5 Great Comedy Releases for Record Store Day 2016

Music can be so serious! Here’s the — admittedly thin, this year — selection of best comedy spins to release this April 16.

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The Wizards, Purple Magic, Burger Records

A re-release of the 2009 rap-about-fantasy album from the four comics from Workaholics on Comedy Central. Wizards all up in the house! My thought on this album is: it contains a lot of comedy. The lyrics map rap convention, but they’re legion and ingenious. Meaning, there are a lot of words, and they’re genuinely funny. On vinyl, I believe Purple Magic is a powerful comedy talisman. I know for sure if you play it backwards, you can hear ring wraiths.


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Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, BBC, Demon Records

Two full-length episodes of Alan’s classic BBC Radio 4 comedy on vinyl. The six-episode radio series ran in 1994, and was a parody of a “chat show” (British for “daytime talk show with guests, banter, child geniuses, lady hypnotists and lawyers”). It’s pure British comedy concentrated into audio, then concentrated into the pops, shrieks and baritones of vinyl.

Hear Episode 1

Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge – BBC Radio, Episode 1


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Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Oh, I Guess We Were A Fucking Surf Band After All…, Yep Roc Records

Not a comedy album per se, but “Having An Average Weekend” is the theme to The Kids in the Hall. The Record Store Day release is a four-LP vinyl box set. These Canadians are not a surf band, but I still like them for their jangly guitars, and sea salt-infused instrumentals.

Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – Having An Average Weekend (Kids In The Hall Theme)


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Jim Breuer, Songs from the Garage, Be a Dick 2Nite

Stand up Jim Breuer is an undisputed heavy metal fan, with “Be a Dick 2Nite” being a very legit tribute. Rolling Stone lauds, “While much of ‘Be a Dick 2Nite’ is spoken word, Breuer busts out an impressive wail during the chorus that shows Songs From the Garage isn’t just a stand-up showcase with metal riffs.”


And a “re-release” from High Fidelity.

—Sara Harvey emits Tweets from @SaraHarveyNYC

Follow The Comedy Local @ComedyLocal

Blog: 10 Essential Posts for the Band Blog

  1. When and where you’re playing every month.
  2. A photo of your set list:Set list (We think this is Kathleen Hanna’s list from a Julie Ruin show at the House of Vans in Brooklyn last year. A stagehand was passing stuff out to fans after.) 
  3. Photos or video of you performing, taken by you, or someone who tagged into the venue on Instagram. Ask if you can blog their photo! They’ll say yes. (Always attribute them.)My iPhone photo of Chumped at their second-to-last show February, 2016 at Suburbia, Brooklyn (see, I’m no pro, but you don’t have to be):Chumped anika singing(Though, this one by photographer, Nick Karp, is fantastic):

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5. Photos of fans, your merchandise, you practicing, you loading a van, you inhaling hashbrowns and secondhand smoke in a Waffle House in Wyoming. In Show Your Work (a great book), Austin Kleon tells artists to document themselves working. Your feed should be as much about process as product.

“Human beings are interested in other human beings and what other human beings do. ‘People really do want to see how the sausage gets made.'” —Show Your Work

6. A new song, and/or links to your album.

7. Songs from bands that hint at your influences.

8. Other things that hint at your influences. I followed @space_merchants on Twitter thinking it was the handle for my friend’s band (@SpaceMerchBK). They have a 60s rockabilly vibe, so I thought Tweets like this were marketing genius:

Well, it’s actually the Tweet of a sci-fi bookstore in the UK, but you could see how this could have worked for both space merchants. Awesome things that echo your style!

9. STORIES. A flat tire on the road, a missing guitar, you hadn’t seen your dad in five years and he comes to a show, a story behind a song, or your origin story — how the band got together. If you’re afraid to say the wrong thing, Austin Kleon says, imagine everyone reading your post has the power to fire you, and they’re all your mother.

As a comedy type, I have to imagine everyone with the power to fire me is Lorne Michaels, and my mom is dead. Just be careful not to overshare, and make it something people would come back for more of. Also, 300 to 500 words is a good rule of thumb.

