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Secret Cities has been a long-distance band for years. Now they want to get together and record an album in the same room for once.
Thanks to our Kickstarter backers, we finally got the chance to record all in the same room after years as a long-distance band.
Thanks to our Kickstarter backers, we finally got the chance to record all in the same room after years as a long-distance band.
163 backers pledged $8,693 to help bring this project to life.

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A new Secret Cities album, recorded at Tiny Telephone

$8,693

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TWO UPDATES: 

1) All digital packages now have more options to choose from - Everybody that purchases the DIGITAL PRE-ORDER PLUS or EVERYTHING DIGITAL packages will now be able to choose between downloads of Pink Graffiti, Strange Hearts, Pink Graffiti Originals, the Covers EP, and Zurich. DIGITAL PRE-ORDER PLUS people get one out of those, and EVERYTHING DIGITAL people get their choice of two. For those that want more...

2) We added the EVERYTHING DIGITAL PLUS and ALL THE DOWNLOADS rewards - just to give you as much flexibility/confusion as possible. EVERYTHING DIGITAL PLUS gives you the new album plus three of the downloads listed up there. ALL THE DOWNLOADS gives you everything. 

OK, here's our story: 

Charlie met Marie at band camp when they were both 15. Alex met those two on the internet when they were all 19. Then, inexplicably, Secret Cities happened. And, even more inexplicably, it continues to happen. 

The three of us are the best of friends, but we've never lived in the same city together since we've been a band. We started in our home state of North Dakota, sending cassette tapes of songs and adding parts on four track recorders. We're all digital now and none of us live in North Dakota anymore, but that arrangement remains the same almost 12 years later. 

It's an arrangement that's served us well. It got us a deal with the wonderful label Western Vinyl in 2010. We put our lives on hold, released Pink Graffiti, toured a lot, released Strange Hearts in 2011, then toured even more. Here's some of the stuff we did during that time, before we scattered back to our three winds: 

Slacker: 

The Park: 

We want our next album to be awesome. We want it to be big, orchestrated, and beautiful. We want it to rock, and we want it to weird you out. But most of all, we want to record this album together, in the same place, at the same time, for the first time ever. We need your help to do that. 

By supporting this project, you'll allow us to book 12 days at Tiny Telephone, the legendary all-analog recording studio in San Francisco owned by John Vanderslice. We have all loved this studio for many, many years. So, so many  great-sounding records have come from that place. Seriously, look it up. To record there ourselves is a total bucket list sort of thing. 

Tiny Telephone
Tiny Telephone

At Tiny Telephone, we will be recording with Jay Pellicci. He's worked with Deerhoof, Yann Tiersen, Cody Chestnutt, Thao & Mirah, John Vanderslice, and so so many more. We first met him by a river in France years ago. He was superb then, and he remains superb today.

As of right now, we have approximately 23 songs that we're demo-ing back and forth with each other. There are several more on the way. So far, the songs are all over the map, but we want them all to be lush and romantic. 

This is important: By becoming a backer, your money will go ONLY towards the making of our new album. Western Vinyl is releasing and promoting it. We're paying for our own food and staying with friends when we're in San Francisco. Every single cent that we receive will be poured into making this album our absolute best. 

The goal we have set now, $8,500, is enough to cover the studio time, Jay Pellicci's fee, and the margins on our (numerous/excellent) rewards. That's it. 

If, by the grace of Kickstarter, we exceed this goal, the extra money will pay only for a better record. Maybe we'll hire Magik*magik Orchestra for a few songs (we'd really, really love to do this). Maybe we'll do the LP release on 200g, audiophile quality vinyl from one of the nation's best vinyl pressers. Maybe we'll make it so every pre-order comes with a kitten.

Not this exact kitten. It belongs to Tiny Telephone.
Not this exact kitten. It belongs to Tiny Telephone.

Whatever your pledge is, we are thankful for it, and we trust you'll find there are more than enough reward options available to you. 

Oh, one more thing: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMBINE REWARDS AS YOU SEE FIT. Just add the extra amount and leave us a note, and we'll take care of the rest. 

Thanks for everything. We can't wait to make this record with you. 

- Alex, Charlie, and Marie // Secret Cities. 

