"3 Bands, 3 Songs, 3 Bucks -- every month!"
I think I've mentioned before that orchestrating an ongoing monthly series of 3-artist exclusive triple singles holds its challenges, but when it all comes together at last and the sun is out and I hit "publish," it's all worth it. On top of that, no one seems to sweat it as long as we make it before the month expires. It's a tribute to the artists who have bursting schedules and personal lives, and the listeners who enjoy the twists and turns we take stylistically. The idea is to keep the canvas open, color without regard to lines, take a Harold and Maude approach to this big glowing cloud called music.
For the fifteenth volume of our series, we get to present a band I've been waiting since day one to offer, Lansing-by-way-of-Ionia's The Break-Ups, whose band members spend time in many other projects (including next month's Regretters, who feature Break-Ups bassist Frankie Knoch on vocals). This track epitomizes some of the creative problem solving implicit in the 3-Way Singles Club: basic tracks recorded and shelved years ago, lead vocals recorded in North Carolina weeks ago, bass and mixing taking place in Michigan on the fly. The song, originally inspired by the music of long-running Lansing space-rock band Calliope (who appeared on last month's single and share Break-Ups drummer Hattie Danby), has seasoned into a perfect amalgam -- a vocal melody gently reminiscent of They Might Be Giants rolls atop a fog-bank of chiming guitar and a pentatonic rhythm section.
Long-time supporter of the Break-Ups Luke Schmidt's former band, XU (who appeared waaaaaay back on ITAV's first ever CD compilation in 2006) has been an inspiration for many of the bands that have emerged from Ionia, Michigan, a town nestled in farmland directly between Grand Rapids and Lansing, where the seeds of GTG Records first germinated. Schmidt's new solo project, Firebrands Of The Revolution, continues some of the big themes of XU, but brings the cinematic scope of that band into closer focus. "Cat And Mouse" let's him play with a full range of musical weaponry: punchy rhythms, a wide vocal range, keyboard and percussion textures that dance on the edge of prog-rock polish but stay firmly rooted in contemporary guitar rock.
Jory Stultz's former band, The Sunset Club, was originally slated for this volume of the series, but several months ago the band dissolved (which presented our first big challenge for this volume). Maybe that's what you get for having a band called The Break-Ups on board? Regardless, Stultz came up smelling like a rose with a rousing and uplifting exclusive version of his song "Starshine Kids," which channels so many historically great rock voices through one body that it's hard to believe he's one of the younger members of the hard-working Lansing music and art scene. Beginning with piano, accordion, and voice, the song nearly bursts with melodic hooks and implied ghost choruses, horn sections, and scale that we're looking forward to the full-band version which will appear this fall on his "Out A Window" E.P.
[ If you're interested, you can subscribe to the entire 3-Way Singles Club for a one time fee. That's ALL the songs the club has already released, plus everything we'll release until the end of time. Learn more here itavrecords.blogspot.com