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Friday, 04 January 2013 08:00

Best of 2012: Top 10 St. Louis Kickstarter projects (musical edition)

Best of 2012: Top 10 St. Louis Kickstarter projects (musical edition) facebook.com/roughshop / Nate Burrell
Written by Robin Wheeler
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In June Amanda Palmer raised over a million bucks via Kickstarter from fans wanting to help make her new album possible. Four months later, when she invited professional musicians to play in her shows without pay, she kicked off the Great Kickstarter Backlash of '12.

Not all crowd-sourcing efforts were so tumultuous. Thanks to Kickstater -- the online program where fans can fund creative projects -- these ten St. Louis acts were able to finance their 2012 albums and EPs.

CityAvenue

This Collinsville, Ill.-based quartet is still in its infancy, but that didn't stop supporters from pledging the money for the band's debut EP a few days before they played their first Duck Room show in June. Before summer's end they were playing shows in New York City in advance of the September release of the fan-funded EP, "Follow Me."

Elizabeth McQueen Meets Brothers Lazaroff

Take an Austin, Texas.-based chanteuse with tight bonds to a St. Louis-based, funk-fired Americana band. Turn the band loose with a couple of the singer's jazzy vocal-driven tunes and see how they sound. Good? Very. Let's make more, shall we? That's what prompted Brothers Lazaroff and Elizabeth McQueen to Kickstart band's remix of McQueen's 2010 album, "The Laziest Girl in Town." They raised enough over their goal to fund more tracks than they originally planned for the EP, which will be ready in time for 2013's South by Southwest.

Exit 714

Fans want a second album. Band's broke. So the St. Charles County metal unit asked their fans to make it happen. No update on if anyone pledged the shark or humpback whale that Mike McCullen suggested in their pitch, but they did reach their financial goal. As they finished producing the album at year's end, they did a stint opening for California punk rappers Hed PE.

Great Issac

With their debut album nearly complete in September, Great Issac suffered an unimaginable blow: the death of drummer Casey Kell. Instead of stopping, the band determined to release Kell's final work with the help of crowd-sourcing. The band ordered the completed CDs days before press time.

Josh Kaufman

After recording the principle tracks for his album "American So-and-So" with David Beeman (Old Lights, Née) at Native Sound, Kaufman called on Kickstarter to pay studio costs and musicians. The album, on CD or personalized flash drive, is slated for a January release.

Melody Den

It took five years for the 15-year-old band to make its second album. Citing the business of real life -- day jobs and families -- for the delay between albums, the band looked to its fans to help produce their sophomore effort and hopefully some regional tour dates. They were in the final mixing stages in late November, but now have a CD release party scheduled for January 12 at Off Broadway.

Odds Lane

They used to be called the Breakers. But so are a lot of other bands. After recording two albums under the oft-used name, the duo of Doug Byrkit and Brian Zielie sold their trademark, but still needed more cash to fund the album-making process. They were able to release "Dark Matters" in September, including a slow, heavy-rock take on Beastie Boys' "Sabotage."

Rough Shop

Crowd-funding isn't just for new bands. Veteran band Rough Shop finished its fourth album, "Beneath the South Side Bridge," for release last April, thanks to a deep fan base that exceeded the band's goal by almost $2000. Not only did backers get rewards, but the band continued the community spirit by promising to donate half the profits from the album's first pressing to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Tear out the Heart

Metalcore fans have heart. Enough to give this five-piece twice as much cash as their goal to fund all the post-recording needs for their first EP, which they recorded this fall in Columbus, Ohio.

Vandalyzm

One backpack can hold a lot. For Vandalyzm, the backpack stolen from his car held his laptop, hard drive, and notebooks -- everything he'd used to create the EP he was about to record. He turned to Kickstarter to fund his rebuilding and rewriting. In October he was able to release "Ozymandias," the first single from "The End All Be All."

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