Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 20, 2012.

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"Another" is the second album I've made as the Human Hearts, and my nineteenth all told. The CD is out in fall, but vinyl is heavier.

My name is Franklin Bruno, and I have a band called the Human Hearts.  I've been writing songs and recording them for independent labels (Shrimper, Scat, Simple Machines, Absolutely Kosher) since 1990, as one-third of Nothing Painted Blue, under my own name, and in collaboration with friends.  All told, I've released 18 full-length albums in various formats.  And now, my associates and I have made another - which is called Another.  It was recorded at Brooklyn's Seaside Lounge (New Pornographers, St. Vincent, Kelly Hogan); the core band is me (on guitars, piano, organ, and other keyboards) and drummer/percussionist Matt Houser, with Peter Hughes and Dmitry Ishenko on electric and acoustic bass, respectively. Laura Cantrell, my neighbor in Jackson Heights, Queens, duets with me on one song; NYC cabaret star Molly Pope belts another one; and my long-time friend Jenny Toomey sings harmony on a couple more. Various talented guests contribute horns (John Wriggle and the Ex-Camino Horns), accordion (Ted Reichman), pedal steel (Greg McMullen), and guitar parts beyond my abilities (Pete Galub). There are also a few seconds of vocoder, and this weird heartbeat simulator intended for use in medical offices:

I'm proud of the songs I've written this time, and the way the recordings have turned out -- I love lo-fi, but this isn't it. Another is the first all-new album of my own I've completed since moving to New York in 2007, and, honestly, I don't think you'll be disappointed if you've enjoyed my other records, or know my songs through other performers. (That, in case you missed it, was the hard sell.)

The album will be available, in September or October, as a CD and download from Shrimper Records, the venerable California label (Sentridoh, Dump, Woods) that released my first solo cassettes. I would also like it to exist on vinyl, so our insect overlords can enjoy it in our inevitable post-apocalyptic future, when laptops have been replaced by hand-(or-claw)-cranked gramophones. However, neither the label nor I are in a position to put up all the cash for mastering, manufacturing, and packaging a vinyl pressing. I realize that debt-financing has made capitalism the long-term formula for growth and prosperity that it is, but it's more my speed to ask a few dozen (or a couple hundred) interested individuals to pledge some money now to receive the record when it's ready: hence this Kickstarter project. (I also think it's going to be fun.)

While I think most visitors here will know this already, it's worth mentioning that the funding level of $4000 has to be met within the duration of the project: If I raise $2800 or even $3999, I get nothing, and everyone who did pledge gets their money back - but they also don't get any records. That would an unfortunate state of affairs, don't you think?

Since I don't plan to press a huge number of extra copies of the vinyl edition, the unit cost is fairly high, but I'm going to do this limited edition right: It's already been mastered (separately for vinyl and CD) by the wonderful Jen Munson at Taloowa Studios in Yonkers, I'll be doing the highest-quality double-10" pressing funds will allow, and the covers will be designed by renowned graphic novelist David Heatley (My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down) and printed by Dan Selzer of the marvelous reissue label Acute Records. Of course, the vinyl edition will come with a download (or perhaps a fully-mastered but minimally packaged CD), just in case the bug-men are late in arriving.  Funding over what's necessary to execute the project will go towards recording the next Human Hearts album (New Metropolitan Forms), which is already written.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?

I've tried to offer a range of rewards at various funding levels, including: downloads and CDs for those who want to hear the album but don't care about vinyl; the recent Human Hearts 7" (w/ download) "Art Books"; a bonus digital-only EP ("Flag Pin" + 3, currently being recorded) to be released on the heels of the album; my two published books (one poetry, one music criticism): and the remaining copies of some early, scarce releases.  I'm also offering house(guest) concerts and - this is a crazy experiment that will strike some as presumptuous - one-on-one songwriting tutorials, in person (if geography permits) or by Skype: you'll play or send me two or three of your songs, and we'll spend about 90 minutes talking about them.  There are more details in the list at right; if you want a combination of items that you don't see, contact me and we'll work out a fair funding amount. All funders, from $1 up, will receive an mp3 of an exclusive non-album song, and all physical mailings will include an extra freebie (which you'll choose) - either Set of Pipes, a seven-song 3" CD-EP on the Dark Beloved Cloud label, or one of several out-of-print 7" singles.

All funding levels are postpaid for U.S./Canada; we will work out shipping to U.K./Europe/elsewhere case-by-case, given the range of items and shipping policies (and the fact that I'm not sure what the vinyl package will weigh yet).

FINALLY:

Since I think you all deserve something more than a pitch for taking a look at this, I've included a live-in-the-studio solo performance of another new song in the intro video at the top of this page: it's not on the album, and I don't really know whether I'll record it again. I know that there are many, many other things you (or I) could be paying attention to right now, so whether or not you decide that you want to fund this project, I want to thank you for your time, and for reading, watching, and listening.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    1 backer

    Thank you! ALL funders at this level and above will receive an mp3 of an otherwise unreleased non-album song (and not the one in the video, either), and my gratitude.

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    1 backer

    The Human Hearts "Art Books"/"Last Words of Her Lover" vinyl 7" (Fayettenam Records). Picture sleeve and insert designed by Mark Givens of Wckr Spgt; comes with a code for high-quality downloads of both tracks.

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    16 backers

    High-quality download of the new album, with accompanying file of credits, art, and lyrics. Depending on our production schedule, this may be distributed several weeks in advance of the physical release.

