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a tiny record label from western massachusetts

TR-06: Released...somewhat...

The newest Bunny's A Swine record, Calling Out (TR-06), is available for pre-order and digital purchase. 

The records themselves are a work in progress and a story that you'll probably need to give us a few drinks to get out of us. 

We are hoping to ship in late June, but its looking more like mid-July at this point. In the meantime, enjoy all the tracks here. 

New Cow House Vids: MiniBoone

Our buds in MiniBoone dropped by to give us a taste of what MiniBoone's MTV Unplugged performance will be like. Except this was way better than MTV Unplugged because MTV is terrible these days and the real stuff is all happening on the Internet anyway. 

Check it out here

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Thing in the Spring / Bunny's A Swine (TR-06) Announcement

There is little we love more than good people, good music, thoughtful curation, and friends. That's why the Thing in the Spring is the only music festival that makes our hearts flutter. For 4 days the most wonderful group of artists, musicians, and music lovers gather together to listen to bands, purchase affordable art, watch films, and eat the finest food that tiny Peterborough, NH has to offer. 

And as TRs house band Bunny's A Swine enters its 5th year this June, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to release our brand new and 4th album at the Thing in the Spring this year. BiAS will be taking the stage on Saturday night at Harlow's for the late show (alongside our good buds in Banditas) and the new record (TR-06, title forthcoming) will be available for the first time ever that weekend. 

There's a lot to say about the new BiAS album, but the important thing to know right now is that weekend passes for the entire Thing in the Spring festival have just gone on sale. These are the best possible deal for folks looking to enjoy the entire weekend of shows and with a limited number available you should really snag yours ASAP. Consider it a little February present to yourself. Or a Valentine's Day thing if you get down with that. Or just a great way to support artists and curators who go out of their way to bring amazing, interesting and exciting things to tiny towns so that you don't have to spend a zillion dollars driving out to a big city. 

We are already dreaming of the early morning (ahem, 11am) mimosas at Harlow's, the special deals on records at Toadstool Sounds, and the feeling of all those music lovers taking over the downtown block. 

Get your weekend passes today: http://www.thethinginthespring.com/tickets/

PS: The weekend passes won't cover the Bunny's A Swine and Banditas Harlow's show because that scene is 21+ and the rest of the fest is all ages. But you can purchase those tickets on site for cheap and be sure to do so early on Saturday because space is limited!

I'm Saving Myself for Pre-Sales (Shepherdess Pre-Sales, That Is)

Exciting news alert: TInyRadars No. 5 is now available for pre-order from the Shepherdess Bandcamp site.

The first 100 copies are on coke-bottle clear green vinyl. How awesome is that? Its the most awesome. But no joke: they've only been on sale for less than a day and they are FLYING off the virtual shelf so if you want in on that you better do it quick because they are gonna sell out of them before the record release show even happens!

Plus you can stream two tracks from the new album now too and if you buy the pre-order you get a download of those to put on your iPods/Pads/PHONES/MP3PLAYERZ/TransferToTape/Whateveryoucrazykidsdothesedays. "Blackout" is straight up one of our favorite jams. 

Get on it.

Graph & Mail the Horse: Awesome New Internet Things

It's Monday and apparently Christmas just came a little late this year. Lovely fun new things are on the Internet from TRs bands Graph and Mail the Horse today that you can pass the hours listening to and watching. 

Mail the Horse on Serious Business

Friend of the family, Travis Harrison, runs this little operation in NYC called Serious Business where he films great sets by bands and then interviews them too. The highlights are in the video below and there's a longer (and way worth it) audio interview portion here: http://b-t-r.co/SglAQf  

New Graph Album: "Hey Friends We're Graph"

Graph played their last show a year ago at the second installment of the TinyRadars Bookmill Residency Series and it was one of the best shows of all time (read Mail the Horse's write up about that show here). As we all like to say, Graph is never not a band -- regardless of whether or not they are still playing shows or even living within the same 3,000 mile radius. Anyway here's a bunch of unreleased tracks from those wacky babies. 

