Some of My Most Recent Bandcamp Purchases

Here's what I've listened to lately on Bandcamp.

Bandcamp has really stepped up to support creators during the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of making a one-time donation to struggling artists, the company announced in mid-March that they would waive their revenue share of album sales for an entire day to help musicians who use their platform.

Their decision to donate their share of sales on March 20th paid off in a major way. Here’s what Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond had to say about it in a May 4th Bandcamp Daily article.

“On March 20, 2020, we waived our revenue share in order to help artists and labels impacted by the pandemic. The Bandcamp community showed up in a massive way, spending $4.3 million on music and merch—15x the amount of a normal Friday— helping artists cover rents, mortgages, groceries, medications, and so much more. It was truly inspiring.”

4.3 million and 15x the amount of normal Friday sales is pretty damn impressive, so I was naturally curious to see the results when Bandcamp announced they would do it again on May 1st. The results were even crazier, as they saw a 65% increase in sales from their original experiment.

I’ve been trying to follow Bandcamp’s lead and do my best to purchase more albums when I’m able to. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve spent my money on in the past few weeks.

Re​-​Birth by OBUXUM

I’ve interviewed Toronto-based producer OBUXUM twice, once about her early work and development as an artist and once about her 2018 H​​.​​E​​.​​R EP. I’ve always enjoyed our discussions about music and the art of production, so the success of her recent Re-Birth project has been exciting to witness. It was all over Now Toronto’s “The best music of 2019: NOW's critics' picks” list and author/Bandcamp Daily editor Diamond Sharp selected it as the site’s album of the day in August 2019. This ambitious effort is loaded with highlight moments like the ultra-hype “Black Girls Flying” and the rich, layered “Reclaiming my D!mn Self.”

The Gift: Volume Two by DertBeats

I once wrote that the track “Distorted Joy” was, “my happy place, my three minutes and nineteen seconds of musical therapy, and one of my favorite beats of all time.” So I probably should have actually purchased DertBeats’ entry in Street Corner Music’s The Gift series a long time ago. Better late than never, I guess. Beyond “Distorted Joy”, tracks like “Life's Bigger Than You,” “Fatal Thoughts (Bonus),” and “Wake Your Punk Ass Up” make this an essential front to back listen, with Dert executing beats in a style unlike anyone else.

Momma’s Basement by Vitamin D

I was blown away by a lot of the talent I caught during my visit to the sessionin [LINE-IN + PLAY BEATS] online showcase, but veteran Seattle DJ, MC, and producer Vitamin D’s stuff was on another planet. When I heard his 8-bit flips of classic rap songs on Instagram, I knew I had to show love and pick up one of his albums.

These 8-bit flips of classic songs by @tallhomeyvita are absolutely insane.
Posted @withregram@tallhomeyvita I made a series of 8 bit 90’s hip hop classics. I would like to accompany them with 8 bit style graphics & release them. Like our favorite hip hop artist in a video game. Imagine ATCQ traveling in a mega man level. Do any of you know a graphics artist that can pull that off?
May 3, 2020

Momma’s Basement is a treasure trove of beats and rhymes, with gems like “Morning Motivation (Mama's Basement)” ft. Frank Brown, Ladybird Lex & Darrius Willrich and the beautifully produced “If” requiring repeat listens. The album intentionally incorporates the sounds of Vitamin D’s early days as a producer when mistakes and trial and error were the norm. The liner notes, which end with, “All songs recorded & kind of mixed at the crib in my drawers while blazin a ton of tree. Mastered by...shit...what mastering?” make this worth the purchase alone.

100 Grand” by Imack feat Termanology

My cousin Imack and I come from a very musical extended family and a lot of our relatives are involved in music somehow. When we were younger we spent countless hours in my parent’s basement listening to rap records and talking about music. He started rapping and recording in middle/high school back in the day and I’m so proud of him for taking the leap and officially releasing some material over the past year or so. He recently had an opportunity to record the track “100 Grand” with Termanology, one of his favorite rappers, and both he and the veteran Lawrence, MA MC didn’t disappoint here. With verses spit over a beautiful instrumental from Sacramento producer PA Dre, this one isn’t to be missed.

These Roots Are On Fire EP by Kilamanzego

After putting out several impressive singles and compilation contributions over the past few years, I was very happy to hear that Philly producer and Micro-Chop interviewee Kilamanzego was dropping her debut EP in mid-April. The five-track project is already creating quite a buzz on Bandcamp, as it highlights a broad range of styles and production techniques while demonstrating a new level of finesse and maturity as a producer. The production here is jaw-droppingly complex at times—you can truly hear the thought and care that went into each song. The meticulously constructed, surreal sounds on “Crossed Out” are already finding audience on Spotify while stand out moments like “These Roots Are On Fire” and “Jungle Frequency (Bonus Track)” are also not to be missed.

Make sure to pick up one of these projects, or any release from your favorite independent artist, over at Bandcamp. And make sure to drop a comment and let me know what Bandcamp albums you’ve bought recently.

Thanks for reading, see you on Wednesday!