Fan funded

. June 5, 2012.

Who needs major labels? …Yes, the empowering DIY call rang out, thus liberating and inspiring working class passionates everywhere. But now the latest “indie movement” legitimizes itself when compatriots of the music community put their money-where-their-hearts-are, so to speak, by helping each other via modest donations made through the online creative project funding platform, Kickstarter, with which artists retain ownership and can incentivize donations by offering unique recompenses, like Ann Arbor folk duo Match By Match’s hand-knitted scarves, or singer/songwriter Timothy Monger promising to cover any song of your choosing and even share a bracing run through the rustic trails of Michigan.

“Without a label, I knew it was going to be tough to raise the money,” Monger said about mastering his forthcoming New Britton Sound, the 7-year-awaited follow up to the shimmering baroque-pop debut, Summer Cherry Ghosts. But those years were spent getting out of debt, thus Monger didn’t want to go back in so soon. “It took me a while to get the nerve to go the route [of ‘fan-funding’ sites like Kickstarter],” Monger said. “I recorded most of (Britton) myself over the last three years and kept it very close to my chest. Asking for money in such a public way was scary…” He did his best to rally friends, fans and supporters but still was afraid he wouldn’t meet the goal (Kickstarter sets limits for pledge drives and if time runs out, backers are reimbursed). Monger had 30 days, and his funding goal was met in 24 hours!

Monger said Britton’s songs “are all very personal in one way or another and quite a bit darker in subject and tone than Cherry. I worked with some great people on the recordings but much of it was just me in a small farmhouse in rural Michigan, working on my craft.” Future: Britton out in June, amidst steady regional/national gigging, then work on the third Great Lakes Myth Society album and more songs with live band, Timothy Monger State Park.     

The heatstring-pluck and wring of Jeremy Quentin’s wanderlust indie/folk project, Small Houses, met and exceeded its goal (to fund release of his 2nd LP North) by just $11. The sentiment is spurring – Quentin played April 30th with Monger to celebrate North by releasing its preface, the Just Before the North EP. Head out to Lansing (Scene Metrospace) on 5/14 to catch Small Houses on tour, but he’ll be back 6/5 for the Taste of Ann Arbor Festival.

Debonair folk duo Match by Match is going big for their debut, hoping Kickstarter friends can become “extended family” by funding an ambitious, multifaceted release, with a booklet of original artwork supplementing their forthcoming American Crowbar release (inspired by a tragic, curious, true character who survived a railroad spike through the skull). Find MxM on Facebook and follow their blog documenting the album’s recording (by the renowned Roll, known as Jim at Backseat Recordings). At press-time, they were nearing their $3,000 goal.  

Fast Wrap Up: Check out the atmospheric Americana elegance of Gun Lake – (gunlake.bandcamp.com); as alluded to in this column’s October interview, they’ve released their debut LP, Balfour. Bad Indians blew my mind and continue their guerilla-style basement chronicled cassettes: “…recordings can be treated as, almost, an effect of its own; bringing something new to songs.” (News@badindians.bandcamp.com) Finally, don’t know about you, but I’m watching Man The Hunter closely, with their 7”, Ginkgo, out just in time for spring – www.manthehunter.bandcamp.com

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