Today, Bandcamp is waiving the fees it charges musicians and labels to use its service. Given that the music industry is in shambles in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused the closure of venues and the cancellations and postponements of tours, the company wanted to do its part.
The fees are nothing to sneeze at: 15% for each digital and 10% for each physical sale. So, if you have a job still and some money lying around, today’s the day to buy from Bandcamp. Below are my recommendations of new and old albums you should get before midnight tonight Pacific time. (Note: I’ve probably forgotten dozens of releases I’ve wanted to recommend, so I apologize if I left anyone out.)
Antoni Maiovvi – Before & After The Bomb
Giallo Disco Records co-founder Antoni Maiovvi has for more than a decade created absolutely killer horror-inspired soundtracks for both real and imagined films. Today, Lakeshore Records releases Before & After the Bomb, which is somewhere between both: It’s a real score for an abandoned film project. Press materials describe it as a “love letter dedicated to 25 years of fascination with all things horror.” You can buy it here and then buy more of Maiovvi’s catalog.
Burning Witches Records
Just go ahead and buy anything and everything on this label, and I’m not just saying that because they released a Vehlinggo Presents curated album by Rory Mohon. The latest album is Hunter Complex’s tour de force, Dead Calm and Zero Degrees (heard below), and you should definitely buy it. But they also have tons of film scores, such as Satanic Panic, and original albums from the likes of Deadly Avenger, Mr. Eff, Graham Reznick, DIE HEXEN, Dallas Campbell, Repeated Viewing and Timothy Fife, Oh Baby, Daniel Davies, and so many more.
Drum & Lace – “Immerse (Live at Air-Edel Studio 1)”
Sofia Hultquist’s Drum & Lace project is one of my favorites out there right now: She seamlessly moves between film and TV score work and more experimental (and audacious) releases. The live version of “Immerse” is a comforting and quite gentle blend of sound design and celestial drone musicality. Here’s what Hultquist said about it on her Bandcamp page: “Releasing this for anyone who feels the need to take a few minutes off to melt away from the world rn. I hope you’ll listen and it’ll help you think, meditate, cry and feel anything but anxiety and fear.”
Holodeck is another label from which you should buy many releases. The cancellation of SXSW has hit it and its artists hard. The Austin, Texas-based organization is home to everyone from S U R V I V E, Majeure, and Lou Rebecca to Missions, BOAN, Single Lash, Future Museums, Michael C. Sharp, Jake Schrock, Sungod, and so many more. The latest release is “Bad Behavior,” a darkly delectable blast of EBM from LLORA.
Nation of Language – Introduction, Presence
Nation of Language is one of my favorite new wave/synth-pop revival acts. I’ve written about them a few times and have played their work on the podcast. They have a way of tapping exactly into the 1980s without ever sounding cheesy, while also infusing their compositions with a fierce modernity that makes them relatable. After many years of great singles, they’re finally releasing an album next month. Pre-order the vinyl and digital now. Below is one of the singles off the release.
Mecha Maiko – Let’s
I’ve already written about this record, but I don’t feel like it’s gotten enough traction. It’s also never a bad time to support one of my favorite artists, Toronto-based Mecha Maiko. She’s had to cancel a tour she had planned of the U.S. Her blend of late 1990s acid house, synth-pop, and synthwave, paired with poignant, socially concscious lyrics, is an infusion we need right now.
(PS: While we’re at it, support Mecha Maiko’s fellow Torontonian synth maestros Dana Jean Phoenix, Parallels, and Radio Wolf. They all show up in some fashion on the Vehlinggo Presents: 5 Years comp, too.)
FM Skyline – Liteware
The new record doesn’t come out until May 1 on 100% Electronica, but you can pre-order this gem today to take advantage of Bandcamp’s commission waiver.
Vectorwolf – Sleep Kills
Seminal synthwave label Rosso Corsa Records has always represented the dark and the light, given that its founders are Lazerhawk (dark) and Miami Nights 1984 (light). Vectorwolf’s latest invokes the spirit of Lazerhawk with a menacing 5-song, dark synthwave EP that will no doubt form the basis for a future synth score to a Shudder exclusive. I’m excited about this release.
Andy Fosberry – Death Ship 2047
Spun Out of Control is another label with so many great releases, including Bryce Miller’s Monochrome Daydream. The latest is a cinematic and synthy sci-fi release entitled Death Ship 2047, which was inspired by Paul WS Anderson’s horror film Event Horizon. It’s a haunting foray into the great unknown.
I Fall in Love With the Light: A Sacred Bones Compilation
Sacred Bones, one of the best labels out there, put together a special compilation to help support its artists who were forced to cancel tours because of the COVID-19 outbreak. A full 100% of the proceeds go directly to the artists. Featuring rare and unreleased cuts from Blanck Mass, Uniform, Jenny Hval, Moon Duo, and more.
So there you have it. I’ve forgotten many artists, no doubt, but regardless please do your duty and spend some time haunting Bandcamp today. The artists need it.