For many artists, Kickstarter is used to gauge potential interest in a project before taking those first tentative steps toward realizing it. For Pittsburgh-based five-piece Pet Clinic, the crowdfunding platform was the means to an end that had been already decided: Record a full-length album on the band’s own terms.
May 27 marks the release of No Face, the band’s first full-length release, a follow-up to its well-received 2012 debut EP The Dust That Made the Fire That Made the Light. The home-recorded album fulfills promises made way back in the band’s 2014 Kickstarter fundraiser; that project tasked backers to raise $5,000 to help pay for recording costs, pressing the album to vinyl, and merchandising.
“It came down to the point where we decided we could do it on our own in our house with gear that we would build,” says frontman David Bubenheim. “Our bass player, Ian Edwards, is a [gear] mastermind.” Bubenheim’s older brother, Aaron, had done something similar in his band, Meeting of Important People. “They had launched a Kickstarter campaign to [make] a record on their own in their house. I
kind of got inspired by that.”
Backed by just less than 100 friends, the band does not take the generosity for granted. “It was a total blessing,” Bubenheim says.
No Face features 10 songs that hearken to the hooky, heady days of ’90s alternative-rock radio, channeling bands like Silverchair and Incesticide-era Nirvana. In executing the release, the band employed lessons learned from years of playing out and the release of The Dust.
“It’s one thing to record a record and then put it onto a format and then throw a party and have a really good time. That’s sort of the lifespan of it. With this, we had a lot more foresight to book a tour in support of the release and to just try to get it into as many hands as we could,” Bubenheim says. “I think it was just kind of a maturation process to say, ‘OK, let’s do this for real. Let’s not just have a party and call it a night.’”