3​-​Way Singles Club, Volume Nine

by CrookedSound / Seth Bernard / Steve Leaf

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"3 Bands, 3 Songs, 3 Bucks -- every month!"

Volume 9 of our series arrives during a winter that, in much of the country, thinks it is spring. Other parts of the country are buried under feet of snow. Trees are budding in Michigan. The weather seems confused, no?

Not knowing if it will snow or rain means that a strategy of layers is the most versatile approach, and it is with great pride that we invite you to peel back the successive layers of this latest volume of the 3WSC, whose submerged theme is self-production.

Eric Merckling, a founding bassist of Sixth With Violet and Calliope, is now the helmsmen of CrookedSound, a moniker that denotes not only his versatile solo music, but also is the name of the Lansing-based recording studio that he helms. Recent output from CrookedSound (the studio) has included The Plurals' well-received "Futurospective" album, as well as numerous compilation tracks. Work continues on the forthcoming Stargrazer album, often into the wee hours of the night. On "You Know I," CrookedSound (the band) brings drummer Brandon Bond on board for the most propulsive recorded offering yet, signaling that we can expect great things from this pair in the future.

Seth Bernard, a founder of northern Michigan's prolific musical and artistic Earthwork Collective and a critically acclaimed folk musician in his own right (either solo, as a duo with his wife May Erlewine, or as a member of Americana supergroup The Starlight Six), has offered us a rare glimpse into his 4-track songwriting diary with all the grain, analog warmth, and serendipity that a home-crafted cassette promises. "Down In The U.P.'s" molasses-slow tempo belies the heart-tugging nostalgia this hymn to Michigan conjures. Hints of a happier William Elliott Whitmore or Bonnie Prince Billie course through Bernard's voice and he lets the ragged edges show, recalling both the early 1990s lo-fi obsession in college rock and the crackly Library Of Congress recordings gathered by Alan Lomax in the 1920s and 30s. Leaving the digital realm and it's infinite abilities to edit behind for a moment never felt so good!

Chicago-based musician Steve Leaf brings this session to a close with the wave-like instrumental "A Familiar Place," crafted at his home with newly acquired software. For anyone who's been keeping up with Leaf, the song resonates like an extended coda to the song "Daegu (Oregano)," lyrical centerpiece of his just-completed (and dare I say, jawdroppingly good) E.P. "Queen's Language," which was released just after the new year. "A Familiar Place" takes the bones of that song into a contemplative post-rock landscape, the lulling voice of lakes on quiet evenings.

Thus begins 2012 for It Takes A Village To Make Records, and it's a year that heralds tons of great music -- not just in this series but among our peers and throughout our communities. We have plans to bring you music from such wide-ranging and acclaimed artists as Small Houses, Benoit Pioulard, Brooks Mosher, Veloura Caywood, and White Pines over the course of the next several months. You can see a full schedule at itavrecords.blogspot.com/p/3-way-singles-club.html

Thanks for tuning in, your support of the series directly impacts independent musicians' creative lives!

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released January 31, 2012

ITAV #019
mastered by John Krohn at Deep Deep Pink
Lansing, MI

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It Takes A Village To Make Records Lansing, Michigan

ITAV is a Lansing, Michigan-based independent label best known for the "In The Orchard Of Osiris" compilation and their "3-Way Singles Club," an ongoing monthly series of 3-song/3-artist digital singles that began in May 2011.

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