Category Archives: Bong Mountain

GTG Feature In City Pulse!

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Big thanks to Dylan Tarr and City Pulse for this excellent piece about the 10th anniversary of GTG Records! Follow the link here or read the whole piece below!

A Decade of GTG Records

Local Lansing record label celebrates a productive anniversary year

BY DYLAN TARR

Lansing’s GTG Records put out 16 records this year. That’s over 150 songs and more than 10 hours of music. If you wanted to, you could drive all the way to Tennessee listening to nothing but GTG releases from this year alone. For a record label based out of a house that City Pulse once named “Eyesore of the Week,” that’s a lot of music. And honestly, it’s a lot of music no matter what your headquarters look like.

“This was sort of a special thing,” said GTG co-founder Tommy McCord, also known as Tommy Plural, admitting they don’t usually release a terabyte of music in 12 months. “We decided that since it was the 10th working year of the label we wanted to celebrate it.”

McCord traces the beginnings of GTG Records back to 2007, when he and his bandmates, Hattie Danby and Nicholas Richard, put out the Plural’s first EP.

“We first used it as a way to release our demos and our friends’ demos on CD-Rs,” said McCord. “In 2007 we put out an EP called ‘Professor Nanners,’ and that was the first time we had a professional company manufacture the CDs.”

Since then, with 10 years on the record and over 100 releases, the label has taken on a life of its own, McCord said, describing it as more of a collective of local musicians than a business.

“I knew bands would be putting things out this year and I thought if I reached out to a few more people I could figure out one release a month,” said McCord. “We ended up doubling up in some of those months because there was so much happening.”

If you still have some reservations about a record label run out of a dilapidated house on the east side of Lansing, you shouldn’t. This is exactly where the music you eventually love comes from.

Def Jam started in Rick Rubin’s dorm room while he was a student at NYU. Bruce Pavitt dubbed together compilation tapes for an obscure fanzine that later turned into Sup Pop. It doesn’t matter if bands are recording in a sound proofed studio in L.A. or in a Michigan basement between noon and 11 p.m. to comply with noise regulations; great music is great music.

City Mouse’s “Get Right,” released in November on GTG, sounds like the band Sleater Kinney could have been if they didn’t lose their razor-sharp teeth immediately after their first album. GTG’s first release of 2017, The Hunky Newcomers live album, “Harder Stuff Dude,” sounds like Black Flag in an alternate universe where Greg Ginn actually possesses a sense of humor.

And the Hat Madder’s fourth release on GTG, “Rotting On the Vine,” is a proggy, Mars Volta-like record without any of the step-dad connotations that prog-rock often comes with.

I could go on comparing GTG bands to other famous bands you’ve heard of to convince you that Lansing’s music scene is undeniably important, but I won’t because that’s a job McCord happens to be very good at.

“I’ll be honest, I tour the country for large parts of the year and I see cool bands everywhere,” McCord said. “But I feel like the concentration of cool bands in Lansing is higher than anywhere else, and I really don’t think it’s because I’m a hometown pride person. There are just a lot of cool weird things here.”

And with a surplus of cool, weird things to foster in Lansing, McCord said that GTG as an organization simply becomes whatever it needs to be to do its job.

“It’s like what do you want to do as a band,” McCord said. “If the band’s not going to play shows very much we’ll have a mostly digital release and a small run of CDs to have at the release party.”

Similarly, if a band intends on touring and playing out constantly, GTG puts out vinyl releases too.

“With the Plurals, we noticed on tour that bands who had a 7 inch or a 12 inch seemed like they were always selling them,” McCord said. “I was like, we can get in on this, right?” he laughed.

But pressing vinyl is expensive. While this might dissuade other independent labels, McCord only laughed and said, “no one gets rich off this stuff.” And besides, he said, “Records just look sweet. It’s cool to look at it and just to know your music is on it.”

GTG has evolved with the scene, picking up the slack where Lansing’s shortcomings wear even thinner.

“Around 2009, a lot of local venues closed so we started to do more house shows. All ages spaces and intimate venues for touring bands who might not get a lot of people out at Mac’s Bar are important,” said McCord, referring to the GTG House, the label’s headquarters and inclusive local venue.

GTG does the dirty work, too. That’s right, they book tours, a nightmarish process few bands attempt and even fewer succeed at.

“It’s really hard to make people give a shit about you if they don’t know who you are,” said Isaac Vander Schuur, front man in the Hat Madder and GTG engineer. “There’s definitely a lot that the label can provide as far as making sure your tours get booked and you’re not thrown to the wolves out on the road.”

GTG helped book the Hat Madder’s recent west coast tour, insuring Vander Shuur and his bandmates weren’t driving 2,000 miles just to play to a different empty room each night.

Sure, GTG Records can pack out a venue, make sure you not only survive on tour but thrive, all while manufacturing and distributing your record, but what about all the hopeless losers like me and you who aren’t in a band? What’s GTG doing for us besides eating up all the space on our Zunes?

“My goal is to show people there’s a lot of great music being made out there and that it’s still possible to have fun in America in the Trump Administration,” McCord said.

“It’s really important in times of discontent to have an outlet for expressing your frustrations and opening up communication with more people,” said McCord. “Shows with a positive energy are great ways to meet people and find more allies for your cause.”

And whatever your stance on safe spaces is, I’m sure we can all agree seeing a show without getting punched out or molested by some creep is preferable if not important.

