Here we are. The last Bandcamp Friday of the year. Maybe the last one ever. (Has anyone heard if they’re doing more next year?) It’s been a trip, y’all. If you’ve been following along with these posts, I hope you’ve found some fun new tunes here and there, and I hope you’ve been using these monthly events as a way to take stock of how important it is that we support the art that matters to us. Since it’s December, this month’s list includes a few extra merch alerts, in case you’re on the hunt for holiday gifts to send the music-loving cousin/niece/cousin’s niece on your shopping list.
Without further ado…
Iris DeMent — “Going Down to Sing in Texas“
Learned about this powerful protest tune (proceeds benefit the Poor People’s Campaign) from Spencer Tweedy’s email newsletter. Are you subscribed to Spencer Tweedy’s email newsletter? I’d recommend it highly. Merch alert #1: His new book on home recording would make a great gift, if there’s anyone in your life who’s into that sort of thing.
Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger — Force Majeure
Pure bliss in the form of bass and harp. One of the categories I decided to add for the 2020 year-end list extravaganza was duo albums, and this epitomizes why those are so relevant this year: musicians leaning into the way circumstances unavoidably inform scope, thereby making something that’s in perfect harmony with this far-from-perfect moment. One quick note about the label that’s releasing this one: International Anthem is running a deal on bundled 45s that may already be sold out by the time you read this, but if it’s not, it’d make a great gift for any vinyl-spinning jazz lover in your life.
Landlady — Landlady
Pre-orders going live for a new album from one of my very favorite bands on the entire planet would be an event unto itself, but that happening on Bandcamp Friday is like when a fast food restaurant or state fair booth finds a new way to combine two of your favorite foods into one exceedingly delightful thing. So I guess that makes Landlady’s self-titled album the Luther Burger of Bandcamp Friday — only without the ignominious distinction of being dubbed “a cardiologist’s worst nightmare.” In truth, I don’t believe the medical community has issued any findings at all relating to this album, but in my non-medical opinion, lead single “Supernova” is very good for your heart, as all of Landlady’s music is. Can’t wait to hear more of the new tunes.
Philip James Murphy Jr — darkness seen and the sound in between
Philip James Murphy Jr has been a Bandcamp Friday MVP throughout this year, and it feels fitting to end the year by recommending his latest, which I believe will be his most fully realized release of 2020 in terms of running time — a nine-track album entitled darkness seen and the sound in between. I’m excited to get to know this one as I have the singles and EPs he’s shared this year. His music has a sense of melodic detail I enjoy, as well as a lived-in feeling that I’ve found to be comforting. Great winter listening.
Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin — FlySiifu’s
I already have my copy of FlySiifu’s, but I thought I’d include the album here for two reasons: 1. It’s excellent and well worth your Bandcamp bucks, and 2. The merch associated with it is A+. Can’t-miss holiday shopping right here. The work shirts are mostly sold out, sadly, but there are still long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts, among other items. Consider it a rule going forward that if your album invents/takes place in a fictional record store, and you then start selling merch for said fictional record store, you have my undivided attention. (Especially when said album happens to be one of the best released all year.)
Esther Rose — “Keeps Me Running“
I’m late to the Esther Rose party, but the buzz around her recent covers EP started echoing when I saw Father/Daughter Records’ notification about the release of “Keeps Me Running.” Really glad I listened to those echoes. This chorus is going to help me make it through what I’m sure we can all agree is going to be, with apologies to the Counting Crows, a long-ass December.
Other releases on my radar today:
DarkTwaine_ — Shadow Work
Lee Han — PIWA PI
Bryan Hooten: Solo Trombone — Isolation
Mdou Moctar — Mdou Moctar Mixtape Vol 8
Eric Slick — “Can We Still Be Friends” (Todd Rundgren cover)
Nathan Salsburg — Landwerk No. 2
Various — Going to Georgia (Merge Records comp to benefit the Georgia senate run-off)
Alan Good Parker — “Johnsburg, Illinois” (Tom Waits cover)
The Mountain Goats — The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 1 and 2
Ohbliv — Foreverpayingdues