As the election proves to be as chaotic as expected, music is more important than ever as a means of speaking truth to power and forming community around mutual appreciation.
If anyone has a unique opportunity to support independent music, it’s Bandcamp. But the Bandcamp Friday concept has taken that support to a new level. Over the past several months, the platform has waived its revenue share on some Fridays to support artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nov. 6 marks the seventh Bandcamp Friday.
The streaming platform has opened a floodgate of independent music. Countless artists depend on it and today presents a unique opportunity to support them.
Max Heilman has compiled six Bandcamp Friday recommendations. Give them a listen, and consider supporting these artists. If you’ve slept on some recent releases, it’s time to check them out! If you’re holding out on a special edition vinyl pre-order, it’s time to open your wallet.
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst — Crippled Black Phoenix used a last-minute lineup switch as an excuse to make its most creatively diverse album to date. Justin Greaves and company come through with much of their customary heaviness and ambiance, along with some of their most accessible rock and roll vibes. Still, the real kicker here is the host of guest vocalists to support drummer-singer Belinda Kordic. Performances from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh and black metal legend Gaahl are only the tip of the iceberg. The band’s take on post-rock and sludge metal has never sounded this emotional, exciting, catchy and, well, good!
Liturgy, Origin of the Alimonies — A year after releasing her best record yet, Hunter Hunt Hendrix continues her journey through theology, philosophy and identity. It might be a good idea to brush up on Hendrix’s YouTube channel before approaching this avant-metal opera. Yes, it’s an opera, complete with character dialogues. The single “Lonely OIOION” reveals this album as a product of Hendrix’s continued efforts to orient herself in the universe, and her mission to reinvent everyone’s preconceptions of what black metal is—or what music in general is, for that matter.
SUNAMI, SUNAMI — For anyone who wishes modern tough-guy hardcore music had more to offer than suburban chest-beating, look no further than Sunami. This band brings beatdown hardcore back to its source—a no-frills excuse to smash your friends in the face. This self-titled release hits hard and fast, with catchiness to match is brazen anger. That is, if you think you can listen to lines like “just another punk ’bout to push his luck/ Just another clown ’bout to hit the ground” without crowd-killing your quarantine mates. With this kind of attitude, I’d almost think they’d want to claim responsibility for their music inciting street fights.
Soft Kill, Dead Kids, R.I.P. City — The band self-identifies as “doom pop,” but it’s easy to see why Soft Kill stood out so much during its time on the Profound Lore Records roster. Social Cercle Records seems to cater more naturally to the band’s cross-section of post-punk, darkwave, rock and even shoegaze. Dead Kids, R.I.P. City represents Soft Kill’s most ambitious statement. It has a noticeably bigger sound than previous outings, driving a narrative concept that stretches throughout the 10 tracks. With so many bands intent on running post-punk tropes into the ground, it’s nice to hear a band bringing more songwriting chops to the form.
Adrianne Lenker, songs — Undeterred by a tour cut short by COVID-19, Adrianne Lenker decided to isolate in a cabin in western Massachusetts. Such a straightforward name—songs—is appropriate for this collection of tunes. Lenker had the means and motivation, so she insisted her friend Philip Weinrobe help her with the recording and producing process. The resulting alt-folk jams embody the pristine, rustic acoustics of the cabin in which they were recorded. It’s yet another example of the pandemic bringing great art from the most unlikely of circumstances.
Secret Chiefs 3, HORRORTHON — If you like experimental music and haven’t listened to Secret Chiefs 3, repent of your sin immediately. If you have, then you have an idea of how many different directions this mix-tape goes in. A lot of bands like to claim they’re avant-garde, but few can claim to embody the true essence of the avant-garde. It’s like founder Trey Spruance didn’t think his work in Faith No More and Mr. Bungle went far enough and used Secret Chiefs 3 to make the jump into total madness. This concept gathers together various horror-inspired music the band has recorded over the years, and it’s simply too satisfying to put off ’til next Halloween.