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Press Kit-a-holics Anonymous

Press Kit-a-holics Anonymous

I’m a minimalist- I don’t need a lot of stuff to get by. In fact, I’d go so far as to day that less stuff is in preference to more stuff. This approach to life has also led me into a very orderly existence- in order to get rid of piles, you need to have specific places to put stuff. This attention to neatness is evidenced by the fact that I relentlessly attempt to keep my desk clutter-free, I have folders on my computer for EVERYTHING, and I shred as many as ten pieces of paper a day. I hate junk.

That’s the first reason why I absolutely detest large press kits. But that’s not the only reason that I hate press kits- oh no. I have a litany of grievances against the press kit: takes away from the professionalism of the album, distracts from the music, puts off a pretentious air, steals from my vocabulary arsenal, and usually they’re just downright ugly.

I like it when a band is presented to me as a clean, tight, concise package. This type of band will have two or three comments on the bottom of their one-sheet from the highest-profile people that have commented on their band- a successful band, a high-powered magazine, a lesser review organization (usually a glowing review), or other celebrity figures from the music world. These bands come off as confident, self-assured, and not conceited. The focus is on their album, but just in case you wanted to know where they’re coming from, they’ve provided some basics for you. Since the quotes are not much more than a few lines long, there’s still a lot that’s able to be said about the album. The band, as aforementioned, is tight- before I’ve even put the CD in the player I like the band with a one-sheet more than a band with a ten-page press kit.

That band with the ten-page press kit gets on my nerves. First off, even if you’re getting glowing reviews from everyone and their dog, you don’t need to print all of them- just print the top three or four. When you have three or four or five or ten pages of press on you, it’s tough to say anything new- all the words on that release have been mined. IT not only makes my job harder, it makes my review less truthful because I’m hitting the thesaurus instead of writing my gut feeling. To put it more bluntly, putting five pages of glowing press in a kit that you send to other reviewers is like telling a guy to write about his favorite breed of dog, but saying that there are only four potential breeds left- choose from Pomeranian, Shitsu, Doberman Pinscher, and Jack Russell Terrier. What if my favorite is Border Collie?

Those ten pages are not only prohibiting, they’re usually cluttered and ugly- press clippings were not intended to look beautiful. All that visual noise distracts from the sonic noise going on in my speakers- while I’m obsessing over the fact that the band was so conceited and pretentious to include all this unnecessary junk, I’m missing the music.

Now I’m not saying that a crappy band with a tight one-sheet will get a better review than an amazing band with a crappy press kit- may it never be! But in the ‘first impressions’ bracket, a tight one-sheet will score points at Independent a press kit will not. It just doesn’t look good, and that’s all there is to it. We’re not trying to sign you- we don’t care what other people have said about your band. We care about what we think about your band.

-Stephen Carradini