Sales of vinyl records rose 32 percent in 2015. This is great news for the music industry at large. But the uptick brings a bitter pill for the scores of smaller labels forever at the mercy of vinyl pressing plants more eager to run another 20,000 Adele LPs than a small run of seven-inches for an arts collective from Seattle.
For Megan Tweed, part of the Fainting Room Collective, whose Triple-Six 7-Inch Box Set will finally hit local stores this month, this meant that one-third of the bands involved in the project broke up in the time it took to get the records into stores.
Started in San Francisco in 2005 as a means for releasing records, the Fainting Room Collective migrated to Seattle in 2012, where it assembled a group of producers, corporate speech writers, recording engineers, art-gallery owners, photographers, and more. The collective’s inaugural Northwest endeavor was Practice Space Seattle, an online directory of band rehearsal spaces organized by neighborhood. Its latest collaboration is a collection of six 7-inch records from six Seattle bands, each with artwork created by a local visual artist. Laurie Kearney, who owns Capitol Hill’s Ghost Gallery and is also part of the collective, matched each band with an artist.
“We tend to go back to the same collaborators over and over and over again, especially in the music and art space,” Tweed says, “so we wanted to gather a handful of bands and a handful of visual artists and collaborate in hopes that they would find new connections in each other’s communities.”
The He Whose Ox Is Gored record includes stark black and white artwork from Demian Johnston. Transmissionary’s release features a colorful image of digital feedback from Cait Willis. And the Bali Girls’ cover includes a gorgeous abstract work in a muted palette from Sam Whalen. Stickers and Haunted Horses also appear, but both have since disbanded.
The release will be available at local record shops on Record Store Day, April 16, wrapped in a black tote bag for around $35–$40. It will be followed by an April 20 show at Chop Suey that features all the bands from the box set except for Stickers, but including Haunted Horses, who will reunite for one final show. E