Last week, the Australian rock band with the unwieldy name of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard decided to make its latest album, Polygondwanaland, stand out from the pack of releases that flood streaming services every Friday. Instead of simply making the album available free to download, they entered the ten-song release into public domain. This means anyone in the world can distribute copies of the album. The psych band's website had thorough instructions and heaps of encouragement for fans to press their own vinyl or distribute their own CDs of Polygondwanaland.
When Patrick Garcia heard this news, he knew the label he cofounded, Cheap Miami Records, had to take part in the musical distribution experiment. "I always liked King Gizzard," Garcia says. "When they made the announcement and I heard just about every city had a label putting their own spin on it, I said why not do one for Miami?"
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The Cheap Miami Records version, now available for presale, will come in a bundle of two cassettes. The first tape will have the complete King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard album; the second tape will include music from South Florida psychedelic bands such as Fat Sun, Sandratz, and Taxi. "I know there are people out there who are collecting every release that is coming out. I thought it would be cool for the collectors to get a piece of Miami on it. They'll be able to get a taste of the Miami psyche scene."
Beyond offering the bonus material, Garcia is trying to make his release stand out visually from the glut of at least 50 other labels that are manufacturing their own editions of Polygondwanaland. "I'm going to have someone hand-tie-dye the tapes. He buys see-through tapes, dips the plastic in latex paint so you can still kind of see through them, and then reassembles it."
Though Garcia learned about this opportunity only last week, as everyone else did, he guarantees the cassettes will be ready in a month — just in time to be a Christmas stocking stuffer or final Hanukkah gift. Part of the prep time involves transferring the sound files from vinyl or CD format to cassette. The band's website warns, "If u wanna make cassettes I don’t really know what you would do. Be creative. We did it once but it sounded really shit."
Garcia insists he'll be able to fluff up the sound for the cassette format. He has a multitude of reasons for using what many consider an outdated listening format. "I've always loved the sound of a cassette. You can have it in your pocket after a show, and of course they're cheaper to make." He's hopeful that not only will there be a demand for this cassette from collectors, but also King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard might take notice of his work. "I book shows and I've tried to book the band before," Garcia says, "but they've never come down to Miami."