In the world of downloadable and instantly shareable music, smaller localized record labels have found themselves taking on the all-important grass-roots task of collecting, curating, and helping to elevate the artists they take under their imprint. Here in the greater Providence area, local label 75orLess has been slowly evolving into a trusted collector, distributor, and supporter of regional bands. Since starting out as a music and popular culture website in 2001, 75orLess has been focused on bringing independent artists to a larger audience.
“The label began in 2006,” says Mark MacDougall of 75orLess. “We have our 300th release coming out this year and our goal has always been to document or archive as much of the local music community as we can. In the end, we are only touching a very small amount of the music being created in the Providence area.” Along with other local labels, such as Atomic Action in Middletown or Tor Johnson Records out of Providence, 75orLess operates as a service to local artists in many different capacities, all stemming from the base need to share their music.
“Every band that contacts 75orLess needs something different,” Mark says. “Some need help getting CDs made, some need help with digital distribution, some need help finding a studio to record in, some need help booking gigs. Some need to borrow gear for a bit. So my role changes with each release. 75orLess concentrates on bands who have recordings to share. That’s really where it all starts. Sometimes I see a band live and want to work with them. Other times, a band has finished their album and contacts me about collaborating with them on releasing it.”
75orLess also works to put on curated, monthly shows at the club Askew in Providence, which brings together artists from across this label-spectrum that wouldn’t necessarily play together. While some bands might find themselves playing with a similar cast of characters, 75orLess actively works to bring artists they see as fitting together.
With their upcoming 300th release on the horizon, 75orLess has had a hand in the foundation of many artists in the Providence music scene and brought albums into the light the best they could. Even when music can simply be put online to be heard by anyone in any place, it still means something when people are working with the sole purpose of bringing art to a place where it is championed and treated as a meaningful work.
“Every release by Mark Cutler is a best seller compared to most other label releases,” says Mark, “Some [other] recent releases that I think are especially good are Plug’s Block Out the Sun, New Bedford’s Sick Pills' Nothing’s Funny Anymore, and The Same Thing Project’s Walks of Life Collaborations.”
Bands that would like to work with 75orLess can email links of their music to 75orLess@gmail.com. “I can’t promise anything,” Mark says, “but there are plenty of bands on the label who submitted their music this way and we have worked something out.”