Bobtown Kickstarts a New Album
By now the Kickstarter parodies have made their way to pretty much everybody’s inbox – good grief, another band begging for money? On the other hand, acts as defiantly individualistic as the Oxygen Ponies, the Universal Thump and Serena Jost have successfully financed recordings through Kickstarter. What’s cool about Kickstarter is that it gives anybody with an extra twenty bucks the opportunity to feel good about helping their favorite artists; more problematic issues like creative control creep in as the level of financing escalates. And it can be just as sad watching your favorite band send out desperate plea after plea as it is to imagine old J.S. Bach losing his eyesight, furiously scribbling the Brandenburg Concertos by the dim light of a candle, hoping that some Marquis (or Count or Duke or whatever the hell that particular one-percenter was) would like the music enough that he’d want more…and be willing to pay for it.
Dark acoustic Americana band Bobtown are going about their Kickstarter campaign a little differently. If you really want to get in at the top end, a grand will get you all the goodies that all the lesser levels of support give you: all kinds of signed merch and memorabilia, plus you get to be on the album and on the video, plus they’ll record not only your outgoing phone message, but also any song of your choice. Beyond all that, they’ll also do a house concert for you. Consider: if you can find the space to fit a hundred people, you could sell tickets at ten bucks a head and actually make money off their Kickstarter campaign! Maybe this is the future of the music industry…
Obviously, none of this would be worth anything if Bobtown wasn’t a great band. Their 2010 debut album was one of that year’s most deliciously entertaining, eclectic and sometimes creepy releases, with Katherine Etzel’s rustic field hollers, Jen McDearman’s casually menacing bluegrass-pop songs and strong picking from the rest of the band. This year’s follow-up promises to be just as diverse: guitarist Karen Dahlstrom’s recently released solo album, Gem State, a haunting collection of acoustic songs set in oldtime Idaho, was one of the half-dozen best albums of this past year, so there’s no telling what she might have ready for the new Bobtown album along with her bandmates.
In case the dark quality of this band’s music might lead you to believe that the members of the group are all brooding introverts, you are in for a BIG surprise, as this video confirms, word up. Also check out their hilarious cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper, which should be food for thought if you have money to burn and feel like getting your own personal Nashville gothic cover version of your favorite song – Enter Sandman, maybe? Bobtown are at the Jalopy on the 5th at 9 (on a doublebill with excellent concert harpist/songwriterKatie Brennan) and then on the 28th at 68 Jay St. Bar at 8:30.