TR-05: We're Saving Ourselves for Shepherdess

Well we've been saving this secret for some time now, but its time to let the cat out of the bag: Shepherdess, Boston's favorite indie rock trio (who you've probably seen if you caught the Mission of Burma or Wild Flag show in Boston recently) are the newest addition to the TinyRadar's roster!

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Shepherdess is  a true powerhouse with equally powerful hooks. Hilken Mancini, infamous from her days of Punk Rock Aerobics, and her much adored 90's bands Fuzzy and The Count Me Outs, plays guitar and sings. Joined by drummer extraordinaire Alison Murray (The Clear Deigns, Ladycop, gamine thief) and Emily Arkin (of one of our all time favorite bands, The Operators, and The Quincunx) who crafts quirky, interweaving baritone guitar lines and the occasional vocals, Shepherdess has been capturing hearts all over Boston. 

The trio's songs are infectious and nostalgic. Listening to Shepherdess makes me feel a little bit like I’m about to take on the entire cafeteria at school...and I'm gonna win.  The dueling guitars are reminiscent of a Sleater-Kinney style interplay that perfectly matches the up-tempo anthems. Their sound fits perfectly into our 90's puzzle shaped hearts. Their songs are just the right mix of pop and quirk. And when they play them they play them loud. 

Shepherdess is  a band close to our hearts here at TRs. They love DIY, punk rock, indie labels, vinyl and supporting women in music. All three band members are part of the operating team for Girls Rock Campaign Boston with singer and guitarist Hilken being the organization's founder

We couldn't be more excited to be teaming up to release their upcoming full-length, I'm Saving Myself for Shepherdess, in February 2013. The record (coming out on vinyl and digitally, of course) features 9 songs and includes special guest stars like Mary Lou Lord and Andy McBain of Tunnel of Love.  

Find out what you've been missing by checking out their Bandcamp and get ready to fall in love. 

TR-04: Home Body's new 7" Released!

Transient

Home Body's very first piece of vinyl and TinyRadars one and only 4th release officially dropped today! The artwork, designed by Haley from HB, is gorgeous textures and colors of all kinds of buried trash and treasures. We couldn't be more excited about this release and are so excited for you to hear it for yourselves!

Traps is a limited-edition run of 500 copies and HB describes the tracks as "two new songs thematically centered around cycles of human behavior, archeostronomy, and the reconciliation of apathy and action." The songs are kind of dark at times but much like those stars on the album cover there are these shining bright spots that lift you right back up again. It's a little bit like being on a roller coaster, but a nighttime one full of shooting stars in autumn.

You can purchase and stream Traps from Home Body's Bandcamp page. Or go see them at any one of the many shows they are playing over the next month!

TR-03: Mail the Horse's "Great Kills" Out Today

It was a real nail biter series of deadlines, but the day has arrived and things are golden: the long-awaited TR-03 is officially released and available for purchase!

Having been a fan of Mail the Horse since their early days of being hungover in Dover, this record is an astonishingly mature and complex collection of songs. Mail the Horse first drew us in with their live performances, which were centered around songs that took you over and left you feeling like you were listening to rock music for the first time in the 1950s. Having songs about good church girls gone bad didn't hurt either.

But everybody's gotta leave home sometime. Rural boys and girls flee for the city. This is part of what makes Great Kills so damn epic -- that feeling of being out of place, of constant disappointment, of other people's stories just wrecking themselves out in front of you...that thing that New Yorkers say is only really palpable to New Yorkers. But there seems to be a longing there, too...to leave, to belong, to...something, anything...it's a desperation well known to quarter-life crises havers. There's a smug-as-fuck attitude wrapped around much of the songs, but they wear it like armor. And despite best efforts, real feelings, real problems, real shit still gets through.

Welcome, Home Body!

TRs + HB = <3

Home Body in Turner's Falls, MA

Home Body in Turner's Falls, MA

Tiny Radars is thrilled to announce that Northampton's favorite electro-shimmer-core duo, Home Body is joining the TR roster. HB and TRs are teaming up to release the very first Home Body vinyl -- a 7" called Traps which features two incredible songs that are an ode to the sleeping histories too often ignored.