10. Link to every mention in the press you get.

 

Sara Harvey helps get bands and other independent artists press in Brooklyn, New York. Connect with her on Twitter @SaraHarveyNYC.

 

 

3 Steps: Starting a Band Blog

What I’m calling a blog, is a site where you post some short writing, concert photos, press, posters, album art or new songs every week. So, something in addition to your Facebook or Bandcamp page. I talk about why, right here.

1. Host

My second heartfelt message to you is — keep the band blog simple, especially at the start. I know there are a lot of blog hosts out there, but my advice is to start with a Tumblr. Tons of music fans are on Tumblr, and it’s easy. If you make a WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, or build an HTML site with your bare hands someday, it’s not weird to also have a Tumblr.

2. Editor

Make one person the blog editor, someone comfortable with social media (but not too comfortable, because you’re a band, not a magazine). Let everyone contribute, including fans. I’ll write more on what to post. Just remember, if no one contributes some week, it’s okay to post an obscure YouTube of The Cramps. Do not stress about the blog.

3. Essential buttons

If you do launch a Tumblr, add buttons linking to your main social media, music and shopping sites. It’s easy. Plus, the blog’s one job is to be a street sign, pointing everyone to your music, gigs and each other (the fan community).

Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, etc. will all generate code for you to make buttons. I made a list of links to those pages. Generate the code, copy it and go to your Tumblr. Hit “edit theme” on the home page, and then paste the code into the “appearance options” box. (See hastily scrawled diagram below.)

add buttons to tumblr

I paste all my codes after my description sentence. If the button shows up in a weird place, I scoot it around in the code until it’s somewhere more acceptable (because these are the first steps, and I’m keeping them simple). More specific button placement info soon.

Generate code, here:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Spotify
CD Baby (add a widget to your site)

Code to embed players and other features:

Bandcamp (share players to Tumblr)
SoundCloud (record and share to Tumblr)
ReverbNation (embed players)
iTunes (embed playlists and other widgets)
YouTube (subscribe button)

I’m also going to try to get you to add a subscribe-to-email-list button in a follow-up post, but for sure add a contact email address to your about page.

Ask questions or argue with me here, or at SaraHarveyNYC@gmail.com. I help market independent artists, nonprofits and businesses in Brooklyn, NY. Connect with me on Twitter @SaraHarveyNYC.

 

T-Shirt Design for Foster Sundry, Brooklyn

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I got to design a T-shirt (up top, to the far left) for Foster Sundry, a fantastic new independent grocery store in Bushwick, Brooklyn! Pictured: close up of the artichoke.

Follow my doodles on Instagram: @Ambivalent_Sun.

Should Your Band Have a Blog?

Yes!

You probably already have some kind of page on Bandcamp, Spotify, Myspace or Facebook. What I’m calling a blog is a site where you post maybe 300 words, a song, video, photo or poster art every week.

Is that weird?

No, not weird, because your fans like you. They like to see you-related things, so they’ll go to your site (which should have a “shop” button on it). They’ll see more songs and photos to Tweet to their friends, so they can share you all over the place.

The big marketing trend right now (Forbes) is to attract people to a company website with “content,” AKA something they genuinely want to see, or will find helpful.

People used to Google what they wanted. Now, cool things now come to us. Think of all the music that passes before your eyes on Facebook in a day. So, the idea is to get people to visit and share you.

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Content also builds community. Fans get new glimpses of you, and remember to visit your site every Thursday. Bands rise or fall on community (which you know if you’ve ever had a Kickstarter).

These big companies needed Facebook, Twitter, etc., but had a hard time charting sales from them. So, they use content, and ask people for an email address to access it (or some similar setup). It’s easier for the big boss to count email addresses to justify the money spent on marketing (Ad Age).

I don’t think you need gatekeeping. Though, email addresses are purest gold for a band, which I’ll write about in a new post in the next week or two. Look for my series on band blogs on Mondays! See what I did?

Coming up: Ideas on what to post, the magical email list, recommended platforms, and more.
Sara Harvey handles PR, digital marketing and publicity for artists, nonprofits and independent business from Brooklyn, NY. Connect with her on Twitter at @SaraHarveyNYC.