“You get all these people in a room together and everybody just enjoys each other’s company, you can really tell,” said Vander Schuur. “When you play a show in front of a GTG audience you get an inspiring vibe back from them, even if you’re not having your best night. They still have your back front and center, waiting to see what you’re going to do next. That’s why I started playing music in the first place and that’s why I’m still doing it, because I’m a part of this label.”

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Last few GTG shows of the year!

2017 is wrapping up and there’s a glimmer of hope for the future. Starting with these last couple live dates from GTG bands. Come on out and toast the new year with us!
Honah Lee have some east coast dates, including two with When Particles Collide:
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Tommy Plural
(who released “Idiot Cousin” on GTG this spring) will be playing full band on a stacked bill at The Avenue Cafe in Lansing this Friday:
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The Plurals will be returning to the dank (no, not that way) stage of Mac’s Bar on the 23rd – which will also be the release party for the 2017 Bermuda Snohawk!!! :
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Bong Mountain are playing with Mustard Plug at the Intersection in Grand Rapids for a super dank (yes, that way) show on the 28th:
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Jeremy Porter and The Tucos (who released “Don’t Worry It’s Not Contagious” with GTG last month) are playing a NYE bash in Ferndale:
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And we’ll be having a massive blowout at The Avenue Cafe on New Year’s Eve as well, with music from a GTG supergroup!
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There’s also STILL more new music to come in 2017. Nuts!!!

Friskie Morris & Friends: GTG Fest 2016

Hey! So as the year winds down, it’s a good time to reflect on all of the cool things GTG Records was a part of this year. An annual highlight is always GTG Fest, naturally, and this year we had the good fortune to be joined by Stephen DeFalco from the Chicago-based podcast Friskie Morris & Friends who spent the weekend interviewing a handful of bands on the festival and graciously profiling the new releases from Small Parks, The Stick Arounds, and Bong Mountain that came out at or shortly prior to this year’s fest. Interview segments in addition to the three new release-rs include Handwringer , Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus, City Mouse, Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts and a freewheeling roundtable with members of The Plurals, Drinking Mercury, and Frank and Earnest (with a brand new Plurals recording snuck into that segment!) to round it out. We had our best year ever at GTG Fest 2016 and while this is just a selection of the all-around great lineup we had this year it feels great that Stephen was able to document the event and we can’t wait to relive it and do it again!

GTG Fest 2016 Schedule!

Hey! It’s almost here!

GTG Fest 2016! Three days of the best independent music in the Michigan area (and beyond!)

OCTOBER 7 + 8 at The Avenue Cafe
OCTOBER 9 at GTG House

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Friday 10/7 @ The Avenue Cafe. Doors @ 7 PM/ $7 Cover
8:00 Tidal
8:30 Rent Strike (set 1)
8:45 Birdhouse
9:15 Rent Strike (set 2)
9:30 Narc Out the Reds
10:00 Charlie Darling (set 1)
10:15 Jeremy Porter & the Tucos
10:45 Charlie Darling (set 2)
11:00 The Hat Madder
11:30 Drinking Mercury
12:00 Bong Mountain
12:45 Small Parks (LP release!)

Saturday 10/8 @ The Avenue Cafe. Doors @ 7 PM / $7 Cover
8:00 Flatfoot
8:30 Bat Yulefly
8:45 Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus
9:15 Elroy Meltzer
9:45 LVRS
10:15 Indonesian Junk
10:45 Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts
11:15 Tens
11:45 The Stick Arounds (LP release!)
12:15 Two Houses
12:45 The Plurals

Sunday 10/9 @ GTG House. Pre-Party @ 3 PM / $7 Donation
3:00-5:00 Eat Food and Hangout
5:00-6:30 OPEN MIC
6:30 Phillips Talking Apple Tree
7:00 Tall and Blonde
7:45 Carm
8:30 Dasterds
9:15 Frank And Earnest
10:00 Handwringer
10:45 City Mouse
11:30 Everybody Loves Ramones

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Standard 3 Day Pass Now Available here! Cheaper than the door!

Please be respectful and cool to all attendees and to all of the spaces. No hate. We’re all in this together.

GTG FEST 2016 COMP IS LIVE!!

GTG Fest 2016 is coming! October 7, 8, and 9 in Lansing. Check out a sampler of the artists playing at that thing up there. There’s a few new and unreleased things from GTG bands Carm, Drinking Mercury, The Plurals, Hat Madder and Hunky Newcomers (AKA Everybody Loves Ramones) on there in addition to a bunch of other solid jams.  And follow this link for more info and to get a dank pre-sale package. Good times… coming soon!

“How Much Art Can You Fake?” Out Now!

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Get it! The latest GTG release, a four-way split cassette featuring two new songs apiece from Bong Mountain, Bluff Called, Protected Left, and Frank And Earnest! Available digitally and on cassette, get your copy now!

Stream it too!

GTG089 “How Much Art Can You Fake?” 4-way Split Out 8/12/16!

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GTG is very happy to follow-up the Bong Mountain / Junior Battles split cassette from this spring with a four band split cassette with two new songs apiece from Bong Mountain, Protected Left, Bluff Called, and GTG warhorses Frank and Earnest (with their first new material since 2014’s Modern Country). Two California bands, two Michigan bands, eight songs of shout-along, high energy punk rock, and it’s out this Friday! You can pre-order copies of the four way split cassette How Much Art Can You Fake? right now and the fine folks at For The Love of Punk are streaming the whole thing this week too!