Sunday, December 18, 2011

3-Way Singles Club, Volume 8 is cleared for take-off!

Featuring an alternate, exclusive version of The People's Temple's sunburnt "Jim Jones," which originally appeared on the Make You Understand 7-inch EP on HoZac Records, 3-Way Singles Club Volume Nine is the blasting cap on the musical stick of dynamite that ITAV attempted to contain in 2011!  Click on the pretty picture or the link below it to immerse yourself in three breathtaking tracks from the aforementioned, Jackpine Snag, and Nocturnal Aviators In Action!

(by the way, we're offering this volume for free/pay-what-you-will until Christmas day!)

3-Way Singles Club, Volume Eight hits the streets in the waning hours of 2011, while people claw for the latest gadgets and gizmos at big-box stores across the country -- the annual Christmas frenzy.  Of all the 3-Way Singles released this year, this one takes me back to the simple, pleasurable experience of buying  Minneapolis-based record label Amphetamine Reptile's compilations at Traverse City's independent record shop (now a Coldstone Creamery), New Moon Records.  At that time (early 1990s), I lived at home, and I bought these noisy AmRep comps on CD -- partly because I wasn't hip enough to collect vinyl, and partly because I still lived at my parents' house and it was easier to smuggle something called "Dope, Guns, And F@#king In The Streets, Volumes 4-7" into the house in the lightweight, portable CD format.

In those days, I plied a schizophrenic musical groove that included Quicksilver Messenger Service, Bongwater, Robert Johnson, fIREHOSE, and The Jesus Lizard.  Those AmRep discs bristled with tracks by bands called "Lubricated Goat" and "Jonestown." They were menacing and musical -- songs often threatened to jump the rails, but the surprisingly melodic tracks by the likes of Hammerhead, Unsane, the Boredoms, Brainiac, and my beloved Superchunk were a gateway between the free-wheeling psychedelia that was opening my mind and the punk and metal that was harnessing my youthful disgust.

(If anyone sees "Dope, Guns, And F@#king In The Streets, Vol. 1-3" -- the pink one -- on CD, grab it -- I'll trade you something cool for it.)

Enough about that.  Something about the blistering psyche-rock and bedrock-shaking groovy riffs of the three songs laid out before you by The Jackpine Snag, The People's Temple, and Nocturnal Aviators... something about the melting pot of blues, garage rock, and punk that ties these three very different songs together... something about the dirty tones and layered guitars and propulsive rhythms... it all grabs and it won't let go.  It just digs under your skin and shakes you by the musculoskeletal structure.  And that's alright.

As an aside, what is it about Lansing Michigan that produces so many vocalists that can channel Gary Floyd (of The Dicks)?  Must be something in the water up there.  Something I would drink by the gallon.

Nostalgia is an important element in music.  Music exists out of time.  It has a way of triggering our senses: hearing (obviously), taste, touch, and smell.  It accesses our memories and our wishes and our animal natures too.  Can we have nostalgia for the future?  That's not an oxymoron, for music.  I credit these songs for having a cellular familiarity, a sense memory that makes me feel like they've been pounding around in my head for years after just a couple listens.

2011 has been a banner year for It Takes A Village To Make Records: we've released more songs this year than any other year so far!  We're in talks with a couple artists about our first-ever vinyl releases next year, and we've established the Independent Musicians Fund.  The IMF is the recipient of every cent you spend on the 3-Way Singles Club (after the fees that Bandcamp and PayPal collect), and it feeds right back into the underground scene.  We're growing the fund right now, and hope to start distributing funds to qualified applicants by next May -- about one year after we launched this monthly series of digital 3-artist singles!  That's exciting, and we thank everyone who has listened, linked a song to a blog or Facebook page, or purchased a single.  We hope you've had a great year too, and we look forward to bringing more great independent music to you in 2012!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Independent Musicians Fund

For a long time, I've been having conversations with musicians and promoters around mid-Michigan about nurturing and incubating talent.  As we've watched many local venues struggle (and in some cases, shutter) and seen our friends pour their hearts into recordings, live gigs, and tours only to find that their expenses are outrunning their gains; as we've been supported by a dedicated core of friends but weathered general community indifference; and as we've worked to build awareness, provide opportunities for new musical voices, and just create something fun, exciting, and creative to do for anyone who cares to show up -- well, a void has gradually become more evident.

