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le Bam’s DIY CD Release
01/13/2009

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The le Bam girls 

I invited Libby, Stef and the rest of the Oy! team to my band’s CD release show this coming weekend and the next thing I knew they wanted me to write a story about releasing a record. Well, see the thing is…it is not really a CD release, at least not by traditional standards: we haven’t signed a record deal, we’re not on a major — or any — label. Like many people, we like writing music and because of our access to technology and rubber stamps, my BFF Erin (the other half of le Bam) were able to record an ep of six of our favorite songs — poppy, tongue-in-cheek, melodic works of (he)art. We embraced every DIY idea that came to mind and are having our CD release party this Saturday.

We le Bam girls have a little experience in trying to break into the music industry. It is hard and has nothing to do with how talented you are. Well, it helps to be talented, but you also have to know the right people and be blessed with a little luck. We’ve played in a few different bands together over the past nine years, the last of which, mabel, was pretty serious. For four years, we wrote songs, played shows, networked, sent out press kits, went on tour and finally felt like we were getting our name out there. In the end, like so many other groups, inner band drama got the best of us and we broke up. (Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we weren’t big enough to be profiled by VH1’s ‘Behind the Music’.)

Erin and I wanted to keep writing songs together but instead of trying to “make it,” our mantra became “let’s write music because it’s fun and we love it.” So we started doing that and recruited Larry the Laptop (aka Erin’s powerbook) so we could have drum, bass, and other electronic elements in our songs. We were having fun, loving our new songs, and we had the most reliable bassist and drummer two girls could ask for!

We both love recording (find me a musician who doesn’t), so we decided to record a few of our favorite songs written in the past year or so. We chose six and turned Erin’s living room into our own cozy (if drafty) recording studio. Erin played sound engineer and I played the newbie singer who never recorded vox before. She played her keyboards. I played my electric cello. She sang. I sang. We tweaked Larry’s parts. We mixed. We listened. A lot. It was the most fun I’ve had for awhile. We didn’t start out thinking we’d have a CD release show at all, but then we surprised ourselves by actually liking what we recorded.

We bought recycled cardboard sleeves and pooled our selection of stamping gear. Crafting nights galore as we stamped and stenciled ‘le Bam’ on the front and ‘pow!’ on the back of all the sleeves. The CD labels have a sweet little stamped message for each listener. Even the lyrics are hand written and slide out of the sleeve for your reading pleasure.

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Pow!

I was telling my mom about the CD awhile back and she asked me what the songs were about. In explaining them to her I realized that among other things, the central themes seem to focus on relationships, sex and apathy. For example:

Track One: Whiskey and Water. A celebration of ‘the crush’ – really, it is an artform.

Track Two: Worst Best I Ever Had. Ever had a one-night stand that lasted three months? Whoops.

Track Three: 3-14-06.  Becoming frustrated about being apathetic – a contradiction in song.

Track Four: The Lonely Star. The misunderstood outcast of our solar system gets revenge.

Track Five: The Wedding. Don’t be fooled, the first line is “death is a funny thing.”

Track Six: The Unfortunate Love Song. We end on a happy note – giving in to falling in love with someone you desperately tried not to fall in love with.

So now we have a CD and we want to share it with our friends and fans and possibly a few select people in the actual music industry. But I can’t really tell you about releasing a CD in the typical way where you have a label and a manager and a producer and a lawyer and all of that. We are being very bohemian about the release of our le Bam ep.

So what are we going to do with it? We are going to send it to a few people here and there and continue to write and play the music we love. Hopefully our little beloved DIY album will be enjoyed by other people — maybe even people we’re not related to and who don’t live with us.

If you come to the show on Saturday, it will be the usual le Bam spectacle featuring all the songs on the CD as well as a few that we didn’t record – the vampire song (there is screaming) and black is the new black (there is swearing) to name a couple crowd favorites – and of course, matching outfits. Hope to see you there.

le Bam CD Release Show - Pow!
Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 9:00 p.m.
Silvie's Lounge, 1902 Irving Park Rd - Chicago, IL
Free cd to the first five le Bam fans.

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