By the time Yager got to Boston in the fall of 2009, he was already part of a scene — just not a local one.
"You can be hanging out on your porch," he says, "and have an idea, go into your room, record it on a 4-track, and then share it with people on Tumblr . . . and know that you are instantly sharing it with all of the right people."
One of those people was Henning Lahmann, who covers independent experimental and leftfield pop music on his Berlin-based music blog No Fear of Pop, and sees these changes first-hand. He first posted about Yager's music in July 2010 as part of "All My Friends," a mixtape series where he reposts tracks from his friends' blogs.
"Most of the young musicians who send MP3s to No Fear of Pop have never physically left the house with their music," Lahmann tells the Phoenix via Facebook — his preferred means of chatting with the music blogging-community.
"Bands [now] get their inspiration not from bars in town but from the music they've heard on their favorite blog or the Hype Machine," Lahmann says. "And the natural place for them to go afterwards, and seek support, will be the Internet again. They will start sending out MP3s to blogs and to other like-minded musicians who they know from hearing on the Internet."
Not all are so enamored of this new global world, though.
"For artists who are stranded in places [with weak music scenes], the Internet does provide an invaluable lifeline to kindred spirits," says Michael Azzerad, author of the seminal 2001 indie rock bible Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, in an email to the Phoenix. "But it's simply not the same as hanging out with them at a DIY club or a café or a bar. Sooner or later, artists realize that they must have a real social infrastructure to support their community."
That's why FMLY artists are now working to turn their long-distance community into a physical manifestation: a tentative co-op in LA named "The FMLY Mansion."
"It doesn't exist in a physical state yet," explains Newton-native FMLY member Caleb Johannes, 21, who records as Truman Peyote. "But we're hard at work writing proposals for grants; we're meeting with the mayor in a few weeks."
Johannes had established himself in Boston's local DIY scene — he released a split 12-inch with Many Mansions via the Whitehaus Family Record last year. But in January, after e-mailing and playing shows with FMLY members, he moved to LA to work full-time on creating the FMLY Mansion. The collective has plans to host music, art, a bike co-op, a roof garden, and related workshops. The Web-connected community is becoming geographical.
"I think that it's coming full circle, back to a physical thing," says Yager. "Even if you're far away from each other, being able to meet up on tour, or having friends of friends touring through Boston, playing with you, crashing at your house . . . that is a very physical thing."
But the Internet remains crucial.