From Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! to Ash, more and more bands are opting to put out their own albums rather than deal with major labels. The most recent is Switchfoot, who last week parted ways Columbia Records.
Since 2002, the band has released three albums on the mega-label, including last year's Oh! Gravity. While all were top-20 hits and 2005's Nothing is Solid reached No. 3 on the charts, sales were slowly declining. However, if the band can manage to score their own distribution deal (which they should have no problem doing) and sell records through their own record label, they'd stand to make much more money per album than they would with Columbia. And judging by their fan base, sales of 200,000 to 300,000 isn't out of the question. The band has already begun recording its seventh album, due in 2008, and is in the middle of a three-month road trip around the U.S. and Australia. Shows for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait are set for December.
In related news, Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman is giving Rob Crow and Gregory Page a run for their money as the most prolific local musician. He's planning a series of four EPs (Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer) as well as an album from The Real SeanJon, a collaboration with Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins. MS/switchfoot.
Notes from the smoking patio
Since opening the ballots last week, more than 7,000 votes have been cast for the 2007 San Diego Music Awards. The ceremony will be held Sept. 17 at Viejas Concerts in the Park, with performers Jason Mraz, Reeve Oliver, Buck-O-Nine, Lady Dottie & The Diamonds, The Truckee Brothers and The Real SeanJon. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Nick Reynolds of The Kingston Trio. Reynolds and his group have released dozens of albums since their 1958 debut, scoring 10 top-40 hits during their heyday and, in the process, helping popularize folk music. (Note: CityBeat is a major sponsor of the Music Awards). www.sandiegomusicawards.com.
The third installment of The San Diego Music Foundation's artist-development seminars will take place Aug. 18 at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park. The discussions are meant to give aspiring musicians some insight into the music business. The subject of this week's seminar will be 'Music Industry 101: Label Deals: Be Careful What You Wish For.' On hand to discuss the perils and the pluses of dealing with labels (as well as alternative options for releasing music) will be Pete Giberga (Epic Records), Pall Jenkins (Blackheart Procession), Eric Howarth (M-Theory Music), Neils Schroeder (Surfdog Records) and Steve Poltz. The free event gets under way at 1 p.m. www.sdmusicfoundation.org.
A.J. Croce will have his song 'One and Only' included in the upcoming William H. Macy film, Lower Learning. Croce is currently recording his seventh album at studios in Los Angeles and Woodstock, N.Y. www.ajcroce.com.
Get Back Loretta's 'Mary Sunday' and Long Live Logos' 'Dark World' can be heard on the soundtrack of the Dew Action Sports Tour television program currently airing on MTV2. MS/getbackloretta, MS/longlivelogos.
Grind-core rockers As I Lay Dying release their fourth CD, An Ocean Between Us, via Metal Blade records on Aug. 21. The video for the song 'Nothing Left' premiered on MTV's Headbanger's Ball on Aug. 9. MS/asilaydying.
On Aug. 17, the lawn of the County Administration Center at the Embarcadero will be the site of a free, live taping of local TV show Java Jams. Focusing on acoustic artists, segments for four shows will be taped, with performances by Dave Howard, Lisa Sanders, Lindsey Troy and Cathryn Beeks Ordeal. Filming begins at twilight. The show has recently been picked up by stations in Las Vegas and Charlotte, N.C. MS/javajams.
Dirty-country purveyors Bartender's Bible will hold a CD-release party at the Whistle Stop on Aug. 17. MS/bartendersbible.
--Bart Mendoza and Troy Johnson