We are thrilled to be working with Eric and Haley, the musical masterminds behind Home Body. Their energy and creativity is nothing short of inspiring. Like anyone who has seen them perform, we have joined the ranks of their enamored fans.

Home Body is more than a band; they are a full-fledged artistic immersion of the senses. For many, the first thing to come to mind when thinking about Home Body isn't even sound -- its color. From their ever-changing costumes to their back-up dancers to their hand-crafted merch, they extend their creative ethos into everything they do.

Home Body is touring tirelessly this fall and we are looking at an early November release for their record. In the meantime, you can check out their debut EP on their Bandcamp and look for them in a city near you.

What's the Bizness (yeaaaaah)?

Greetings from TRs HQ! To say we have been busy this summer is an understatement. As you know well by now we have been hard at work getting TR-03 ready for it's late September release, and we've got some exciting announcements up our sleeves about some new groups joining the TRs family. But we've also been busy behind the scenes taking a hard look at the first year of the label's life, determining what our goals are and figuring out how to get there.

When the label got started we weren't even totally sure who the "we" in TRs was. There were lots of people helping out but we lacked structure. This is a pretty common situation for people who just care about "getting it done" because the "it" is the most important thing. In that first year we released two records and began work on a third, held 6 residency shows at the Montague Bookmill, and spent a whole lot of time handscreening t-shirts and tote bags to raise funds for the label. In the midst of all that activity we also learned some lessons and sat down (with calculators, gulp!) to figure out how to chart a future for TRs that could last more than 12 months.

It was through this process that we came to make three major changes to the way we operate. Because transparency is something we value and always engage in with the artists we work with, we wanted to lay it all out there for those of you who follow the work we do.

The first change was to say that we needed some structure. We established an executive committee who meet regularly and share responsibility for making decisions about the direction and objectives of the label.We brought on someone to work exclusively on promotion for TRs and for our artists because we knew that we needed someone who was only focusing on that one thing in order to do it well. And we are working with everyone's favorite Northampton booker to create the long overdue Western Mass music compilation. The more people who join us in this venture, the better we get!

The second was to determine that while we will always operate with the values of a non-profit we can't really be one. Because of the legal structures of non-profits we wouldn't be able to do all the things that we want with the label. There are lots of different kinds of businesses out there and we are exploring our options. But ultimately we have decided to stop talking about our non-profit ethos and focus instead on our commitment to not screwing over artists and growing the label to be a resource for beautiful, independent music that should be pressed on vinyl. No one in the TRs family gets a paycheck for this work -- we do this in our barely existing spare time and we love it.

And lastly we have made the decision to work with artists based in places outside of Western MA. We love our music scene here but it is undeniable that there are artists living in other cities that are part of our TRs family. We are still really excited to do the compilation record which will be focused exclusively on our little music scene and its greatest artists. And we will continue to do events and scheme up new ways to contribute to the scene in this place we all call home.

So stay tuned. September is gonna be chock full of news and announcements.

xo.cjc

TinyRadars Welcomes Newest Band: Mail the Horse

The TinyRadars team is thrilled to announce the arrival of Brooklyn's Mail the Horse as the 3rd member of our roster!

Nurturing our music scene locally has always been a top priority for TinyRadars, so it may seem antithetical that we’ve decided to release a record from a band based in Brooklyn. We have come to think about geography in a similar way as to how we think about our releases. Every record we put out comes in two formats: vinyl and digital. Vinyl is all about place. As a physical medium it can only exist in one place at a time. Vinyl is like our music scene at home; our venues and our local artists and our house shows and our fliers and our experiences sharing space together. Digital is all about disregarding the physical limitations of place. It can exist everywhere at the same time; the thread that ties together the shows at King St. Manor to the shows at the Toadstool to shows happening in basements across America. It’s like our language, and our connections and our sense of knowing that even in other places there are people who care about the things we do and want to support the things we support. Digital is family. Vinyl is the home you put it in.

