CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Campaigns from Kevin Max, Richard X. Heyman, and More
Kevin Max (photo by Jeremy Cowart)
Most weeks, this column has a theme. It isn’t always meant to. It just happens that I look at the dozen or so albums I’ve got bookmarked for consideration and similarities come out. Not this week. So I’m taking a cue from Monty Python, who would often connect unrelated sketches with a cut to John Cleese at a desk, looking into the camera and calmly intoning: “And now for something completely different.” This week, I’ve got two solo projects from artists known best for their band work and a group of artists combining jazz and folk pop into a sound all their own.
Kevin Max – Winter Woods/FANTASY (click here to view campaign)
Christian hip-hop bands are not my thing, nor are they in No Depression‘s coverage range. But I clicked through to the campaign of dcTalk’s Kevin Max and, after listening to a couple of solo samples, found that he not only skews much more toward Bon Iver-style indie folk, he’s also a giant nerd for fantasy movies and literature. His $45,000 goal Kickstarter campaign is not for one album but two, and possibly four! The anchor of the project is Winter Woods, a holiday album filled with old Celtic carols and minor chord songs different than your usual jolly holiday fare. But it’s the other albums in his campaign, one included in the main goal and two more as possible stretch goals, that interested me. The first is FANTASY, an EP of songs about some of Max’s favorite fantasy movies and literature. The others, available if Max hits some pretty lofty stretch goals, are dcPunk, punk renditions of his band’s songs, and The Space Between, a take on the songs of Roxy Music’s Avalon. In addition to the albums in the usual formats, Max offers backer perks that include greeting cards, VIP tickets to the Winter Woods release show, and a limited-edition art print.
Richard X. Heyman – 67,000 Miles (click here to view campaign)
If you know your music history, Richard X. Heyman’s name should be familiar to you. He started in the ’60s as a founding member of The Doughboys, a band that is considered a pioneer in garage rock. As a solo artist, Heyman has dabbled in jangle pop, singer-songwriter, and his own gentler take on garage rock. This year, Heyman is running a campaign for his new album, 67,000 Miles. The album’s title comes from the number of miles the Earth travels in an hour, the album’s approximate length. The first single, embedded in the campaign’s video, promises good things to come. Most of the backer perks for the campaign are straightforward: signed copies of the album, T-shirts, and early downloads. But beyond that is where it gets interesting, with an album of instrumental and a cappella mixes, bonus tracks, and a Zoom call with Heyman.
The Dangling Participles – One More Drop (click here to view campaign)
If you want an English major to look at your campaign, calling yourselves The Dangling Participles is a good way to start. The band does not write songs about grammatical errors (unfortunately!) but does produce a jazzy folk-rock sound that is fun to listen to. They’ve become known on YouTube for creating genre-bent cover songs and have now taken to Kickstarter for a $6,500 campaign to make their second album of original songs. Backer rewards include the album in digital and CD formats, a coffee mug or beer stein, professional piano tuning by the band’s bassist, and a house concert. Now if only they’d write a song about comma splicing.