Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Frozen Act of Sorrow

When you’ve sat and watched Jools Holland’s increasingly uninteresting show enough times (or indeed listened to any of the BBC’s output) you begin to think that you’ve pretty much heard everything there is to hear now. That music’s getting… well… a bit dull. Maybe it’s time you stopped wasting your money and started to get into Box-Set DVDs. Christmas is coming, after all…

And then you stumble across something way out there, which makes you realise that for all the broadcasters’ claims, mainstream music is still pretty conservative and by and large not very good.

Avoidance Theory

This evening, I was ambling along one of the Internet’s many blind alleys (and rather enjoying it), when I landed on Schmat Records site. Never seen it before, and from reading the rather poignant recent posts, not likely to see much more from it. From what I can tell, Bryan, the label’s proprietor has lost faith in his place in the music machine and has stopped funding any more releases. I always think this is a shame; for me it’s labels like this that keep it all fresh. I shall enjoy having a look through the back catalogue.

There is one new release, however - a completely free download EP, Calico Cliché by a band called Avoidance Theory. Free albums are often not very good (to be frank), but the four tracks available here are just beautiful; acoustic, dreamy, sometimes steamy, sometimes poignant, but always just a little quirky.

The band is in fact Bryan, himself and Linda, is based in San Francisco, and has its own band website, where the inquisitive listener can lay his or her hands on more tracks by the pair.

At first listen, the Calico Cliché tracks are the better ones, and my favourite track is this one, with its marvellously goofy fade out sequence:

Break and Follow

But this is rather a nice track from the “Shape of Trees” album

Neck of the Woods

You can get the free Calico Cliché EP here and a pot full of other MP3s from the band here.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Porpoise - where (what channnel) could one watch Jools Holland's show? - been trying to find it on a U.S. station forever with no luck.

Sweeny said...

I'll do some research...

Sweeny said...

Well, I've had a scout around, and there's the BBC site:

but I'm sure you've already been there, and in any case the series has come to an end now and so they don't seem to be updating it any more. It does say that you can watch shows on the BBC iPlayer at the site, but again, they've all expired now.

Your best bet may be YouTube...

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Porpoise, thanks for posting about our little band. We really appreciate it. This has become pretty much the only reason to continue with the "label" - for folks like you who enjoy the songs. I'm a huge music consumer myself, music means everything to me. But releasing music and trying to recoup the cost just became overwhelming, psychologically draining and an exercise in futility. It cost $950 to professionally manufacture 500 CDs (and that's only a 1 page insert), about $300 to send packages to radio/reviews - recording is completely extra, for the one CD we professionally recorded it cost about $600, that was cheap actually. Normally, artwork would be an extra $300 at least, but we were luckily my wife can do that.

I was not working at the time.

We did 7 CDs this way... the ones we sold, we made about $3-5 on. I put everything into promoting the bands, but we barely squeaked by. Setting up shows in this town (we're actually in a suburb of los angeles) was brutal. We tried to create a DIY indie "movement" but no one was interested.

I didn't want to end up hating music, so something had to give - at least temporarily. I know quite a few tiny labels who have quit as well. Releasing things for free takes off at least 1/2 the pressure of putting out music. Maybe we'll sell CD-Rs, I don't know. I feel a lot better about it either way.

But regardless, thank you again for listening. =) bryan

Sweeny said...

That's pretty revealing, Bryan, as well as sobering. All I can say is keep it going, it'd be an enormous shame if enthusiasts such as yourself were unable to continue brightening a sometimes very dull world.

Thanks for your comment, and feel free to plug anything else here...