Mail the Horse is part of our family. The process of releasing their upcoming record is something of a grand experiment for us. The trust and forgiveness that comes with years of friendship has been a crucial part of making this a reality. We are learning as we go and the Horsies have been willing to let us fumble through the process. When we first met Mail The Horse they were known as AMPM and based out of sea coastal New Hampshire. We became fast friends and were outspoken critics of their decision to relocate the band to New York, shortly thereafter. But the move, name change and line-up tweaking that occurred over that next couple of years has brought a new richness to their music. While their sound has clear folk and country roots in the vein of Bob Dylan and The Band, there is also a rougher, modern, edge heard in the strained vocals of Michael Hesslein and balanced by the sometimes sloppy drawl of Donny Amidon's songs. What has always been most striking to us about them is an indescribable timeless quality to their songwriting; that thing that exists in the work of all the greats that is just so hard to put a finger on. The songs that have been coming out of Gates Motel (the Brooklyn apt. where they write and record) are heartbreaking narratives of loss and acceptance, musical interpretations of dimly lit photos of New York City landscapes, the kind only an outsider could take.

Mail the Horse’s new LP, Great Kills, will be out this summer. If you’re in the area you can catch them at the Thing in The Spring this weekend.

(TRBRS-04) TinyRadars Bookmill Residency Series

This coming Saturday, March 24, marks the 4th installment of our residency series at the Bookmill in Montague, MA. We will be debuting some new merch at the show and are excited to feature three excellent acts from the greater Pioneer Valley/NH area: megafauna, 23 Quartet and Trials & Tribulations. More details on the bands below and Facebook event here.

See you there!

(TRBRS-04) TinyRadars Bookmill Residency Series

Trials & Tribulations are one of our favorite area treasures (that we always think should play more shows). Anywhere between a 6 and 16 piece ensemble led by Northampton’s own Jameson Lavo. Speciality: epic, sad. http://www.myspace.com/thetrialsthetribulations

23 Quartet is a free jazz explosion featuring drums, guitar, saxophone and piano. Every show, every time is different and phenomenal. This is the first time they've performed with their piano player and we couldn't be more excited to have them. Featuring Andy Kivela (Graph) on drums.

Megafauna are Manchester (NH's) greatest fuzzy sock electropop. Beats for dreamers, vox for believers. And we don't get to see them often enough so we are thrilled to have them on the line-up. Come out: http://megafauna-nh.bandcamp.com/album/the-new-grange

Talk Like Kids

TinyRadars has been holding monthly shows at one of our favorite western Mass venues -- The Montague Bookmill -- ever since December. So far we've had shows featuring TRs own Bunny's A Swine and Graph, as well as dear friends The True Jacqueline, Animal Mother (now Grownups), Mail the Horse, Doolittle and the Radiers, Donny Dinero, The Milkman's Union, Boy Without God, sorry, nay, and even a poetry reading from friend Adam Grabowski. Each show has been really incredible in its own way, but the envelope was pushed pretty hard for the January show -- which was the last performance by TR-01 band, Graph. There's a lot to be said about what happened that night but that will come in time. For now, here's a fantastic mp3 version of the love: http://mailthehorse.bandcamp.com/track/pressing-on-plowin-on

yearbook

Mail the Horse, Bunny's A Swine & Graph

Uncovering Western Mass Trea$ures

One of TinyRadars favorite things about labels are how they are a window into this little interconnected world of people you don't know and may never meet. We've all spent a fair share of time reading the liner notes of our favorite records in detail to see who played on them, what bands they may have thanked, where there were overlapping members, and what kind of fun stuff they might send you if you joined the fan clubs (the award probably goes to the Unrest mail order comb). The liner notes were just as important as the music itself. They gave the record a sense of place. They position it somewhere in time and draw connections. And compilations especially tell stories.

Sure, the music is the reason we get up in the morning. But TRs was founded so that we could document, capture and preserve a small snapshot of what is happening. So imagine my excitement when local musician and writer Ken Mauri handed me a copy of this Red Hot Records compilation at a show last week.

