Bandcamp Friday: December 2022

On the last Bandcamp Friday of 2022 — hopefully not the last ever! — in addition to sharing the usual list of releases I’m excited about, I wanted to celebrate one song in particular that’s been in heavy rotation lately: “aftermath” by Landon Elliott. I had the pleasure of interviewing Elliott about the song, which was written as Elliott was forecasting the impacts of coming out, and I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the resulting Style Weekly Q&A. This exchange in particular has stuck with me:

How has your relationship with “aftermath” changed?

This song is so special for me because it has been almost the through-line of a very tumultuous and difficult season of self-discovery… It’s meant different things at different times, but it’s always been this song about being brave — about knowing that the outcome is worth the hard work. That the outcome is worth facing your fears. That the outcome is worth doing the difficult stuff… Even now when I play it, it still gives me encouragement on the other side of all that I’ve gone through. It still encourages me to step forward.

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you’re stepping forward. Listen to the “aftermath” below for a boost of courage, and keep an eye out for new music from Elliott. If this song is any indication, we’re in for some powerful, soul-enriching stuff.

As always, here are a few other things I have my eyes/ears on today:

McKinley Dixon — “Sun, I Rise (feat. Ang​é​lica Garcia)
Fievel Is Glauque — Flaming Swords
Daniel Bachman — Almanac Behind 
Joan Shelley — Live at the Chapel of St. Phillip Neri
Ohbliv — Anima Mundi
Phil Cook — From The Kitchen (SO EXCITED FOR THIS&#$*FHR#&HFDWI$)

Bandcamp Friday: November 2022

Another glorious Bandcamp Friday, another opportunity to support artists via a platform that’s doing good by temporarily waiving its cut of sales.

It’s also an opportunity to catch you good people up on some of the folks I’ve had the opportunity of interviewing recently.

Dazy — OUTOFBODY

I typically pick a song to feature in these posts, but I’m embedding this whole dang album, because Dazy’s brilliance comes into sharpest focus in aggregate. Dazy is the stage name of James Goodson, a Richmond-based power pop songsmith who started reclassifying his meticulously crafted home demos as final products after the pandemic’s onset. His writing is exceptionally tight and unfailingly catchy, and I consider myself wildly lucky to have gotten to chat with him about his full-length debut, OUTOFBODY, just a short time before this glowing Pitchfork review ran. Whether you start with my Style Weekly interview or that review, I bet you’ll rush to give the album a spin — its a rush all its own.

Spooky Cool — “Net Ignored”

Another reason I count myself wildly lucky: I got to chat over the phone with Zac Hryciak, lead singer and songwriter for Richmond-based rock act Spooky Cool. I was blown away by their new album, Existential Pie, and a big part of that was the masterful opening track, “Net Ignored,” which is a fascinating document of Hryciak’s movement away from overtly challenging listeners and toward a more engaging, pop-facing, Ableton-enabled approach. It was such a pleasure getting to know Hryciak for this Style Weekly piece, and while the full album isn’t on Bandcamp yet, “Net Ignored” is, and it’s well worth a Bandcamp Friday buck.

Other items I have my eye on today:

Nathan Salsburg — Landwerk No. 3 
Tom Skinner — Voices of Bishara
The Mountain Goats — The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volume 5
GEORGE — Letters To George
Yonatan Gat — American Quartet (featuring Richmond’s own Curt Sydnor!)
Landon Elliott — “aftermath”

Bandcamp Friday: October 2022

Happy Bandcamp Friday, y’all! And happy Richmond Folk Festival weekend to those who celebrate! I truly believe it’s what Richmond does best, and I had the great pleasure of speaking with some of the many talented folks who are performing here over the next few days. Some of them have music on Bandcamp and some don’t, but I wanted to share links to those articles here, in case it motivates you fellow Richmonders to head downtown and fly your folk flag high.

“It’s so easy to start dancing”
Forró accordionist Felipe Hostins looks back at his journey to the Richmond Folk Festival.

A Good Steward
Jesse Daniel aims to give the Richmond Folk Festival a taste of the Bakersfield sound.

Innovation Across Generations
Moorish griot royalty stops by the RFF in the form of Noura Mint Seymali.

Q&A: Cedric Burnside
The Mississippi hill country blues guitarist builds on a family legacy

I thought I’d share a couple of other recent non-bloggy pieces of writing, along with some corresponding Bandcamp listening…

That One Song: “Cave Dweller” by Hotspit

That One Song: “She” by Drook

…and lastly, a bonus recommendation for an album that’s shaping up to be a 2022 fav, the latest release from Bandcamp Friday mainstay label WarHen Records, Virginia Slim Comes Riding In by Rob Dobson. Cassette pre-orders went live today, and you can bet I put my order in first thing this AM.

