Monday, May 04, 2009

Converse: Get Out Of The Garage

I don't normally do this BUT this piqued my interest:

Last year Converse's "Get Out Of the Garage" contest pitted about 1,000 bands against each other to duke it out for the #1 spot.

This year they're doing a slightly different version that very well may be more exciting for you the curious music devotee.

Apparently Converse felt there were so many good bands that they couldn't just have ONE winner... so instead they are releasing a CD with the 10 songs that rocked the most from the contest!

Normally I'd be like "blah blah" because I just found an old Doc Martins promo cd and there were like 2 good songs on it (I mean it's miserable, I like DM and all but I can't believe I still have that cd lol); I mean come on, free CDs (in the past) from companies have rarely had staying power.

However, Converse is one of these brands that has really put themselves, in the last couple of years, at the forefront of the changing music industry and so I'm very curious to see what this CD sounds like. If nothing else it shows that Converse has a commitment to getting new music out there (instead of going the obvious and easy route of slapping a couple worn out singles, a couple live tracks, and a couple remixes on a CD and pawning it off as "the newest ish out there") and I give them props for that.

SO I'm sure you're wondering how this applies to you. Well, it's Spring so it's time to put the boots away and perhaps go cop a new pair of shoes... and I know that a lot of you blogosphere/hipster/post-hipster/indie-not-indie/DJ kids can't find what you're looking for at Finish Line (although I gotta say they play good music there lol) and this means if you're going to a mall you're probably going to Journey's. If you spend $75 or more at Journey's you get a free copy of the "Get Out Of The Garage" CD! $75 for shoes isn't much but I mean last time I was at Journey's I found a pair of two pair of Converse that would have added up to about $85 (which is one pair of shoes anywhere else lol)...

If you decide to go out and get some new kicks remember there's a CD full of fresh talent waiting for you at Journey's that you probably don't want to miss out on. You guys know I choose the commercial projects I promote carefully because I don't want to degrade my hard work, and blog, by just selling out in hopes of making a buck or two. Frankly, I'm making nothing off this... I just think it's cool.

The ad campaign that had Kid Sister, Kenna, Frank Gallows, Julian Casablancas, Santigold, Pharrell and all these other artists I like/know/respect reignited my interest in Converse so I don't feel weird repping their stuff at all. Converse has a strong history in pop culture (from pictures of Kurt Cobain drawing on his shoes, to Renton in Trainspotting) and as long as they are keeping with that "underground spirit" I'm interested in what they're doing.

And I'm gonna have to go get a new pair of gray canvass hi-tops and the Kurt Cobain "Journal" shoes same way you will; no one is hooking me up for writing this. So don't roll your eyes at me... we've had at least three pieces now where I've talked about the importance of companies getting involved with music going forward... it's the only way the bands we care about are going to survive.

Here's the (slightly modified) press release...
On June 16th, 2008, Converse, Journeys and Cornerstone launched the Get Out of the Garage Music Contest, a contest designed to target untapped talent in the artist community.

Entrants were given the option of uploading their MP3 to the Get Out of the Garage Music Contest website ( Entrants could also go to any Journeys store to obtain a mail in envelope to send their song in. Over 5,000 entries were received for consideration.

On December 8th, 2008, Converse, Downtown Records and Cornerstone announced the Get Out of the Garage Music Contest winners and revamped the Get Out of the Garage Music Contest website to reflect the Grand Prize Winner and Runner Ups.

The Get Out of the Garage Music Contest website is dedicated to the winners of the contest. Each band was given an individual page on the site, where viewers can stream the winning band’s songs and check out their bios and pictures. Check out all the winning entrants here:

All songs, from each winning band, will be available on CD at any Journeys store by April 15th, 2009. This exclusive CD is available through a $75 purchase or more of Converse footwear.

The Winner:
"On A Whim" Flying Machines
The Grand Prize winner won the following prize

* 4 day trip to New York City to record music
* Studio time with a NYC music producer
They found one winner previously: Flying Machines for their song "On a Whim." But during the process they realized there were lots of talented bands so they decided to make a whole album to promote all the bands!

Here's the playlist:
*"Say It Out Loud" The Company Kang
*"Kenny's Big Adventure" Control Escape
*"Let's Go Steady, Debbie" Echo Station
*"On A Whim" Flying Machines
*"Beside You" Junior Giant
*"Soul Sucker" The Melismatics
*"September" Mod Amish
*"You Should Be My" Nasty Little Habit
*"Goner" The Nothingheads
*"Deadfall" The Swear

Here's the video from the "winning band" last year (who are on the CD). It's nice upbeat powerpop. It's a bit like if Phoenix were from New York and the guy form Keane was their singer. To my knowledge all these bands are American so the Gallows and Keane mention are my attempt at trying to tie this back to the blogs format lol...

So that's that. Just wanted to let you know it was out there... and I'm really interested to see if this new "corporations are the new record labels" thing turns out to be as good as it seems. I mean one of my favourite bands, Midwest Product on Ghostly International, probably made the most money in their career lending their greatest song "Swamp" to Hummer. My boys Flosstramdaus released their wicked indie-electro gem "Big Bills" through Mountain Dew. And everyone from Simian Mobile Disco to LCD Soundsystem to A-Trak (and now De La Soul) have put out releases through Nike. We're in a new era guys and it feels like an industry that we have more control over than we ever have before.

Let's cross our fingers and hope for a productive outcome... and in the meantime maybe we can enjoy some music and new shoes to boot? Be back soon!

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