Editor’s note: For the last few years, Concord resident Dave Hughes has dedicated most of his “free time” to launching new platforms to showcase our local music scene – from Concord Couch Concerts to Singer-Songwriter Saturdays and a weekly radio show on Concord’s KVHS 90.5 FM. In his new Pioneer column, he will feature bands and artists from our own backyard.
CONCORD, CA (Nov. 11, 2021) — For myriad reasons, independent recording artists have been trending away from creating full-length albums, a.k.a. LPs, preferring to release shorter EPs and singles.
Moving to more frequent bursts of content for some is an artistic choice. For others, offering smaller portions is part of the exhausting quest to appeal to the ever-declining attention span of today’s distracted consumer. For many DIY artists, it’s an issue of logistics – production costs, time, labor. Others see it as the optimal path to growing an audience in “the playlist era.”
Bucking the trend
While there’s plenty to be opined about this downsizing approach taken in both independent and commercial music, several local artists have refreshingly bucked the trend by releasing full-length albums in 2021.
One such album is “Born in Trouble,” released in September from Concord rock band The 151. Front-man Matt Xavier explains that while producing an album is no easy task, the satisfaction of the release makes every obstacle worth enduring.
“If you want something bad enough, you’ll do it despite a pandemic, despite funding, despite the mountains to climb and despite the time constraints. My guys sweated it out in a 110-degree garage on Saturdays when California was burning to the ground so we could nail these tracks,” he says.
“We looted our savings to get this album recorded and pressed. We’re tired, we’re sore and it’s taken a toll on all of us – physically and mentally. Yet I don’t think, even for a second, that any of us would give up this record for a reset button.”
After releasing a debut EP and a follow-up single earlier this year, the Martinez-based rock band Accidents at Sundown released its first album, “Us Against the Underworld,” on Nov. 5.
“It’s been beyond exciting to release an entire album. We are excited to be working on our second album, aiming to release it October 31st, 2022,” says singer Tyler McClellan.
Room for expression
For many artists, releasing an LP offers more room for expression than scattered singles or a condensed EP.
“Album construction can tell a larger story than what one song alone can,” notes Margaret Jones of M Jones & the Melee. “It lets us juxtapose and complicate, shifting moods from one song to the next. A good playlist can do that too, and for that reason, I don’t dislike single releases.”
Her Oakland-based band’s debut album, “Keep A Weather Eye,” released over the summer, carries thematic undertones across the 10-song journey.
Keeping the party going
Concord funk group Price Point, which just released its third album, “PP3,” believes the full-length format is the only viable option as a band tasked with keeping the party going.
Guitarist Dr. Scotch explains:
“We want the music we make to be as much fun to listen to as it was to make. We want that party atmosphere to come across, from our studio straight through to your hi- fi, and the only way to effectively communicate such positively deep vibes is through the LP format. It captures the whole night, from sundown ’til sunup – you just can’t get there with a shorter format.”
Other 2021 LPs from East Bay artists include the self-titled orchestral rock album from My Evergreen Soul, Timmy G’s eclectic instrumental album “Renewal” and the debut album from katgrüvs, “The Creator,” which showcases her signature “finger-style” approach to acoustic guitar-playing.
Find links to these albums and many more local releases at ConcordRockCity.com.
Dave Hughes is a local music advocate with an extensive network of independent artists. He produces and hosts a local music program on KVHS called The Beat of Diablo, every Sunday at 7:00 PM on 90.5 FM. Dave also catalogs local music releases at ConcordRockCity.com.