If You Make It has been one of the internet's primary sources for punk and other underground music since 2006. Created by musician/programmer, and overall good dude, Dave Garwacke, with the intention of documenting the creative exploits of his friends. If You Make It contains all sorts of media for you to explore. The website is probably best known for their live videos and Pink Couch Sessions, where artists play songs acoustically on, you guessed it, a pink couch. However, there are plenty of other goodies to discover on the site including free downloads of albums, short films, tour documentaries, comic strips, and more. Here's a list of assorted media to get your If Your Make It addiction started – and remember, if you dig what you find on the website, feel free to donate some money to help Dave keep the website running!
This song has it all – smooth bass playing, ridiculously good drumming, and simple, yet elegant lyrics like, “If you don't believe in ghosts, you won't see ghosts.” As shown by this video, their live performance doesn't sell their music short at all. There aren't many reference points for Kickball's sound, though one could loosely compare them to Cap'n Jazz if they had to. This video was taken during Kickball's most recent American tour, and anyone who got to see them play during that summer will tell you how excited they are for Kickball's return to touring and their new album (though there has been no news on either thing happening for awhile – we can only hope news will come soon).
Bridge and Tunnel
Some of the best Pink Couch Sessions feature heavier bands performing acoustically. “Call to the Comptroller's Office” is a fierce, all-out rock song on Bridge and Tunnel's album, East/West, but the band manages to pull off the impressive song in a totally different setting, while never faltering in the energy department. The band sings and plays with undeniable passion, ending the song by belting the suggestion, “We can build something greater than the tallest building in this city.” In this slightly disingenuous musical climate, bands playing honest and positive music should be paid extra attention. And like all Pink Couch session videos, you can also download an mp3 of this song so you can listen to it when you're not sitting in front of your computer.
The Future Kings of Nowhere
This album was released a couple years ago, but only recently has it been available for free download. The Future Kings of Nowhere has a foot in the tradition of Plan-It-X style folk punk (think Andrew Jackson Jihad and Ghost Mice), but are also a bit poppier. Songs like “Lather, Rinse, Repeat” features peppy shout-along choruses reminiscent of straight-up pop-punk, only acoustic. Also, the album is all over the map lyrically: “10 Simple Murders" details a killer's murdering spree with very specific details, while “I'm Still Waiting” is fueled by desires that most everybody has, namely leaving crappy jobs for something more meaningful and how infeasible that can sometimes seem. It's heavily recommended you donate some money for the album, as the band's songwriter Shayne Miel is currently fighting cancer – any donations raised by the album will go towards his hospital bills. So listen to some great music while knowing that any money you contribute goes directly to the man creating it – there's something quite comforting about that notion.
Yet another great feature of the Pink Couch sessions is that Dave Garwacke can have more control over the recordings, leading to cleaner, clearer-sounding songs. That's especially true on this recording, which perfectly captures Heathers' angelic voices. Heathers accumulated a lot of buzz while touring with Ghost Mice last summer, and this video shows what the big deal was all about. Though the knee-jerk reaction is to compare Heathers to Tegan and Sara (both are female duos prone to harmonizing), the former mines the folk tradition more than the latter. Simple but effective, Heathers' music is ingratiating and surprisingly mature for a band so young.
Hard Girls features ex-members of Shinobu (as featured on a previous installment of My Year in Lists) and have a somewhat similar sound at times, although this song differs in that it's an all-out good times anthem. An ode to beach parties, this music video plays more like a home movie than a traditional music video. Remember how cold it gets on the beach at night? Remember how much sand gets in your shoes when you walk along the shore? Remember how none of those annoyances matter when you're accompanied by close friends? Hard Girls does, and so does Dave Garwacke – without friends being creative and having fun, If You Make It would not exist today. Go make your own fun!