Happy Bandcamping, friends. And if you’re heading down to the folk fest on Saturday, be sure to say hi.

Bandcamp Friday: September 2022

Like we never left, y’all.

There’s a bunch of non-bloggy writing I’m working on at the moment, so I didn’t get to write up a ton, but I did want to spotlight some music that’s near and dear, in addition to sharing a longer list of stuff I have my eye on today.

Lean Year — Sides

Happy release day to one of the most moving albums you’ll hear all year. I had an opportunity to speak with the folks from Lean Year for Style Weekly, and I walked away with so much respect for their poise, their artistry, and the way their music looks unflinchingly at the big, deep, difficult stuff in life, particularly pain and loss. Here’s a passage of that conversation that has stuck with me:

“There’s so much content that is so complete and compact and digestible and it isn’t messy,” Alverson says. “There’s a trend toward that clarity. Everything is ‘What’s the story? What’s the narrative?’ It needs to be able to be bought and sold and compact and moved, and it’s really unlike living. That’s a shame.”

“We’re both atheists,” Rex says, “and we talk a lot about the power of music bridging that space between the body and the mind, and taking you outside of your head, and tapping into this very secular spiritual space. I do feel like it is the perfect state to process those liminal emotions, where you’re seeing someone make that transition from living in the world that we live in, to not, and not knowing where they’re going.”

Click here to read the rest of the article, and I highly recommend setting aside time — on a long walk, or in the car on a quiet drive — to get to know Sides. You’ll be glad it’s part of your life.

Piranha Rama — “Placate

Piranha Rama’s new album , Omniscient Cloud Cover, is out in late September, and while the preorder isn’t up yet — vinyl coming via Brokers Tip Records, the label run by Bob Nastanovich of Pavement! — the first single, “Placate” is indeed Bandcampable. Omniscient Cloud Cover is dynamite from start to finish — half psych-pop escape, half determined walk through difficult times. Two of the band’s founders, John Sizemore and Chrissie Lozano, were kind enough to chat about how the album came together — one step at a time — and you can read all about it in my Style Weekly piece, which went live this week.

Other fun stuff I have my eye on, updated throughout the day:

ScottClark4tet — A & B
Dori Freeman — Songbook Vol. 1
DJ Mentos — The Maxell Tapes Volume 3
Dogwood Tales — S/T
Horse Lords — Comradely Objects
Ohbliv — Raw Power Vibrations Extended Play
Mali Obomsawin — Sweet Tooth 

Bandcamp Friday: Juneteenth 2022

Bandcamp is holding its third annual Juneteenth fundraiser, whereby the platform is pledging its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. I’ve included my own wishlist below, but I want to take a moment to highlight an artist I spoke to recently for Style Weekly. If you’re a regular YHT reader, this won’t be the first time you’ve seen Shormey’s name. (I wrote about her 2020 release entitled God Bless Bob Ross: A Collection Of Low Fidelity Recordings almost exactly two years ago.) The Chesapeake-based bedroom pop auteur will be performing with her band tonight in Richmond at Friday Cheers as the opener for Snarky Puppy alum Cory Henry — might I suggest downloading her most recent release, thegarbanzobeanmixtape_v3, as a soundtrack for your drive/walk/ride down to Brown’s Island? You might also consider checking out my Style Weekly interview with her? Whatever your plans for this evening are, it’s a great day to snag some new music on Bandcamp.

An overly ambitious list of other items I have my eye on:

Oren Ambarchi / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin — Ghosted (Narrowly missed out on a copy that a store here in Richmond had. Bummer.)
Charles Stepney — Step on Step
Ernie Francestine — Character of Light
Whitney — SPARK
Time Wharp — Spiro World (I’ve only listened a little, but what I’ve heard is incredible.)
The A’s — Fruit (Alexandra Sauser-Monnig! Amelia Meath! 2/3s of Mountain Man! Hell yeah!)
Skyway Man & Andy Jenkins — Nothing No. 1 (Another one where two favs are joining forces, coincidentally with the help of the Molly Sarlé, the 1/3 of Mountain Man who is not part of The A’s.)
Daniel Villarreal — Panamá 77 (Had this on my list for ages. It’s so good.)
Bartees Strange — Farm to Table (Happy release day!)
Cameron Ralston — Isfahan, Two Ways (Listened in the car while waiting for storms to pass before the Bright Eyes show on Brown’s Island. Made the wait 100% better.)
Revelators Sound System — Revelators (More to come on this one…)
NO BS! Brass — “That’s a Wrap

Bandcamp Friday: May 2022

I normally write up a handful of releases for Bandcamp Friday, and I’ve listed a bunch of stuff I’m excited about below, but this time around, I want to shine an especially bright light on a single song: “Ellington Bridge,” the first single from the upcoming eponymous album by Richmond-based rock group Timothy Bailey & The Humans.