MORE INFO ON SELECT REWARDS: 

THE MUSIC:

We are very excited that the artwork for our new album will be done by Micah Lidberg. We are all huge fans of Micah's work, which is why we also had him do the artwork for our previous two albums. Here is what those covers (and the LP packages you can get here) look like: 

Pink Graffiti on the left, Strange Hearts on the right
Pink Graffiti on the left, Strange Hearts on the right

We're also releasing a new digital single as part of this Kickstarter, to go with the other two we've already released. Artwork for that one is still in the works: 

Bright Teeth, On Holiday, and Jamie's Got a New Boyfriend
Bright Teeth, On Holiday, and Jamie's Got a New Boyfriend

Bright Teeth contains the track "Bright Teeth" and Pink Graffiti Pt. 1." On Holiday contains the tracks "On Holiday" and a cover of the Ellie Greenwich song "You Don't Know." The forthcoming single will feature "The Park" and the unreleased song "Jamie's Got A New Boyfriend."

PHOTOGRAPHY: 

Alex will take snapshots throughout the recording process on his film camera and provide you with a one-of-a-kind 5x7 print. He'll notate on the back the date the photo was taken and (if necessary) what is going on in it. Alex will get a lot of looks like this: 

Here are more examples of Alex's photo stuff. 

POSTER: 

If you've ever seen us live, chances are you've seen Annie Harrigan's work. She's painted our kick drum head for us, including this awesome one for our last tour in 2012: 

TEA: 

Yes, John Vanderslice/Tiny Telephone have their own proprietary organic tea blend, which they have graciously offered to us to use as a reward. According to JV himself in the SF Bay Guardian, "It has Rainbow's Love Tea blend (which is really good), dandelion, peppermint, blackberry bush, red clover blossoms, rose hips, and sage. Some things are there for taste, and others for medicinal reasons." 

This is what it looks like: 

Photo by Dianna Potter
Photo by Dianna Potter

GUITAR: 

Here's a video of it in action (Charlie is playing it, front and center): 

ZURICH: 

Klimt!
Klimt!

This record was made before we changed our name to Secret Cities, and was released on Fall Records in 2005. There's some haunting stuff on there. Here's a song: 

If you have any questions about our other rewards, just ask! 

secretcitiesmusic@gmail.com // Or send us a message on Kickstarter. 

Risks and challenges

Going into the studio is something very, very different for us. And while that will be a good thing in many ways, it could also be a challenge. But we've risen to challenges before. We've done tours on a few day's rehearsal, added and lost more touring members for more reasons than you can imagine, and continued plugging away as a band even though we hardly ever see each other.

When it comes to fulfilling your rewards, know that we are super reliable and very contact-able. Anyone with any questions or modification to their pledge can get in touch with us any time at secretcitiesmusic@gmail.com - and it'll be one of the three of us that answers and helps with your query.

Western Vinyl will be producing and shipping the physical artifact. They are a record company, and quite an awesome one at that. They always do an excellent job and this time it will be no different.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Daily updates from the studio as we put together the album - to include words, photos, and perhaps a couple videos as well.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    DIGITAL SINGLES: Three digital double A-side singles - "Bright Teeth," "On Holiday," and the forthcoming single of "The Park," which includes the unreleased track "Jamie's Got A New Boyfriend."

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DIGITAL PRE-ORDER: You'll get a digital copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before the release date.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    PINK GRAFFITI ORIGINALS - a digital copy of the original, more electronic version of Pink Graffiti that got us signed to Western Vinyl. THESE ARE NOT DEMOS - they're alternate versions of songs on Pink Graffiti that we fully intended to release before we re-recorded the album.

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    COVERS EP - Digital copy of SC's renditions of songs by Elvis, The Microphones, Roy Orbison, and more. All unreleased, all awesome.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    ZURICH - A Mini-LP we did as The White Foliage, before changing our name to Secret Cities. Originally released on Fall Records in 2005, now out of print. You get to download its 26 minutes of hazy, orchestral awesomeness.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    CD PRE-ORDER: You'll get a CD copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks for the release date.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    DIGITAL PRE-ORDER PLUS: You'll get digital copies of A) the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before the release date + B) your choice of one of our previous two albums ("Strange Hearts" or "Pink Graffiti") to download immediately after fundraising ends.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    STRINGS: Need something to hang other things up with? Own a set of guitar strings used in the recording of the new album, placed back in their original packaging and personalized however you want. Includes DIGITAL PRE-ORDER.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    CD PRE-ORDER PLUS: You'll get a CD copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks for the release date + your choice of one of our previous albums ("Strange Hearts" or "Pink Graffiti") on CD.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    LP PRE-ORDER: You get a vinyl copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before the release date (includes digital download).

