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Bomb Garden 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & Karli's Space & r & & r & Touring is a tough thing. Always was, always will be. It's fraught with peril, and only getting more complicated. Back in the day, Problem Number One was a nasty breakdown outside Duluth or running out of money in Texarkana. Those problems will always exist. But now it's 2008, for God's sake -- Year Four of the social-networking epoch, and Decade Two in the age of branding virtually everything.

People expect new experiences and daily updates. Especially for a band on the road, it's a hell of a lot to think about. You can't just sail off in search of new worlds to conquer. You gotta keep feeding the need of your people back on the mainland. It can be a pain in the ass. But it can also be an opportunity.

As saturated with crap as it is, MySpace is a good solution to that dual problem. It's a good node for fans, new and old. Most artists don't do a ton with their MySpace page. They customize it a little. They put up some songs (usually not downloadable). They provide links to CD Baby and maybe iTunes. They blog occasionally.

In preparation for a tour that's now almost over, Karli Fairbanks turned her MySpace page into a veritable circus tent. Or (more appropriately, perhaps), a sand box. Not only did she give her fans a lot of different things to do and read and listen to, but she's also playing around with how she markets herself. There's a tour blog, updated every other day. There are the video journals, little snippets of life on the road that wend their way between candid car rides listening to Feist and her own live performances. There are the songs for download. Something from her new EP, something from her old EP -- nothing from her current album, though. (You gotta buy that one.) She provides links to iTunes, CD Baby, Facebook, iLike, Reverbnation, everything a citizen of the global community needs to play around in cyberspace.

The page is nothing short of inspiring and, along with Sing Songs -- a nice little tour-only EP she shares with brother Zac and tour-mate Breanna Paletta -- it's the kind of thing that could pay serious dividends down the road.
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