On Tuesday, a Style Weekly article went live that I’d been working on for more than five months — a deep-dive into the journey that led to the creation of Timothy Bailey & The Humans, and into the creative community that has rallied around Bailey. (The album was recorded at Spacebomb Studios with his band, a killer lineup of session players performing Bailey’s own arrangements, and production help from Creative Capital grantee Bob Massey and Chad Clark of Beauty Pill.) I feel fortunate to have had a window into such a remarkable creative achievement — music that’s as bold and beautiful as any I’ve heard, and that communicates a type of hope that will both break your heart and mend it back together stronger than it was before.

Bob Massey may have said it best:

“The culture values prodigies but discounts late-bloomers,” he says. “But I think the late-bloomer often has a lot more to offer than the prodigy. In this case, it’s an entire lifetime of experience, wisdom, skills and musicality, and it’s music for grown-ups. It’s music for people who have suffered and who have loved and who have come through the other side, or maybe are still not there yet.”

Click here to read the rest of the article, and listen to “Ellington Bridge” below. If you’re looking for a song to lift you up and fill your Bandcamp Friday with defiant joy, you’ve found it.

More fun stuff I have my eye on:

The Modern Folk — Modern Folk One
Leon III — This Whisper Is Ours b​/​w Paper Eye (DUB REMIXES)
NO BS! Brass Band — “Undying
ragenap — “shenandoah
Sharon Van Etten — We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong
Sam Gendel — SUPERSTORE
dhemo — Spinning in Place
Stray Fossa — Closer Than We’ll Ever Know
Kikagaku Moyo — Kumoyo Island
Deau Eyes — Legacies

Bandcamp Friday: April 2022

This Bandcamp Friday is shaping up to be a great one, y’all. No foolin’. Here are a few things I have my eye on:

No BS! Brass Band — “Applause!

I’m one Bandcamp Friday late with this one, but there’s no bad time for new No BS! Brass Band. There’s no bad No BS! Brass Band, for that matter, so it’s no surprise I’m loving “Applause!”

L’Rain — Fatigue

I’m even later to this party, but I saw L’Rain open for Animal Collective at the National in early March and made sure to pick up a copy of Fatigue on the way out. It hasn’t been far from my turntable since.

Elkhorn — Lionfish

The reissue gods have blessed us on this day. Finally getting to spin this on vinyl is a wish fulfilled. Thank you, Eiderdown Records.

Opin — Hospital Street

Speaking of reissues, Hospital Street was a highlight of the April 2021 Bandcamp Friday. WarHen Records swooping in and releasing it on cassette to kick off their WarHen/Ten anniversary celebration is more wish fulfillment. As I said to the digital version almost exactly a year ago, “Yes plz.”

syndays by ao — “drip drop

Speaking of non-bloggy writing, I’ll have more to say about this soon, but Adrian Olsen’s syndays by ao series is some of my favorite music to come out of Richmond this year. A new synth exploration drops every Sunday, and I highly recommend getting in the routine of downloading them. He’s 13 weeks in, but Week 9’s track is a personal favorite.

More fun stuff:

81355 + Spacebomb House Band — “Flip a Light On
Charles Stepney — “Step on Step
Rob Clearfield & Quin Kirchner — Concentric Orbits
John Calvin Abney — “Full Moon Friend

Bandcamp Friday: March 2022

Vibes are off a bit this Bandcamp Friday, eh? Yeesh. Only time will tell how damaging or beneficial Epic Games’ acquisition of Bandcamp will turn out to be. I’d like to hold out hope for a glass-half-full version of this where Bandcamp picks up some great new capabilities while continuing to be this haven for community and consciousness around the idea — the fact — that artists deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. It’s hard not to be pessimistic, though.

All the same, it’s Bandcamp Friday. They haven’t taken that from us yet, and there are a quite a few things I’ve had my eye on of late. More vinyl than in past months, for whatever reason. Whether you’re picking up records or .mp3s, I hope you find something fun to listen to below while they’re still throwing this fee-free shindig.

