Poison the Well, Save the Scene
In the past month one of the rarities of underground music took place: a band which had worked its way up through the underground scene and managed to land a major label deal announced that it had signed with a label known in the for its ability to work as a launching pad for new bands. The band in question, Poison the Well, signed with underground hardcore powerhouse Ferret Records last month. This announcement came as the band was beginning to promote their up coming release Versions. Poison the Well’s last release (You Come Before You, 2003) was released by Atlantic Records. The band has stated that they walked away from Atlantic because of “creative differences.” While walking away from Atlantic Records is understandable, the decision to sign on with Ferret has been a huge surprise.
While Ferret Records has grown substantially over the past five years, the label is still not a major force in mainstream media. Promotion of albums and the ability to get CDs out to chain media stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) is one of the greatest problems facing Ferret. The problem does not lay solely on Ferret Records though: many of these stores do not see a market for the CDs that Ferret is promoting. And once again we come back to the everlasting struggle of working in underground music: promotion. It really is a double edged sword. There are quite a few bands out who are working with smaller labels like Ferret, Eulogy and Eyeball that deserve better promotion than what these labels can give them, but are unwilling to work with larger labels. It really comes down to whether the bands are more worried about selling records or making their music.
I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that I’m amazed and very impressed with Posion the Well. I guarantee that they are not getting nearly as much money from Ferret as they were from Atlantic, but PTW is going to be able to make more of the album they want to make. Basically, support bands like PTW; they are going to save underground music.