Best CDs of 2015, According to an Old Guy Who Bought 7

Everclear!

I don’t get many musicians’ autographs, but when I do, it’s almost always in absentia. Alas.

It’s that time again! The annual entry where I look back at the previous year, marvel that I’m still buying new music at all, reaffirm my disinterest in digital, and boast how I’m one of twelve people nationwide still buying CDs. I don’t buy a lot of them, though. I rarely connect with the Top 40 acts that get all the social media attention. My favorite bands tend to be old and denied promotional push from their labels, assuming they still have a contract. I’m open to hearing new bands, but my styles of choice are narrowing over the years and I’m a lot less enamored nowadays of bratty whippersnappers who overestimate their own wisdom. Fortunately my finicky criteria don’t eliminate all musical acts.

The following list, then, comprises every CD I acquired in 2015 that was also released in 2015. On with the countdown, from least favorite to worthiest:

Right this way for those lucky-ish seven!

Former Kickstarter Junkie V: Praise Lord and Gimme My Movies

Backstreet Angels!

Let it be known for the record that my copy of Mary Lou Lord’s long-delayed next album Backstreet Angels landed in my mailbox on April 23, 2015. This delivery came forty-five months after its Kickstarter campaign was launched and forty-one months after the original promised delivery date. Some of the delays in the last year or so were for totally understandable, disastrous reasons. Some of the delays in the first year or so, not really so much from our Peanut Gallery’s perspective.

But it’s here at last, it’s a thing that really exists, I can stop fuming about it, and it’s mostly kinda pretty if I skip the one song with the F-bomb on it. Sixteen tracks of pleasant jangle-pop that are a mixture of covers and collaborations, with song/writing credits including the likes of the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg, Beat Happening, the Green Pajamas, Nick Saloman from the Bevis Frond (with whom she was hoping to tour for this album at one point), and an ostensible up-‘n’-comer named Matt Minigell, with whom she was really, really excited to co-write and duet.

The first single, “My Buddy Valentine”, is up on YouTube and available on MP3 through Amazon, but I’m partial to her cover of Peter Bruntnell’s “By the Time My Head Gets to Phoenix”. The album itself has no wide-release date and no Amazon listing of its own yet. One of Lord’s last Kickstarter memos indicated this may end up being her last album ever, but as of yet I’ve seen no concrete plans to offer it beyond the disgruntled Kickstarter base.

And that wasn’t the only pokey Kickstarter project to deliver since my last update. Relatively speaking, it’s been a generous half-year for their zero-accountability site.

Hi. My name is Randy. It’s been thirty months since I last gave a single dime to a Kickstarter project.

Former Kickstarter Junkie III: the Former and the Furious

Molly Danger!Behold two panels from the cool thing that landed in my mailbox last week: Jamal Igle’s graphic novel Molly Danger. This forty-eight page tale about the responsibilities and hardships of a government-allied teen super-hero is spunky, dynamic, written from the heart, suitable for all ages, and highly recommended for anyone who could use a break from comics about white guys by white guys.

This first volume was made possible through a Kickstarter project that was launched in August 2012. My local comic shop had a copy on the shelf in November 2013. As one of the 1,240 backers whose pledges helped make the project possible, my copy just now arrived, seven months after retailers could sell it and nine months after the original, estimated delivery date of September 2013. Unfortunately for everyone, U.S. Postal Service rates skyrocketed sometime between project launch and project completion, which means shipping/handling costs exceeded what he’d expected. Once the books were printed, Igle mailed out backers’ copies a few at a time whenever he could afford to do so.

It’s a great book and I look forward to seeing future Molly Danger projects, but this aspect of the experience didn’t turn out quite like anyone had hoped.

Igle’s story is ultimately understandable and pretty benign compared to others I’ve faced. Am still facing, in fact.

Hang out at any geek-news site, wait a week or two, and you’re likely to see the latest headline about a Kickstarter fiasco whose broken commitments ended in teeth-gnashing and garment-rending. Here’s a link to a recent one in which things have turned so grim and sour that the Washington State Attorney General’s Office is involved. Since Kickstarter assumes no accountability or liability for its users’ inaction or delinquency, it was only a matter of time before someone began channeling consumer rage into legal threats.

Hi. My name is Randy. It’s been eighteen months since I last gave a single dime to a Kickstarter project.

Right this way for never-ending status updates…

Former Kickstarter Junkie II: Even Formerer

Smoke/Ashes, Alex DeCampi, Tomer Hanuka

The Smoke/Ashes two-in-one limited hardcover edition was made possible through Kickstarter and conscientious perseverance. Art by Tomer Hanuka.

My copy of the new hardcover graphic novel Ashes arrived in my mailbox this week. When I first put up my money for the project, it was a sequel to a well-received IDW miniseries called Smoke. During the production process, creator Alex DeCampi announced it wouldn’t be a stretch for her to include both stories in a single volume. I’m certainly not one to turn down a value-added bonus.

This fabulous package was the result of a Kickstarter campaign that was launched in October 2011, successfully funded in December 2011, announced with a delivery date of December 2012, and plagued by setbacks too numerous to recount. Through frequent updates composed with above-and-beyond personal candor, DeCampi kept in touch throughout the process, provided backers with access to a digital version months ago, and generally gave the impression that she had every intention of fulfilling her commitments, no matter how much it would end up costing her in the long run, all without passing the budget overruns on to us. Congress should be so conscientious.

More than a few Kickstarter projects out there can’t say the same.

The following entry is a sequel to a previous entry…

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