Archive for Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?

Taking on Water Since 2010

Posted in Recommendations, Sinking Ship Records with tags , , on October 26, 2010 by stevenreedkelly

Most of you who read this already know that my friends Jon and Charlie and I have started a small indie label.  I thought I’d take a moment today to let you know a little bit about Sinking Ship Records since we’re launching our first pre-order today.  If you’d like to read a little more about A Great Big Pile of Leaves, you can check out my blog post about the band here!

Jon and I both work at Sony Music.  He’s a part of RCA/Jive and I work in digital distribution.  Charlie used to work here in Copyright but has since left to pursue an entertainment law degree.  We all grew up playing in punk rock bands and it’s been a little disillusioning to watch the few bands on a major label that we care about get mishandled and inevitably dropped.

See – the problem with major labels is that they are hit machines.  OK, so I guess that’s not a problem if you’re a budding starlet.  I’ve just seen so much turnover from bands that either should never have been signed to a major in the first place – or – are treated unfairly and cast aside for the next project.  The truth is that indie labels do a much better job of building a reliable brand – and gaining support for new artists based on their track record.  Drive Thru, Jade Tree, Vagrant, and newcomers like No Sleep Records all created a strong following because they had that “taste-maker” status.  Seriously, when is the last time you looked to Epic Records for a musical recommendation?

Like many great things, the concept for us to start a label was born from several beers.  Just a couple guys complaining about the business over drinks at rooftop party on the 4th of July.  When we realized that the idea to start a label might not be as far-fetched as we imagined, Charlie did a little research and we discussed at our favorite local bar, The Quays.  A late night drive to Penn State yielded our company name – and after a fair amount of paperwork, we’re finally official!

We decided that our goal would be to work with artists that we love (and that can record their own music!).  Preferably, we want to treat the artists fairly too – these are hard times for artists, after all.  I think that’s easier said than done – since in any case, there’s only so many pieces of the pie to go around.  I think we’ve found an arrangement that works in most cases though.

Our very first project was something we knew we wanted to be involved in from the start.  A Great Big Pile of Leaves is a band that Jon knew personally and that really agreed to work with us on this vinyl pressing almost as a favor.  They took a chance on letting us represent them and their brilliant debut album.  I think we did a solid job – I’m really proud of the product we’ve arranged.

I can’t wait to sign our first band and start building a project from the ground up!  There will be more exciting news soon, but for now – listen to A Great Big Pile of Leaves and check out our webstore if you’re into it.  We rely so much on word of mouth, so tell someone about it if you dig it (and friend us on Facebook or Twitter)!  Thanks for your support.

-Steve (and Jon & Charlie)

I’ve been falling off lately

Posted in Recommendations with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by stevenreedkelly

I hit a wall for a while.  Just didn’t have much to blog about.  To my loyal readers (all 5 of you), I apologize.

Here are some suggestions for your listening pleasure:

1. The Flatliners.  My friend Mike told me about these guys last week.  I downloaded their album Cavalcade and I couldn’t get the song “Filthy Habits” out of my head all week.  I sacked up and bought the vinyl on Saturday.  The album artwork is gorgeous so I’m looking forward to getting that in the mail.  I can’t wait to see this band live in the near future.

2. Sinking Ship Records.  My friends Jon and Charlie and I are attempting to start a record label.  The first project we’re working on involves A Great Big Pile of Leaves.  Really hoping things work out because their new album is unbelievable.  If you want to stay updated on that project – you can follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook.

3. My roommate Jon and I can’t stop listening to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”.  It’s becoming a problem.  I may or may not have spent part of Saturday evening trying to record a guitar cover of the song (I can’t help it.  My new fuzz pedal is the perfect effect for the chorus).

4. Two record labels that are blowing my mind lately are No Sleep and Run For Cover.  They’re consistently putting out great music.  No Sleep just released The Frontier(s) album There Will Be No Miracles Here which has been sharing time with the latest Run For Cover release, Hostage Calm‘s s/t album, on my iPod.  Indie labels do an inherently better job than major labels when it comes to branding themselves – and these two relative newcomers are dominating right now.

In the mood for something mathy?

Posted in Recommendations with tags , , , on June 2, 2010 by stevenreedkelly

Shout-out to my roommate Jon Mabb for sweating this band after he took a trip to Vermont and ended up meeting these guys through a mutual friend.

They’re called A Great Big Pile of Leaves.  If you’re a fan of Minus the Bear or Portugal. The Man, then this is going to be right up your alley.  Their new album, Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex, is being released on June 22nd – and to the best of my knowledge, they recorded it all themselves!

I’m more than just a little impressed with the quality of the production on this record.  The instruments are ambient, light and airy (but extremely technical).  I feel like studio engineers try to find clean, spongy guitar tones or crisp snare hits like this for years.  I’m almost obsessed with the sound the band captured on this record.  As an interesting contrast to the sometimes-hectic musicianship, the vocals are soothing and a little sleepy.  The songwriting is complicated and engaging even when the songs are plodding at a slow pace.  There are giant swells and just-as-epic lulls, making for a very textured and filling piece of art.  All told, this might be the summer evening album to get you through the next three sweltering months.

Here’s a stream of my favorite song on the album (so far), “A Few Screws Loose”

**Update: I set up a new twitter account for the blog. Follow @DailyRiffage**