With the future of live music in jeopardy, there’s no better time to support local musicians and no easier way than Bandcamp Friday. Since the pandemic hit in March, Bandcamp, the e-commerce website for musicians’ merch and music, has waived its revenue share on four sporadic Fridays. The initiative has helped put more than $20 million directly into the pockets of independent artists and labels impacted by COVID-19 and the lack of gigging and session work. “Bandcamp is actually a better experience for the listener because you can get high-quality downloads of the song,” says rocker Ray Flanagan. “Bandcamp has always given the artists more control, but Fridays are just an awesome thing that they’re doing to help us through COVID this year.” Today until midnight and then again on Dec. 4, 100% of the money (well, minus a small credit card processing fee) you spend on the platform will go to help your favorite Cleveland musician pay for rent, food and maybe even their next release. Luckily, supporting local art is easy when you have great new releases like these. Here’s how we’re spending our dough on Bandcamp Friday.
“The Arsenal,” Ray Flanagan
Released today, the Cleveland singer-songwriter is playing Paul Revere on this spooky, mechanical song warning us of the impending “Arsenal,” taking the low road and dragging us down with them. Recorded at Cleveland’s Jim Stewart Recording, the quick, catchy track is all-encompassing and an expansive departure from the spare Passerby.
Other Tracks To Buy: “Stupid Sound,” “Down Time”
“Send Angels,” Chrissy Strong
This track is the first of more to come from the production wing behind Best Of Cleveland selection Uptight Sugar, and the psychedelic studio wizards’ fingerprints are all over the wobbling slide guitars that serve as this ballad’s backdrop. But even amidst the orchestral Beatles-esque crescendo, Strong’s incredible vocal performance steals the show.
Other Tracks/Albums To Buy: This is Strong’s only song on Bandcamp right now, but you can snag Uptight Sugar’s “Life Line” and “Everybody’s Saying It (So It Must Be True).”
“Whatchu Want,” Matt Moody
Fittingly, there’s always an interesting doom-and-gloom meets fun-and-games vibe to a Moody song. “Whatchu Want” doubles down on that with the soaring “all by myself again” chorus, hooky guitar lines and bangin’, stuttering drum breaks. He says he’s earned himself a reputation on the track produced by Superior Sounds’ Jim Wirt. But after a few killer releases this year and a stellar set at Brite Winter (remember concerts?), the only reputation we know about is for being one of the city’s catchiest songwriters.
Other Tracks/Albums To Buy: “How Are You Today?,” “Just What You Needed”
If anyone is thriving in quarantine, it’s multi-instrumentalist Nathan-Paul, who has released 11 singles and EPs this year as well as the full-length Bootleg Music Vol. 3. If you’ve ever listened to Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Radio on YouTube or the Jazz Vibes playlist on Spotify, you’ll love getting lost in this saxophone player’s world. He calls his stuff “sound medicine,” saying “You eat vitamins and foods to feel healthy and to have a healthy mind. Music serves the same purpose, but sound is the healing force.” And that’s exactly how we’ve used his tunes throughout the pandemic.
Other Tracks/Albums To Buy: LoFi Deezy, “Next Time”
“Homecoming,” Floco Torres, Hannah Shaw
A sample of a hardcore punk song quickly gives way to a reflective duet over a synth-driven beat that perfectly reflects the kind of alt-rock/hip-hop mashup that Floco Torres is known for. After 23 projects, this Akron rapper and producer is finally getting the attention he deserves for his mindful, lyrical rhymes and mind-tingling beats.
Other Tracks/Albums To Buy: Free Black!, “Revolution Is the New Normal”