It's hard to see things that are not there.  It often takes a while to delineate their edges and truly identify where need exists.  What's right in front of us often claims our attention; things like broken mic cables, postage expenses to mail out tour fliers, or finding the time to remind our friends (again) that we have a show on Friday and that we'd really love it if they could... hey, wait a minute!  That's it!  That's the void!

It's the little nickle-and-dime expenses like mailing out fliers and demos and repairing cords that have been stepped on one too many times that hold us back.  The bigger the obstacle, the easier it is to avoid -- but the little things, the irritants and inconveniences -- are what often hold us back from finishing that album, booking that gig, or planning that tour.  They can come too fast and too furious for anything as graceful as side-stepping.  Instead, we meet them head on, which often means a stoppage of the creative workflow.

The Independent Musicians Fund (I.M.F.) is ITAV's answer to that scenario of minor interferences slowing the flow of creativity -- our way of removing minor obstacles from the lives of working musicians.  Because many of us play music despite our low position on the economic totem pole.  It enriches an otherwise simple, often blue collar existence.  We often elect to live "bohemian" so that our art can take the front burner, but the generally low wage service-sector jobs we land to keep our free time available for musical pursuits don't allow a lot of budgetary wiggle-room when something breaks or a drum seat comes up missing in the middle of tour.

The I.M.F. is a repository for 100% of the proceeds from the 3-Way Singles Club: it's a way that musicians taking part in the series can support the greater musical community in a visible way.  By contributing exclusive songs in clusters of 3 at an approachable 3 bucks, the series is available to all -- and there are occasional freebies and promotions to further sweeten the deal.

Like us on facebook at:  We'd be much obliged.

Starting today, the 3-Way Singles Club is available for a one-time, $30 subscription fee.  (See the PayPal button at the top right of the page) You can have it all!  At the same time, you can feel good about your support of the greater creative community.  As the fund grows, I.M.F. will begin taking applications for 0% loans and outright grants.  As of writing, I.M.F. is not a non-profit, because the application fee to become a 501(c)3 is about $500, but that is an eventual goal.  Funds collected so far from the 3-Way Singles Club (an impressive $26.10) are set safely aside as the humble beginnings of our big vision.  We'd like to have a comfy $100 in the fund by next May and begin the applicant process. 

In addition to raising funds by putting out exclusive digital triple singles, I.M.F. is building a lending library of books about music production, live sound, music business, publishing, and other aids to help leverage the energy of writing and playing music into something bigger and more sustainable.  We also offer consultation on artwork, graphic design, and printing.  I.M.F. wants to help your band rise above the clamor of the internet, get seen and heard at the street level, get songs placed in movies and television, and make inroads into independent radio -- and we don't want anything in return!

Also, this is not restricted to the Midwest, though that's where we hang our own particular hat -- we're casting our net wider, and applications from all over the world will be considered by an independent board of reviewers.  ITAV and I.M.F. would love to consider your band's musical input for future inclusion in the 3-Way Singles Club.  Contact us at the e-mail address listed in our "Submissions" tab at the top of this page!  All styles may apply.

Our next single (Volume 8) is due out in about a week!  It features The Jackpine Snag, Nocturnal Aviators In Action, and The Peoples Temple!

In the coming months, we'll have brand new tracks from Small Houses, Teag & PK, Brooks Mosher, Sunil Sawani, Tin Window, CrookedSound, Steve Leaf, Drum Kit, Seth Bernard, and more! 

I'd like to take this opportunity to extend warm holiday wishes to all, especially those of you plucking strings and bashing drums.  You've been more motivating than many of you know, and it's been a great year!  We're going out with a BANG! and I can't wait for more.  2012 has some great things already scheduled, including ITAV's first (and possibly second) vinyl release(s) and some great follow-up noise from the Nanobots (finally).  Have a great time with friends and/or family, and stay tuned in RIGHT HERE for the link to that hot single.


Peter and the ITAV crew