During the last decade, as the number of ways to buy music have increased, so too have the number of musicians creating it. Local bands are no exception. Enough CDs by local bands have come into the Boise Weekly offices to build a fort and if you're looking for some new music, they're a good place to start.
The S1nd1cate's Mike "Mike Lee" Vellotti said he's pretty sure his band is the only one in the area creating live industrial electro, and they amped it up for their fourth release, Reloaded. The S1nd1cate doesn't play around town much, but like a number of local bands, they have found a following in other parts of the world with the help of services like iTunes.
"We sold 100 copies before the album even came out," Vellotti said. "Only 10 or 20 were sold here in Idaho, but we sell well in Australia, the UK and Germany. We've had orders for CDs from Oklahoma. We even get radio play in Japan."
They also license their music—songs have been used on ESPN and Fox Sports—which is something that's become less associated with selling out and seen more as a smart way for bands to not only get their songs in front of more people but also to make a few bucks.
1332 Record's co-owner Levi Poppke has been busy as well, getting a number of punk and hardcore CDs circulating in music circles. In just the last few months, his label has put out several albums including the self-titled release by AGOS, Upinatem's Democracide, Casket Chronicle's Revelations and one by Denver band Forthyeer called Regulators.
"We put out our 15th CD last weekend," Poppke said. Like other local musicians/labels, 1332 Records bands sell well outside of Boise, due in big part to utilizing social-networking-turned-marketing sites such as Myspace, Twitter and Trig as well as making their music available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster and La La.
"Upinatem is the most under-appreciated band on our label," Poppke said. Their political punk is popular elsewhere, but Idahoans haven't caught on yet. "We've sold 20 of their CDs in Japan and like three in Idaho."
Manville put out their sixth release, No Weak Shit, not long ago. The five-song CD is comprised of the fastest, shortest, hardest songs Manville plays, said guitarist Jason Burke.
"We recorded it in an hour," Burke said. "Our singer Matt Huey had a baseball game so we had to get it done," he laughed.
Melodic punk rockers Sprockets released the 13-track Medicated Empty this year. They—like The S1nd1cate—are finding outlets besides just CD sales to get their music out. Their song "Uniformed Mascara" was included in an online episode of popular TV show Life.
Space rockers The Universal just dropped their anticipated new full-length Everything is Everywhere. It's a rich, heavy CD that is smart, strange and addictive. It's so very The Universal, down to the packaging with artwork by the band and local artist Jason Sievers.
On a softer note, Boise is full of guitar picking, singing songwriters as well, such as Crash Four alumnus Kelly Martin. He released his first solo CD, the pop and ballad Another End, earlier this year with the help of local luminaries such as his Crash Four friend Becca Gourley, and Rob Hill, Scott Lindbloom, Josh Olswanger, Mark Doubleday, Dan Costello and Russ Pfeifer chiming in on drums, strings and organ.
Another Kelly—Kelly Lynae—recorded the five-song EP, Pearls Before Swine, just shortly after she learned to play guitar. It showcases her sweet voice and ability to turn a phrase.
Old salt and former Blues Bouquet owner Ken Harris finally decided to put his jazzy blues down on plastic and recorded 12 tracks for his debut solo CD, Live at Helina Marie's. Helina Marie's is little joint in Star and Live is Harris on piano, harmonica and vocals. It's a collection of classics that Harris said he's been "playing for years and, in some cases, decades" and includes songs made famous by the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Reed, Floyd Cramer and more.
Indie pop rockers Bank cashed in on a new avenue of releasing music with 2008's The Hope Inside Your Sleep. The "album" is actually a download card inside a multi-page book illustrated by local artist Ben Wilson. Bank pushed piano parts to the forefront of some of the songs on this record, and the music inside is as aurally beautiful as the accompanying book is visually. Absolutepunk.net writes that "Bank is the next big thing" (something Boise Weekly has intimated as well), and by finding new and interesting ways to get themselves out there, it may happen sooner than later.
Progressive indie rock got a big boost this year when Visual Arts Collective hosted a two-day concert in which they recorded two new songs by 26 local artists/bands for the Rotating Tongues II CD. The recently released compilation contains one song from each of them and promises to be one of the best things indie lovers will hear coming out of Boise or otherwise. Musicians include ATTN, Bonefish Sam and His Orchestra, Central City Music Company, Craters Of The Moon, Discoma, Doug Martsch, el Dopamine, Finn Riggins (the next, next big thing), Hillfolk Noir, How's Your Family, Ian Waters, Juntura, Kris Doty, La Knots, Le Fleur, Low-Fi, Mayerforceone (now Fauxbois), Netson Family, Nollifur, PussyGutt, Revolt Revolt, The Magnetics, The Universal, The Very Most (who are also seeing some international success), Tim Andreae and With Child. At a performance to celebrate the release, La Knots and Le Fleur wowed the crowd gathered at Record Exchange for Record Store Day. Before the doors closed for the night, the rock-with-punk-flair La Knots CD—a CD-R with the album name written on it in Sharpie, stuffed in a paper sleeve with a little photocopied insert—sold out.
The bands listed above make up only a portion of the music being created in this town so regardless of the genre of music you like, if you're looking for someone or something new to listen to, stop by the Record Exchange's locals-only section and check out a local band or musician first. You'll be supporting a whole go-local initiative, and you might be on the cutting edge of the next big thing.
Everyone has to start somewhere, right?