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    4 backers

    CD (on Shrimper Records) of the new album.

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    9 backers

    A signed copy of either of my two books: (a) my first full-length poetry collection, The Accordion Repertoire (published by Washington D.C.'s Edge Books); (b) my rock-critical book about Elvis Costello's Armed Forces (published in Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series).

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    30 backers

    Limited edition double 10" vinyl edition of the new album - the whole reason for this project. Signed and numbered; high-quality mastering and pressing, with letterpress sleeves and insert. Includes high-quality download.

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    6 backers

    CD of the new album + 4-song digital-only EP ("Flag Pin" + 3) of new, post-album studio recordings.

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    18 backers

    Limited edition double 10" vinyl edition of the new album + 4-song digital-only EP ("Flag Pin" + 3) of new, post-album studio recordings.

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    12 backers

    Limited edition double 10" vinyl edition of the new album + "Art Books" single/download + 4-song digital-only EP.

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    6 backers

    Limited double 10" vinyl edition of the new album (with download) + either book (The Accordion Repertoire or Armed Forces) + 4-song digital-only EP.

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    24 backers

    Limited double 10" vinyl edition of the new album (with download) + "Art Books" 7"/download + 4-song digital-only EP + either book (The Accordion Repertoire or Armed Forces) + Civics (The Human Hearts' 2006 debut CD). At this level and above, you'll also be thanked by name in the vinyl packaging. [If you already have an item in this package, you can substitute one of my back-catalog CDs.]

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    1 backer

    Limited-edition double 10" vinyl edition of the new album + "Art Books" 7"/download + 4-song digital-only EP + both books (The Accordion Repertoire and Armed Forces) + up to four available back catalog CDs of your choosing. Currently available: [The Human Hearts] Civics; [Nothing Painted Blue] Placeholders, Emotional Discipline, Monte Carlo Method, Taste the Flavor; [Franklin Bruno] A Bedroom Community, Kiss Without Makeup, Local Currency; [Human Hearts] Civics; [Jenny Toomey sings Franklin Bruno] Tempting; [The Extra G/lenns] Martial Arts Weekend; Undercard. (Please note: I have more copies of some of these than others, and could run out of one or two.) And you'll be thanked in the vinyl packaging.

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    9 backers

    VINYL PACK: Limited double 10" vinyl/download edition of the new album + "Art Books" 7"/download + LPs of A Bedroom Community (Franklin Bruno, Simple Machines, 1995), The Monte Carlo Method (Nothing Painted Blue, Scat, 1998; includes bonus 7") and Undercard (The Extra Lens, Merge, 2009). Package will also include a selection of out-of-print 7"s, and a thank you in the vinyl packaging.

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    2 backers Limited (6 left of 8)

    A one-on-one songwriting tutorial. For New Yorkers (or Southern Californians, if you're willing to do this in July), we'll get together (at a location TBD) for a 90-minute session where you'll play me up to three of your songs (finished or not), and I offer my thoughts on structure, chord changes, rhyming, and the like. For those who live elsewhere or can't do it in person, we'll do it by Skype. Either way, you can send me demos (any recording quality) in advance, if you like. My aim won't be to make your songs sound like mine (unless, for reasons best known to you, that's what you want), but to suggest ways to think about making them more effective and memorable, given your own aims and chosen genre. WARNING: Even though I have a pretty firm grasp on the formulas and conventions of several genres of pop and rock songwriting, it would be foolish to claim that anything I say is likely to make your songs more commercial. Possibly the opposite. But, beyond my own practical experience, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what makes songs tick, and it's quite possible that my input could be of use. PLUS everything listed at the $75 level (new album on vinyl/7"/digital EP/books/one more CD), and a thank you in the vinyl packaging.

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    3 backers All gone!

    An unplayed copy of my solo cassette Etudes for Voice and Snackmaster (1992, Shrimper). (I can't say "sealed" because the early Shrimper tapes weren't shinkwrapped.) Never released in any other format; these are the last copies remaining from the original run. Plus a selection of original promo/tour posters and flyers from "back in the day," vinyl or CD (as you prefer) of the new album, and everything else listed at the $75 level, and a thank you in the vinyl packaging.

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    4 backers All gone!

    An unplayed vinyl copy of A Baby, A Blanket, A Packet of Seeds (1990, Jupa Records), Nothing Painted Blue's first, self-released LP from 1990. Never released in any other format; these are the last copies remaining from the original pressing. Plus a selection of flyers and tour posters from "back in the day," vinyl or CD (as you prefer) of the new album, everything else listed at the $75 level, and a thank you in the vinyl packaging. (Please note: these copies are sealed, but corner-punched.)

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    HOUSEGUEST PACK: For $750 + airfare or car rental depending on distance and schedule, I'll play a solo show at your home (or other modest venue) anywhere in the continental U.S. It can be just for your invited friends or "the public," paying or otherwise; all that is your call. We can discuss my (simple) equipment needs. Travel costs will vary with scheduling, depending on whether I'm coming from Queens or (this summer) Southern California. Despite the title of this "package," I'll happily take care of my own accomodations - especially if the lyrics to "Houseguest" creep you out. I'll take advance requests for solo, Human Hearts, or Nothing Painted Blue songs, but I reserve some veto power. I'll be happy to go out to breakfast (dutch!) the next morning, if your schedule permits, unless one of us turns out to be a dangerous maniac. Plus, of course, everything listed at the $75 level, including a thank you in the vinyl packaging.

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Funding period

- (31 days)