Very few websites allow you to find great local music without needing to “go outside” or “socialize” quite like Bandcamp. Nowadays, the site is an unsigned band’s best opportunity for potential fans to both stream whatever the band has released, and also purchase albums or individual songs.
But you know all that, right? Bandcamp is ubiquitous, almost to the point of over-saturation: even some major label bands have Bandcamp pages associated to them, adding an extra market for their releases to thrive in and support lesser-known releases by comparison. Being ardent scavengers of the website, we figured we would let you in on a handful of recent Bandcamp releases that have caught our eye.
The Frightnrs – Nothing More To Say
Let’s start off with a great record we missed out on covering when it came out at the beginning of September: The Frightnrs’ debut album is a great collection of soulful rocksteady tracks that almost seemed inevitable given the strength of the band’s past EPs and singles. Released on the always fantastic Daptone Records, Nothing More To Say comes just a few months after the untimely passing of singer Dan Klein from A.L.S. Despite this tragedy, the album has received universal praise, attaining the #1 spot on Billboard’s Reggae charts, numerous articles heralding the band’s success, and attention from Bandcamp itself as one of the site’s “Albums of The Day” (Bandcamp even did an interview with Victor Axelrod, who produced the album.) In short, this is a real human record with a real human story behind it that is actually getting the recognition it deserves. If you only have time to check out one album this month, make it this one.
Bandcamp is a great source of one-off compilations, and you can probably find one created for any cause you can imagine. The site’s mechanics are near perfect for this, as the site allows albums with large amounts of tracks and a negotiable price. On the extreme end of the “large amount of tracks” side, this compilation supporting the Sarcoma Foundation of America boasts an insane 141 songs and features a wide range of bands including Big D, Poor Jeremy, Survay Says, and Math the Band (personal favorite moment in this comp’s sequencing is the Jeff Rosenstock b-side “I’m So Gross” followed by a track by Pennsylvania’s Spumoni called “A Message To Jeff Rosenstock”.) Though we will admit the price tag on this album is a bit steep, 100% of proceeds go to charity and a staggering amount of the tracks are solid.
Like the Sarcoma benefit comp above, the second compilation from SealbeardS gives us more than a hundred tracks of bands of varying genres from across the United States. SealbeardS was an Allston DIY jam space/venue responsible for a lot of great shows in 2011 and 2012 (not to mention those that were set up after the spot was shut down), and the compilations released to Bandcamp under it’s name feature bands that were a part of those shows, including Poor Jeremy and The Takeaways. Plus, this one is available as a pay-what-you-want download, so you would be doing a disservice to yourself by not at least perusing what this comp has to offer.
Almost immediately after it premiered on Netflix back in July, the show Stranger Things became a cultural sensation, which was not necessarily surprising due to how much it pandered to my interests with a calculated intensity. A big part of what makes the 80’s homage work so well is it’s atmosphere-setting synth score, which somehow manages to be both eerie and comforting at the same time. Los Angeles recording engineers Black Market and Chudan have collaborated on dub versions of many of the soundtrack’s songs, which were recently put together into a split EP fittingly titled The Upside Down. Black Market’s dub tracks occupy the second half of the EP, with Chudan’s vaporwave (it is real!) renditions on the front end. Black Market seems to be on a streak this year with interesting releases, as in the past month he has put out EPs dubbing songs by The Beach Boys, The Clash, and David Bowie.
Finally, local favorites The Pomps recently released a live album as a pay-what-you-want download on their Bandcamp page. The album is presumably the entirety of a close to forty-minute set performed last month at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, and includes tracks from across the band’s discography. If you’ve heard past material from these guys (including their last EP, read our review of it right over here), you’ll definitely find something to like here.