Sitting in their home studio on Ashe Avenue about a year ago, the three pieces of Ticonderoga --Mark Paulson, Phil Moore and Wes Phillips, best friends since grade school back in Iowa City--pronounced that they didn't need a label. For the moment, they were content, or even eager,to spend their time writing, recording and releasing a flood of new material pro bono in self-replicated, limited runs. On Saturday, they will release their debut in UPC-bearing, shrink-wrapped jewel cases through Michigan's tiny, highly selective upstart 54˚40' or Fight! And it's not that Ticonderoga has gone back on its word. Instead, the label, sporting the same organic, day-by-day business strategy that the band too prized, pursued them after becoming enamored with online demos. That's how exciting Ticonderoga--folk-influenced songsters with avant jazz leanings and subtly psychedelic meanderings--is. For their CD release party this Friday at Kings, Chapel Hill's explosive two-piece Bellafea opens, followed by Yep Roc's The Comas and their recent tour mates, Brooklyn's Vietnam.
During the last two decades, the piano man has released efforts with William Shatner, Fraggle Rock, a cappella groups, Amanda Palmer, Nick Hornby, a symphony, Weird Al and two other songwriters named Ben.