My tape deck, despite this format increasing in hipness these days, is buried underneath my discarded VCR and DVD player (hi Xbox! You do everything!) so I haven't had a chance to listen to the tape yet. But there's a lot to learn from the liner notes alone.

Live in the Living Room was the kind of project that gets right to the heart of what TRs is all about. Recorded over the course of one weekend, Amy and Aimee of Red Hot Records set up a four-track in their living room and had 12 bands drop by to play a few songs. The resulting recordings became the compilation and its so cool to be able to check out this snapshot of what was happening in Northampton 15 years ago. Some of these bands are still around, other bands lasted for another 10+ years before calling it quits, and some I'm sure fell apart soon after the tape came out (because that's how these things work). But what Red Hot Records did was make sure that no matter what, this moment was captured.

I don't know how long Red Hot Records was around for, but I'm grateful that someone still cares enough to have left the website up. By connecting the dots between the liner notes, the website, and Google searches the story of what was happening around here in 1995 is becoming more clear. For a baby label like us that loves its local music scene, its really exciting to see that RHRs third release was a compilation...just like ours is planned to be.

Northampton 2012 will have a story to tell, too. And with indie and DIY labels still cranking out releases in new ways, we hope that local music scenes everywhere will capture what's going on, too. As for us, we'll be singing the vinyl/download combo gospel of course.

xo.cjc

TR-02: Released

This is a certainly belated post, but we've been so so so busy!

TR-02 (Bunny's A Swine's new full-length LP) is officially out in the world and we would love it if you bought one. The band put a lot of thought into the packaging and here's the full details on what you get if you purchase the record itself.

“All Day, Alright” is 10 original musical compositions from the rock group Bunny's A Swine printed to 12” vinyl records at a speed of 33 revolutions per minute. Each record is 1 of 250 copies and comes with 10 black and white reproductions of original artwork from 10 different artists (each piece includes song lyrics to 1 of the 10 original songs); there's also 1 card with an unique string of numbers, which when entered into a computer will re-create “All Day, Alright” in a digital format. Album, art and numbers come wrapped in recycled LP jackets (graciously donated by Bunny's a Swine's favorite record stores), which have been inverted and adorned with a vintage-letterpress reproduction of original artwork by Justin Durand. The aforementioned songs are a country-tinged-awk-pop meditation on the causes and effects of depression, meant to be consumed and enjoyed immediately.

Only 250 pressed. Get them while you can!

TR-01: Released

It's here! The wait is over! The red curtain has been pulled back or the carpet has been rolled out or oh whatever else. You can order the very first TinyRadar's release from Graph via their Bandcamp page. The B-Side, Wolves, is my favorite. And bonus! The download also comes with a 28 minute unheard unreleased three-part instrumental song.

Buy more vinyl. Support local music.

Buy Graph's Eau Claire/Wolves 7".

How Do You Make $$ From Music?

We're not exactly experts in this area (oh to be a newly launched venture!), but we hope that someday there will be money for artists and the systems that support them. However an important step to getting there is understanding how the heck anyone manages to make any $$ these days in the first place. Future of Music Coalition has been talking for over a decade about the music industry, the policies that impact it and the ways for artists to move forward and do things like have health care even if they don't have one of those standard old 9-5ers. They've launched a survey in order to gather information about how musicians make money from music as part of their Artist Revenue Streams project.

Here's a snip:

Artist Revenue Streams (ARS) represents the first time a US-based organization has conducted a research project that examines musicians’ revenue streams across all genres and roles. The results could provide musicians, the media and the music community at large with a comprehensive analysis of how musicians are being compensated in the digital age.

The project engages with a wide range of musicians, including jazz artists, Nashville songwriters, session musicians, touring rock artists, hip hop emcees, classical composers, and artists experimenting with direct-to-fan strategies through three research strategies: in-person interviews; financial case studies; and a wide-ranging online survey.

You can take the survey here.

Listen to Jean Cook from FMC talk about the survey on WNYC.