Friday, April 18, 2008

The Spongetones Are "Too Clever By Half"...

I've been a fan of the band "The Spongetones" since 1982, when I picked up a vinyl copy of their first album, "Beat Music." Their heavily Beatles-influenced tunes were a welcome reprieve from the droney "new wave" craze of the time, with super clever lyrics and inventive melodies. They've been at it ever since, and "Too Clever By Half" is their brand new effort. More super-catchy, upbeat songs in the Fab Four vein, and a generous sample at that, with 18 total tracks.

If you see a copy, you'll notice a "thank you" to yours truly in the liner notes. The Spongetones have been self-financing their recordings for a few years now, solciting small donations from their diehard fans to pay for studio time, etc. It seems this is becoming the way of the future for niche bands, which frees them from the demands of a record label and provides them the freedom to make music their way. Another local L.A. singer, Jill Sobule, recently raised $75,000 to finance her new collection by selling personalized phone-machine jingles, bithday greetings and doing house shows. Might not be for everyone, but having hosted a house show by the 3/4 of the Smithereens a few years back, I will say it can be a lot of fun!