It takes a lot of coordination to properly release a record these days. After you spend all that time writing and recording songs, there are shows and tours followed by buckets of time needed to coordinate with blogs, radio, friends, random contacts, twitter, and facebook to let everyone know you've got a record coming out. It's a lot and is the reason that I've always thought (and feared) that the best bands rarely get to see the light of day in the avalanche of media.
Last week, Bar None released a record that did more than just the usual. Emperor X's new album, Western Teleport, is a full album release with 40 b-sides (called nodes) that are being released on the internet via a GPS scavenger hunt. I'm not sure if it's been discovered yet, but apparently a Western Teleport operative has hidden a node in Seattle and someone needs to find it to release it to the world. The full explanation is on the Western Teleport website, which you'll need to read for yourself because this concept is so intense that I'm not sure I actually understand all the components that make it so cool.
Emperor X is the project of a former physics professor who gave up his pursuit of science to spend the last 10 years touring the country on Greyhound (he is vision impaired and can't drive) playing all ages shows and punk houses. He's honed a spectacular talent for twisting his one-man pop songs into quirky, heart-wrenching and, ultimately, sweet odes sometimes about mass transportation or the future. Because he is an acoustic guitar and port-a-mic kinda guy, there's a definite early Mountain Goats as interpreted through an Elliot Smith vibe about the latest album. With a new album and 40 b-sides, this is definitely the time to learn more about this band.