bar Rick's.  The list goes on and on.

But this isn't just about Lansing, Lansing is just an example of a post-industrial Midwest town that wooed the auto industry and became defined by it instead of nurturing the varied artistic endeavors that sprung up -- despite an often negligent and indifferent general public.  You could replace "Lansing" with "Flint" or "Akron."  The unspoken was, we weren't Chicago so we didn't matter.  This is "The Flyover," remember?  We just build the cars and grow the food, let the folks in New York and L.A. worry about the art.

I'm going to bring that tangent back around to Volume 4...  The first song that arrived was Terminal Girls (from Detroit, mind you) "Pink Clouds."  It's one of two songs that got their radio debut last Thursday evening on WDBM 88.9 FM's Michigan-centric program "The Basement."  Also spun that evening was The Plurals' brand-spanking new song "Neon Life," a freshly-recorded tune hot on the hotter heels of their brand new, enthusiastically received "Futurospective: The Plurals Today, The Plurals Tomorrow" platter.  With these two blisteringly beautiful tracks in the can, there was just one more piece to fall in place for the puzzle to be complete.

People have children, and day jobs, and competing schedules, and financial priorities.  These are realities.  Yet we keep making art and releasing music anyway.  No one I know falls anywhere near the cossetted life of big-label bands, who can luxuriate through years of writer's block accompanied by starlets and bags of blow.  We're not in it for the lifestyle, it is life.  And that certainly goes for hard-working, groundbreaking dirge-psych-metal act Cavalcade, whose members split their time between several other bands, full-time jobs, running the Bermuda Mohawk label, and generally being an encouraging and inspiring presence on the regional music scene.  Cavalcade took it upon themselves to record something for ITAV outside of their norm, an acoustic song that pulled in bits of psych-rock and spaghetti western and that became a logistical tangle that they have admirably persevered through.

We are extremely proud to offer the fruits of their labor alongside Terminal Girls' swinging, sinister "Pink Clouds" and The Plurals' alternately bracing and hummable "Neon Life."  And we thank you for your patience and understanding in waiting for this singular 3-way to drop.  It's going to be sooo worth it, and it'll still be in time to herald a new semester, an Indian Summer, and a clutch of great shows and upcoming releases from all over The Flyover.

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