Asher Gamedze — out side work | two duets

I absolutely loved South African drummer Asher Gamedze’s 2020 album Dialectic Soul. 10/10. Would recommend in the strongest terms. No hesitation whatsoever picking up a copy of this new set of improvised duets. (Well, I hesitated in the sense that I’ve waited until Bandcamp Friday to put my order in, but you get the idea.)

Justin Golden — Hard Times and a Woman

I’ll have a bunch more to say about this one soon — Incoming Article Alert™ — but for now I’ll just say that Richmond-based blues artist Justin Golden released the second single from Hard Times and a Woman this week. It’s called “Can’t Get Right,” and it’s been stuck in my head ever since he performed it at the 2021 Richmond Folk Festival. Calling it now that this album will be one of my favorites from 2022, and not just in the realm of Richmond music.

Dead Billionaires — Dead Billionaires EP

Speaking of incoming articles, I had a great chat with Warren Campbell of Dead Billionaires not long ago about his upcoming unofficial SXSW tour and a recording project that’s just over the horizon. Really excited to hear more from them, as the three-song self-titled EP they released in 2021 is excellent. Great day to download it.

John Calvin Abney — “Holy Golden West

Tulsa-based singer-songwriter and kickass multi-instrumentalist John Calvin Abney has a new album due out later this year entitled Tourist, and the first single dropped in February. Count me in for the single, the album… all of the above. Abney’s on tour with John Moreland at the moment. That’s how I first encountered his music — Abney was accompanying Moreland at a show here in Richmond at the Camel, and I took a chance on a copy of Abney’s Far Cries and Close Calls without having heard a single note. I’m so glad I did, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of Tourist.

Sarah White & the Pearls — Married Life b​/​w I​.​L​.​Y.

Speaking of recent articles, when I spoke with Warren Parker, who runs WarHen Records, he included Sarah White’s Married Life b​/​w I​.​L​.​Y. 7-inch among a list of the most pivotal releases from the label’s first 10 years. (Only natural, since it was WarHen’s first official release.) As part of the “WARHEN/TEN” anniversary celebration, Parker managed to dig up 10 copies of the single. You can bet I’ll be ready when those go on sale at 10 a.m.

Other items I have my eye on today:

Tennishu — “It’s Too Late
Hotspit — “Wane Mouth
Bartees Strange — “Heavy Heart
The Dead Tongues — Dust
Daniel Bachman — Sycamore City & Other True Stories
Tyler Meacham — Into the Fray

Bandcamp Friday: February 2022

No matter how many times I warmly eulogize it, Bandcamp Friday keeps coming back, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Long live fee-free Fridays. Long live Bandcamp.

Coincidentally, I’ve had a few articles published within the last week or so that I’m excited about, and I thought I’d share recommendations related to those. I hope you find some fun potential purchases for your Bandcamp Friday, and maybe some fun reading as well.

Adam Hurt — Earth Tones

I wrote a piece for Style Weekly about Renan Banjos, which are made in Varina, Virginia by self-taught builder J. Tyler Burke. I even had the opportunity to stop by Burke’s garage and see the operation for myself, which was such a joy. Not only was Burke generous with his time and conversation, he also sent me on my way with a number of top-notch listening recommendations, including this album of tunes played on the gourd banjo by fellow Virginian Adam Hurt. Now it’s my turn to recommend it — particularly if you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for a trip back to Richmond from Varina along the James. That’s a drive I won’t soon forget. (Another killer album he’s recommended since: the beautifully atmospheric self-titled album of banjo, guitar, and bass from West Virginia-based duo Wizard Clipp.)

Butcher Brown — AfroKuti: A Tribute to Fela

WarHen Records is turning 10 this year, and I got to chat with the great and good Warren Parker about his journey leading the Charlottesville-based label over the course of the last decade. Read the resulting Style Weekly article here — at the end you’ll find a playlist of some of the albums that Parker says were especially pivotal along the way, with a few words from him about the personal significance of each. Here’s what he had to say about Butcher Brown’s brilliant Fela Kuti tribute, AfroKuti:

That one is a high-water mark. I think any label would feel that way. That record to me is the ultimate vibe. It’s so masterfully done, it’s super-tasteful, it sounds great, it’s funky as hell. That record is phenomenal. I don’t want to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway: It might be my favorite that I’ve put out, ever. It brings me a ton of joy. All of them do – everything I’ve done holds a special place – but that one is undeniable.

Side note: Everything on WarHen’s page is 15% off today!

