"We haven't seen this thing in years," said ITAV founder Peter Richards, rifling through the small stack of slightly worn sleeves, "and all the discs are still pristine!"
Indeed the sleeves show some wear, like your uncle's record collection -- slight spine creases, bent corners, and a little sun-fading of some of the bright colors; yet the Kinko's-produced liner notes and the the professionally pressed CDs inside look like they're being handled for the first time.
ITAV's first release, a 20-track compilation called First-Hand Accounts, Theories, And Their Repercussions that was distributed for free in 2006, boasts an intriguing tracklist of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas musicians, and stands as an important document of the eclectic middle-period of this past decade:
Canada - Hooray For Shipwreck
Nick Schillace - Green Green Grass (live on WCBN)
Jen Sygit - Writer's Block
Rubber Band Banjo - Winter Safety Rules
Oh My God - Funhouse Mirror Mother
Phil Avalos & The Quiet Lanes - Got
The Mnemonic Devices - Young James
That's Him! That's The Guy! - Angry. Vengeful.
Stare Into The Sun - Run
Bit - Love Song
The Casionauts - Dr. Chocula Web-MD
Animal - Art Party/Wizard Of Wor
XU - Horns And Halos
Pat Zelenka - Platypus And Dolphin
Rattling Wall Collective - Citizen
Bradford - Forget It
Freel - Ghosting
Brickburner - The Future Doesn't Need Us
The Strawberry Explosion - Baby Baby Boo!
Sam Corbin - Please Come Home
Among the gems on the comp were many previously unreleased tracks and hard-to-find rarities. The entire collection was mastered by Scott Bozack at Thin Black Line Studios in Williamston, Michigan. It was pressed in a limited edition of 1,000 copies which were quickly distributed, and the CD disappeared into the golden glow of local music history. Or so everyone thought.
So, what will become of these dozen, ridiculously out-of-print copies of the original edition?
"ITAV 004 was meant to be a free document," says Richards. "That was the original deal with the artists -- that we would get their music out to lots of people, and in return they would put their best musical foot forward, give us great material to work with. I learned a lot putting that comp together. It's great to see that it still exists. It's like running into an old friend."
ITAV plans to give away these slightly worn copies of First-Hand Accounts, either with purchase of some of our other releases or to individuals who make a good case for why they should have one. In other words, free to a good home! But we'd rather give them to people who will genuinely enjoy them than to someone who just likes to amass free stuff. So tell us, in the comments, if that person is you! Let us know how it won't cost us anything extra to give you a copy, how it will make us feel good, or how it will make someone else feel good. Offer good while supplies last.