Recently I stumbled upon a way that takes pre-ordering the next album from your favorite band to a whole new level. There are at least two websites (more may be out there) that allow a band to set up a pledge system for recording their next album - kickstarter.com and pledgemusic.com. The way these work is that the band - poor and humble - need help to be able to record, press and ship their forthcoming album. They establish the amount of money they need and set up different pledge levels for you, the listener. These pledge levels go from the normal - signed albums, album packages and demos - to the more unique - handwritten lyrics, VIP passes, credits - to the extreme - hand knit clothing, dinner with (or cooked by) the band members, house shows and recording visits. The pledge levels can range from 10 bucks up to over a thousand - allowing for every level of intensity of love and devotion. Sometimes these sites involve a pledge from the band to a charity as well. Either way, sites like these give the opportunity for small bands to afford their work in a grassroots style where recording might not have otherwise been possible. Additionally, they can connect directly with their fans in a way that is unique and rewarding for both parties. Some bands that I have recently had the pleasure of supporting are Gospel Claws and David Wax Museum and I look forward giving more bands my pledge in the future. Also, while you are hopefully checking out these sites - kickstarter is a website for all types of artistic expression and creation - art, comics photography and even breweries - and they allow you to set a location that enables you to support those in your local area. So give and sleep easy knowing you have a part in making others realities.