Let Ty Segall, How To Dress Well and Will Oldham chase away your inauguration blues
For Secretly Group's Jon Coombs, Nov 8, 2016 will remain etched in his mind for a long while. "There were people openly sobbing on the streets," says the Brooklyn, New York resident. "Then there was silence for most that day. It was heartbreaking."
While some may have also felt bereft or paralysis with this year's divisive elections, Coombs, who is the general manager of Secretly Canadian Publishing, decided he would try and do something positive in the aftermath. "I looked at what tools we had at hand and was sitting at lunch and thought, 'Oh, we could do a 100 songs, he's got his first 100 days, we have ours, let's do some good work."
This led Coombs, along with his associate Phil Waldorf, one of the Secretly Group's partners and founder of the Dead Oceans label, to formulate Our First 100 Days: One Hundred Songs That Inspire Progress and Benefit a Cause for Change, a subscription campaign that launches today.
For a minimum donation of $30, subscribers will receive via Bandcamp a daily downloadable, unreleased song of the day that will both pop-up in your inbox and in your Bandcamp profile. The music, featuring primarily independent artists, will include never-before-released tracks new or old by artists that include: Angel Olsen, Ty Segall, Will Oldham, Protomartyr, Waxxahatchee, the Mountain Goats, How To Dress Well, Toro Y Moi, Animal Collective's Avey Tare, Mitski, Tim Heidecker, , Beach Fossils, PWR BTTM, Jens Lekman, Cherry Glazerr, Sam Amidon, Wild Nothing and Leather Corderoy among many others.
There was, however, one small problem with the initiative: "I realized it wasn't my idea," says Coombs. "The guys at 30 days, 30 songs, Jordan Kurland [of Zeitgeist Management who reps Death Cab for Cutie, Best Coast, Bob Mould, New Pornographers, Treasure Island Festival] and Pulitzer-prize winning author Dave Eggers, did a similar project leading up to the election." Coombs called them and both were open to partnering.
Charities selected as beneficiaries of Our First 100 Days campaign were selected primarily by an organization called Revolutions Per Minute, which Coombs says acts as middle person between the music industry at large and charities. The organization's include the People's Climate Movement, All Above All for reproductive rights, Cosecha which focuses on Immigration, Southerners On New Ground, which supports the LGTBQ community in the southern U.S.; and a newer charity called Hoosier Action, which benefits impoverished communities in southern Indiana--and none of which are household names.
"The day after the election I think we probably all started reading about he same charities—the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, National Resources Defense Council," says Coombs. "We wanted to cover a lot of the same ground that they were covering, but those charities end up taking a good portion of the spotlight and there's other charities doing just as meaningful work in the same fields."
Coombs notes that this project isn't necessarilyc partisan: it's not a pre-requisite to have politically-motivated songs and some of the charities are not political by design." The question is, according to Combs, "how do we get more work out of our dollars? And to me that's to donate to causes that support people who probably didn't vote the same way as I. It's small, I'm well aware of that, but it's a step in the right direction to try and bridge the gap."
The Secretly Canadian exec is pleased thus far that the average donation is $34 and has so far had 564 subscriptions—which puts the effort at over $19,000 raised. "We don't really have a concrete goal," Coombs says. "We're splitting this evenly across all the charities. But if we can get ten to twenty thousand dollars in each of those charities' hands, I'll be thrilled."
To that end, the organization is considering other ideas such as having a merch component to the campaign and possibly even a benefit concert. Regardless of how much is raised, there are other benefits,beyond the cash. "Hopefully, this music will bring some kind of positivity, catharsis or even a much needed distraction for fans."
For more on 'Our First 100 Days," click here.