Shoes And Socks Off is probably the most anti-music industry thing I've ever been involved in since beginning this dirty little job nearly a decade ago. The albums are recorded quickly and cheaply, with the emphasis placed squarely on honesty rather than studio fix-ups. A friend designs the sleeves, another one prints them, I cut and fold them, burn the CDs to order, and post them out. Despite releasing two albums we've not sent a single copy of either to press, given any to our distributor to sell in shops and, until now, haven't even sold any at Toby's own shows. It's a secret society possibly bordering on elitism but too laid back to give a crap. An album and three singles campaign, it certainly ain't.
That said, with the Christmas tour (featuring Shoes And Socks Off supporting Kevin Devine on all dates) fast approaching, I find us starting to claw our way up towards the sunlight. Yesterday Toby told me that for the first time ever he gave some thought to his setlist prior to setting up on stage. I ordered some more t-shirts so we'll have enough to cover the whole tour. The third album is recorded and artwork is being printed right now, with extra stock being made available to cover demand on the road. And most surprisingly of all, a few little bits of press are starting to surface. Not through us chasing, of course, but that's not the point.
The latest edition of The National Student newspaper features Toby's bearded face on page 5 (read online here) as part of their new music for the new year special, and they've also included 'I'm A World Class Assassin' (the full band, 'Piglet' album version) on their free MP3 sampler, here. As if that wasn't enough, a huge interview, discussing everything from the old days of 150 people crammed into 80 capacity venues in the South East, setting your alarm for 2am to get up and flyer outside of your local rock club at closing time, the downfall of Meet Me In St Louis, a new band coming together, and so much more in between will be posted up online towards the end of the month, in issue one of a brand new magazine. Having read it yesterday, I think it's perhaps the very first opportunity for anyone who doesn't already know Mr Hayes to get a real insight into his world, along with a glimpse into our plans for Shoes And Socks Off in 2010. Let's just say, the anti-music industry approach has legs.
'To Where The Skyline Is Fortified With Windows And Doors', the third album, is released in December and will be available to pre-order online next week, along with three free MP3 downloads from the BSM Friend of The Family website. In the meantime, dear blog readers, here's a free song. It's called 'Smash And Grab' and you may recognise it from this summer's shows. Enjoy.