Music » Makin' the Scene

Virtual Deal

The Balomai Brothers ink a deak with iTunes.

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Butch Walter, getting eloquent at the House of Blues, July 29 . - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Butch Walter, getting eloquent at the House of Blues, July 29 .

Smog Veil Records has signed an innovative iTunes-exclusive deal for a best-of release from Brook Park's Balomai Brothers. The band's "And Every Single Song Is Gonna Go Like This" was a Scene Music Awards nominee for song of the year. Label owner Frank Mauceri says that all-digital distribution allows him to give more bands more exposure.

"It's the way of the future, as I see it," says Mauceri, a former Clevelander.

Though any band can offer songs through online shops, Smog Veil artists benefit from the label's national print advertising, web campaigns, and reputation. The label advertises in 25 magazines, including CMJ, Punk Planet, and Big Takeover.

The Balomai Brothers have been around in various increasingly shrunken incarnations for 25 years. The group has played only a handful of shows and sold just seven albums, but the deal technically puts the duo in the company of Pere Ubu and Mike Watt's Unknown Instructors. Smog Veil's online-only roster includes Japan's Teengenerate and Northeast Ohio's Rubber City Rebels and Spudmonsters. Bands and the label evenly split proceeds after a mechanical royalty fee is deducted.

The Balomais' latest LP, "You Don't Have to Like Us, You Can Just Suck Our Dicks": A Ghoul Skit, or: Hungarian American Idiot -- A Junk Rock Opera alternates Zappa-esque warped rock and skit episodes of a humorous plot. The well-received satire mocks hipster culture and pay-to-play club economics that exclude non-mainstream acts. Mauceri says he likes the band and thinks that others will too, if they can find out about it.

The online arrangement is a low-risk way to help obscure groups find a following. "It's the perfect medium for creating and selling to niche markets," says Mauceri. "It's immediately profitable for us and the band. Plus, Smog Veil has done all the crappy administrative work to get the stuff into Europe and Japan -- no small task."

No Power: Best of the Balomai Brothers is now available.

· Last Wednesday, Metropolis hosted a listening party for the new Skant Bone album, Four Seasonz, which is scheduled to drop on September 26. The first single is "Smokin' on Information," the old Layzie Bone joint with Snoop Dogg, reupholstered and properly pimped-out for Skant. He's already shot the video with Snoop in L.A., and it should be hitting the airwaves in a few weeks.

· Preparing for life after Roadrunner Records, Chimaira has recorded a three-song demo in Florida with producer Jason Suecof, who worked with neo-thrash sensations God Forbid and Trivium. Drummer Andols Herrick is offering drum lessons. Visit MySpace.com/andolsherrick for details.

· Slayer's new Christ Illusion LP will available for just $6.66 at all 13 Northeast Ohio Exchange stores Tuesday, July 8, while supplies last. The new Willoughby (35101 Euclid Avenue) and Canton (3225 Cleveland Avenue N.W.) stores will also provide a 20th-anniversary Reign in Blood poster with the purchase.

· '70s rock throwbacks the Black Diamonds will take a hiatus after playing three shows this week (see listings). The band, which won Scene readers' song of the year award for "Cold Cold Heart," doesn't plan to play again until at least November, after singer Chad Van Gils wraps up his first season as Baldwin-Wallace soccer's place-kicker. To keep busy, guitarist-producer Dylan Francis is working on a similar project, writing and playing all the music. Francis is recording in his basement and plans to form a trio for live shows by the fall.

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