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Singles scene

Local bands dig in with digital
By WILL SPITZ  |  September 12, 2007

DUMPSTER ROCK?: Stephen Brodsky’s Pet Genius celebrate their debut full-length upstairs at the Middle East October 13.

Fall preview 2007
“Happy endings: Bad news begets good tunes.” By Matt Ashare. 
“Busy busy: Something for everyone this fall.” By Debra Cash. 
“Stage worthies: Fall on the Boston boards.” By Carolyn Clay. 
“Basstown nights: The new scene emerges; Halloween preparations.” By David Day. 
“Bounty: The best of the season’s roots, world, folk, and blues.” By Ted Drozdowski.
“War, peace, and Robert Pinsky: The season’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.” By John Freeman. 
“Trane, Joyce Dee Dee, Sco, and more: A jam-packed season of jazz.” By Jon Garelick.
“Turn on the bright lights: Art, women, politics, and food.” By Randi Hopkins.
“War zones: Fall films face terror at home and abroad.” By Peter Keough. 
“Locked and loaded: The fall promises a double-barreled blast of gaming greatness.” By Mitch Krpata.
“BBC? America!: The networks put some English on the fall TV season.” By Joyce Millman. 
“World music: The BSO goes traveling, and Berlin comes to Boston.” By Lloyd Schwartz.

It’s old news: this series of tubes they call the Internet has revolutionized the way music is distributed. Unless you’ve been living under the Charles River for the past five years, you know that you no longer have to go to a store and shell out dough to hear music you’re curious about. And artists, no longer constrained by conventional distribution methods, can share their work with the world immediately after its creation. Middlemen are being cut out. The single is making a comeback. And, so the story goes, everyone’s hearing more music.

In the past, this local-music preview has served as a guide to what local albums are scheduled for release in the coming months. There are plenty of full-length CDs to look forward to this fall, and we’ll get to those soon, but we’ve noticed the local scene trending toward singles, EPs, and digital releases.

Cameron Keiber of Midriff Records — which is releasing a digital-only EP from Beatings frontman ELDRIDGE RODRIGUEZ (. . . And the Thunder Chief; late September), as well as a physical full-length disc from Somerville indie-rock three-piece PENDING DISAPPOINTMENT (New York Penn, NY; October 23; release show at Great Scott October 25) — says that for small independent labels like his, it’s all about cutting costs so they can release more music. “It makes more financial sense to go digital. You have more freedom by cutting out the middle man, and you don’t have to worry about what the fiscal return is going to be. Small labels have a finite amount of money, and you have to figure out how that money is best spent.” He points to Paleo, the Brooklyn singer-songwriter who released 365 songs in 365 days on his Web site. “Why not put out as much music as possible if there’s no cost? It frees up the artist to try more things, to say, ‘I’m going to take a bigger risk here if it costs $300 instead of $2000.’ ”

Concept-rock dudes CLAWJOB are putting out a limited-run homemade two-song CD single — “Yancy Stanford and the Curse of the Ghost Buffalo,” which concerns “manifest destiny and how it directly caused all of us to work mundane office jobs” — but will also release the songs for free on the Internet. Says singer/guitarist Mike Gintz (formerly of Clickers, who likewise made their music available at no charge): “Everything we make will make it on-line for free eventually. That’s something that’s very important to me. The way music distribution is going, it’s foolish to think that you have this precious commodity that people have to fork over money for. The free publicity you’re going to get by distributing music for free is going to vastly outweigh the few bucks you’re going to get from selling it.”

Perverted-pop songsmiths HATS AND GLASSES appear to be going old-school on us by issuing their Hats and Glasses EP on 10-inch vinyl (a dual release from Bodies of Water Arts and Crafts and Teenage Disco Bloodbath; October 30). But the songs will also be available on the Internet as DRM-free MP3s for $3. H&G plan to do the same vinyl/digital thing with a two-song single they’re recording with Steve Albini in Chicago this month.

The SNOWLEOPARDS will release a new single on the Internet later this month or in early October, and they plan on making CDs to give away at shows. “By releasing it on the Internet first, you can reach far more people than you can by simply bringing hard copies to shows,” says singer/guitarist Heidi Saperstein via e-mail. “The Internet gives people immediate access to the song, which hopefully gets people talking about you/the song in blogs. Also, you can tell all your MySpace friends about the song, and some people will put it on their personal MySpace pages, which gets you more exposure too.” Guitarist Mike Oor describes the new material as “darker” and less classic-rock-influenced than their Debut, which came out earlier this year.

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Related: Locked and loaded, Bounty, War zones, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Internet, Jeremy Black,  More more >
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