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    EVERYTHING DIGITAL: You'll get digital copies of A) the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before its release date and B) Both of our previous two albums ("Strange Hearts" & "Pink Graffiti") to download after fundraising ends and C) the three digital singles.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    CHIPS: One bag of chips from a Taqueria near Tiny Telephone, where we will probably dine daily. We will search and find the one with the best chips, then pack them lovingly and send them to you. Includes DIGITAL PRE-ORDER.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    EVERYTHING ON CD: You'll get a CD copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks for the release date + both of our previous albums ("Strange Hearts" & "Pink Graffiti") on CD + the three digital singles.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    PHOTOGRAPHY: One-of-a-kind 5x7 print of a photograph taken on film by Alex during recording. Includes DIGITAL PRE-ORDER.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    EVERYTHING DIGITAL PLUS: You'll get digital copies of A) the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before its release date, B) The three digital singles, and C-E) Your choice of three out of: "Strange Hearts," "Pink Graffiti," "Pink Graffiti Originals," "Covers EP," and "Zurich."

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    LP PRE-ORDER PLUS: You get a vinyl copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before the release date + one of our previous albums on vinyl (downloads included).

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    POSTER: Limited-edition 18"x24" poster designed by Annie Harrigan, screen printed at Blue Collar Press, autographed/personalized however you want. Includes DIGITAL PRE-ORDER.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TEA: Two bags of John Vanderslice's proprietary organic tea blend, available only at Tiny Telephone studios. Includes DIGITAL PRE-ORDER.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ALL OF THE DOWNLOADS: You'll get digital copies of A) the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before its release date, B) The three digital singles, C) "Pink Graffiti" D) "Strange Hearts" E) "Pink Graffiti Originals" F) "Covers EP" G) "Zurich"

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    ALL THE VINYL: You get a vinyl copy of the new Secret Cities album at least two weeks before the release date + both of our previous albums on vinyl (downloads included) + the 3 digital singles.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    LISTENING PARTY - You + 1 will hear the new record from beginning to end way before it comes out with all or some of us. Locations: San Francisco/Bay Area (w/ all 3 of us), Fargo (w/ Marie), New York City (w/ Alex), Washington DC (w/ Charlie). Good food & drink provided. Includes DIGITAL PRE-ORDER.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    LYRICS - Finally, you can know what the hell we're singing under all that reverb! You sign a confidentiality agreement, and we call you up and give you the lyrics to two Secret Cities songs of your choice. Includes EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    WE SING YOUR VOICEMAIL: Be the envy of every missed caller - let Secret Cities sing/play a custom voicemail greeting just for you. You'll get an MP3 copy as well. Includes EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MUSIC LESSONS - Marie will teach you how to play piano, cello, viola, french horn, saxophone, or theory/music reading. Eight lessons, one per week, 30 mins each, to start September 2013. FARGO/MOORHEAD METRO AREA, ONLY. If you're farther away, get in touch with us first before selecting this reward. Comes with EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    ALL OF OUR MUSIC - Aw thanks, you little completist you! You get the new Secret Cities album and both of our previous albums on LP, CD and digital, plus the three digital singles, Pink Graffiti Originals, and the Covers EP. That is literally everything Secret Cities has ever done.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    PINK GRAFFITI GUITAR - Looking for an acoustic guitar? Own the one Charlie used to record all the guitar (and all the bass) on our debut album "Pink Graffiti." Signed and customized however you like. Includes EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    TEST PRESSING - You get a test pressing of the new record, in a custom painted sleeve/jacket combo. There will only be three of these made, ever. Includes EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    WE TAKE REQUESTS: Secret Cities will record a cover song of your choice, and deliver it to you via CD-R. Includes EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    SESSION MUSICIANS: Charlie, Marie, or Alex will perform on three songs of yours. Singing, drums, cello, ukulele, whatever. Includes EVERYTHING DIGITAL.

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  31. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    YOUR OWN SECRET CITIES SHOW - We will fly to your city and play a show at a venue of your choice (lower 48 only). You make the setlist. Wedding, bar/bat Mitzvah, birthday party, whatever. Plus ALL OF OUR MUSIC & a custom poster for the show designed by Annie Harrigan,

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    SECRET CITIES LIFETIME PASS: Guest list +1 to any of our shows anywhere in the world forever, all of our current and future records in every format, any piece of merch you want, we will fly to your town and play a show at a venue of your choice, and you make the setlist.

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Funding period

- (30 days)