Everything Vinyl Records

Feedbands Review: Unknown Relatives

By on May 20, 2013 in Record Reviews

This post kicks off the first in a series featuring our new partner site Feedbands. Feedbands is an independent record label that releases vinyl records by subscription and streams music through their website and app where individual songs are available for purchased download. Unsigned artists upload songs to the Feedbands website and app, and then users can vote on tracks they like and add them to their own personal playlists. Each month, Feedbands selects an artist whose song(s) have received favorable votes, then presses the artist’s full album to vinyl and distributes the records to Feedbands’s subscribers all over the world. The artists keep all the right to their music, and Feedbands pays them upfront. It’s a great opportunity for independent musicians to get their music heard and it’s also a great source for vinyl record collectors. Each Feedbands record comes with a certificate of authenticity and a digital download card.

IMG_0311We’ll be starting at the very beginning (a very good place to start) with Feedbands’s first vinyl, an album titled simply 2 by Austin-based band Unknown Relatives, which the young company released in May 2013. The album jacket features cover art (in this case, an odd collage depicting a sort of pineapple with a face) and a track listing on the back, plus a small “vinyl release by Feedbands” logo.IMG_0324

 

IMG_0321The record itself is bright, translucent, yellow-orange, standard weight vinyl. The center labels are cleverly the Feedbands logo with a simple “A” or “B” side indicator.

The jacket also contains a download card which gives me a web address and an access code so I can get a digital copy of the album if I so choose (handy in an age when seemingly every digital device is also a music player.) Plus, the download card is biodegradable and embedding with flower seeds! You can plant it, water it, and it will grow wildflowers. (I take this with a grain of salt, but regardless of whether or not a subscription to Feedbands also grants you a garden, it’s a cool idea.) Feedbands throws in a few tidbits of swag, as well: a logo-shaped sticker and a similar card giving a brief explanation of the operation—helpful for a first-time subscriber.

There’s also a fun letter from the company telling me about their band of choice. It’s a nice touch. Seeing as all these albums are from unsigned bands, it’s unlikely that many (if any) subscribers will be very familiar with the groups whose records their receiving, so it’s nice to get a sort of introduction right off the bat. Apparently, two members of what would become Unknown Relatives met while just walking down the street in Austin “in a serendipitous turn of events that sounds like it was pulled from Cameron Crowe’s journals.”

The music itself is fun. It’s grungy, somewhat 80s alternative/punk-ish. Feedbands describes the album as “the psychedelic surf rock of the Haight in the 60s meets the visceral grit of your teenage years spent lying on the bedroom floor listening to Weezer,” which is pretty on-point. The sound is noticeably a bit tinny, though, but after listening to the digital version of the album, I think it’s simply a matter of an intentionally lo-fi sound with a less-than-ideal recording quality (the bands provide Feedbands with audio.) Still, it’s a worthwhile album, though perhaps not recommended for a middle-aged audience. I’d describe it as an “indie soundtrack to your life” album; it could be put on the turntable and played at low volume in the background or it could be cranked through the speakers as the focus of the moment. Overall, an impressive first release.

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