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QOTD: What Was Your First Concert or Record?

drawI remember asking for “a Beatles album” for Christmas. My parents obliged with Abbey Road. That could have been worse.

The first records I remember buying for myself were Never Mind the Bollocks, Blow Your Face Out and The Flying Lizards, the last of which I had to special order from the “punk/new wave” record store in town. I still have the vinyl, with “PROMOTIONAL COPY: NOT FOR RESALE” embossed on the jacket.  Continue reading

Investing in Your Favorite Bands’ Future

As the mainstream music industry feebly attempts to hang on to some semblance of its past glory days, many bands and artists are opting to cut out the middleman and go directly to their fans to provide financial backing for their future album releases.  Using sites such as PledgeMusic or Kickstarter, musicians are able to make their case to fans and others who are interested in helping cover the costs associated with recording an album — booking studio time, distribution, promotional efforts, and so on. Beyond the financial, some bands are also reaching out to their fanbase to provide inspiration for songs in the form of words, artwork, or sound effects.

Helping an artist finance their next album usually comes with perks such as having advance access to music, bonus tracks, or having your name listed in the liner notes. Of course, there’s the simple personal gratification you’d feel in assisting a band get their music out to the masses.

Gregory Douglass:
I first learned of Gregory a few years back after seeing the video for his song, “Hang Around,” on TV one evening. I quickly downloaded the song from iTunes. Shortly thereafter, I returned to purchase the rest of his music. Back in 2009, I hosted a house concert where Gregory performed in my home for me and a group of my friends. His voice is simply amazing and I can’t help but cheer the guy on. Gregory has been holding weekly concerts streamed online and making appeals for fans to contribute to helping fund his next album, Lucid.

The Damnwells:
This is a band that needs to be heard by many more people. Their last album, One Last Century, was made available to the world for free. The band’s latest release, No One Listens to the Band Anymore, was just released on March 15, however, those who were financial backers via PledgeMusic, received early access to the album in addition to bonus songs and special access to a concert stream.

Imogen Heap:
At shows during her last world tour, Imogen Heap raised money for local charities by creating and recording a song at each show and making it available for purchase on her website. Even better, the audience was part of creating the song. At the show I attended, someone yelled out C sharp for the key and another person provided the general melody. From there, Imogen created a song.  Perhaps using that experience as inspiration, fans were able to contribute words, sounds and/or melodies that would be reviewed and used to create a new song — the first song created for her new album.

As Imogen culled through the submissions, fans were able to watch via Ustream as she reviewed them and built a song. The result is “Lifeline.” It’s also worth noting that the submissions used in the song will receive credit on her album as well as receive compensation.

MFTMA — 10 Years On

To know me is to know that I’m a big fan of Pete Yorn.

While flipping through a music magazine, I discovered the then-new artist thanks to an advertisement for his album, musicforthemorningafter. I saw the album cover and said, “Hmm, that guy’s pretty hot,” and decided to buy the album.

After listening to the album, my shallowness was set aside because I fell in love with the music and lyrics. From start to finish, songs such as “Life on a Chain,” “Lose You, ” and “For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)” are so good that even my friends who aren’t huge PY fans will admit. To think this album was his debut effort is somewhat unreal when looking back.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen PY perform all over the U.S. in small bookstores to large venues. He started out with a small group of very loyal fans and that base has grown significantly over the years. Fortunately, he’s still a great friend to his fans via Facebook and Twitter. Plus, he’s a really nice guy and you have to root for the nice guys in the music industry. He also puts his albums out on vinyl for people like me who still own a turntable and actually use it.

In March, as part of the 10th anniversary of MFTMA, PY will be performing the album in its entirety as part of his setlist during his spring tour. Thankfully, the shows I’m attending are part of the stops where the album will be played.

Hearing the album in its entirety means I get to relive some of the fun live moments I’ve had over the years. There are some songs that aren’t regularly performed during his shows that will once again see the light of day.

Still, what I’m most excited about is the ability to return to that time 10 years ago when I was just listening to the album for the first time and slowly, but surely becoming a PY fan for life.