Fruit Bats — Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits and Lost Songs (2001–2021)

I loved getting to chat with Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats for this Style Weekly article previewing his new 20-year retrospective compilation and the two shows he has coming up in Richmond this year. The comp is great for new fans and old heads alike, with one disc of songs that have caught on over the years, and a second disc of rarities — some that have quickly become top-tier Fruit Bats songs in my book. “WACS,” from the sessions for his 2011 album Tripper, is one of them. (To the Dinosaur Jr. fans out there: J Mascis appears on it!)

Hotspit — CC

I had the great pleasure of FaceTiming with Hotspit for this RVA Magazine Q&A, and I’m more in awe than ever at the powerful sense of poise in their music. I’ve mentioned their 2021 EP entitled CC in a previous Bandcamp Friday post, but since their next single won’t arrive until March, I’m asking you once again, Bernie Sanders-style, to listen to these four excellent songs, especially the slow-building final track, which singer Avery Fogarty mentioned is a go-to tone-setter when they play live.

Bonus: Curt Sydnor — Heaven Is Begun

So my Style Weekly story on Curt Sydnor ran in July of 2021, so not as recently as these others, but I can’t resist shouting from the mountaintops about his new album, which just went up for preorder. These songs carved out permanent real estate in my brain while I was working on the article, as Curt was kind enough to share a preview of the album in conjunction with our interview. The album is full of indelible moments — the tense titular lyrics of “Not Even Past,” the impossibly graceful opening of “Covered in Clover” — and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to soaking these moments in while a copy spins on my turntable at home.

More fun stuff I have my eye on today:

dhemo — “Motion
Afro-Zen Allstars — The Buzz and the Bells
Ryley Walker — Charlottesville 01​/​23​/​22
syndays by ao — “bouncer” (These weekly modular synth tracks from Adrian Olsen are easily my favorite running musical subplot of 2022.)
Daniel Bachman — Lonesome Weary Blues
Deau Eyes — “Moscow in the Spring

Buy from Bandcamp today… again!

I know, I know, I’ve said it before: “This could be the last Bandcamp Friday,” and “Let’s buy mp3s like it’s 1999,” which doesn’t even make sense, because nobody was buying mp3s in 1999. (The iTunes store didn’t launch until 2003. Wild, right?)

ANYWAY, given the very real possibility this is the last of these, I do think it’s a good moment to look back at what Bandcamp Friday has meant. This is my 19th post on a fee-free Friday, and I can honestly say these events have changed my listening significantly. I fell back in love with having music files on my computer, and with curating a digital library. I started sharing mix CDs with people again — whether or not they could play them. (Sorry not sorry.) I bought a whole bunch of great songs and albums that I’ll listen to for the rest of my life. I’m pretty sure I have enough Ohbliv and DJ Harrison tracks to soundtrack a trip to the moon, which sounds like a pretty awesome time, now that I’ve typed it out. And while these events haven’t necessarily revolutionized the landscape of how we pay for and consume music, I do think there’s meaning and progress in the way we’ve been able to regularly rally around the idea of supporting artists directly. Whatever 2022 has in store, I’m going to keep seeing the Bandcamp Friday glass as half full.

Enough retrospection. You can live in this very moment by checking out and supporting the artists below — I certainly plan to.

Opin — Hospital Street II
I’m pretty sure “Another batch of improvised live jams recorded at our practice space 2020-2021” is my love language.

Poison Joy — Life On The Shelf Takes On New Meaning
I really dug Poison Joy’s Fortune Passes Everywhere tape. Looking forward to getting similarly ensconced in these 17 tunes.

Kate Bollinger — “Yards / Gardens
So excited Kate is the mystery guest for the December 11 Benét/Matthew E. White show at the Broadberry!

ragenap — “piper (intro)
ragenap has been a true Bandcamp Friday MVP. So many drone-y, drawn out gems. Check them out if you haven’t already.

DJ HARRISON — Tales from the Old Dominion
I included this in last month’s post, but today’s release day, so it bears repeating. So excited for this. Be sure to check out his HearRVA Liner Notes episode, if you haven’t already.

PJ Sykes — “Fuzz Off!
Guitars! Guitars and more guitars!

A New Dawn Fades — I See The Nightbirds Deluxe Reissue
More instrumental Cherub Records awesomeness. The reissue includes unreleased recordings from the Nightbirds sessions and live tracks from the group’s final show in 2008.

Tyler Meacham & Margox — “Winter Song
A Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson cover, with proceeds benefiting CancerLINC.

roadkillroy — “This Time Next Year
So I know it’s tacky to plug your own band in your music blog, but it’s for another good cause! Last year we donated proceeds to Mutual Aid Distro Richmond, and that’s the plan this year as well.