Support Musicians Directly By Buying These Albums on Bandcamp - Rolling Stone
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Support Musicians Directly by Buying These Albums on Bandcamp

Music platform waives its revenue share to help artists as their incomes are threatened by COVID-19

Musical instruments on an empty stage before a show.Musical instruments on an empty stage before a show.

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Musicians everywhere are suffering right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten their livelihoods by forcing tour and festival cancellations. One way for fans to help out is to buy music and merchandise directly from those artists — and Bandcamp, the online music store that has become a key ally for independent acts, is making that even easier by waiving its slice of the pie on all sales made today, March 20th.

“For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not,” Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond writes on their site. “It may sound simple, but the best way to help artists is with your direct financial support, and we hope you’ll join us on Friday and through the coming months as we work to support artists in this challenging time.”

There’s never been a better time to take a chance on buying a record (or T-shirt, or mousepad, or sweatpants) by a new artist. Looking for ideas on what to buy? Here are 10 recent albums to start with, as recommended by Rolling Stone staffers. They’re all available on Bandcamp, and they’re all worth your money. Once you’ve done that, check out our other tips on how to support independent musicians right now.

Kyshona, Listen
The new album from Nashville singer-songwriter Kyshona Armstrong is a tour-de-force southern roots hybrid of rock, pop, and R&B that alternates between bluesy despair and gospel-filled resilience. One highlight, “Fear,” is a stormy blues rocker about managing fright through simple acknowledgement. “You gotta call it by its name,” sings Armstrong, offering sage advice in dark times. — Jonathan Bernstein

Twins, Soon
Twins are a spastic, post-hardcore band from Germany with a pained vocal style similar to acts like Suis La Lune or La Dispute. In the spirit of Bandcamp DIY, this release is spread out across ten distros around the world, with the album available in multiple formats for whatever your collecting preference is. — Rick Carp

Dogleg, Melee
The title of this Detroit punk band’s explosive debut references an old Nintendo game, but the music is full of wonderfully visceral real-world revelation. Songs like “Prom Hell” and “Kawasaki Backflip” perfectly balance chaos and attack, noise and melody, gutcheck angst and heart-shredding heroism; it’s the sound of an excellent band discovering its unique power right before our eyes. — Jon Dolan

Porridge Radio, Every Bad
Sludgy, caterwauling, and dark, U.K. alt-rock band Porridge Radio’s Every Bad is perfect for a living room rage dance (we all do this, right?). Discussing the inspirations behind their new album, frontwoman Dana Margolin has given us a mantra for our times: “I was thinking on the idea of willing things to be OK by repeating that they are, because I need them to be. I tried to follow the feeling of the flow of waves, and how they keep coming in endlessly, washing everything away without judgment, and then bringing it back again.” — Brenna Ehrlich

Human Impact, Human Impact
During the late Eighties and early Nineties, New York City’s noise and industrial scene was one of the coolest in underground rock. Three of the leading bands were Unsane, Swans, and Cop Shoot Cop. Human Impact unites members from those three bands for a familiar sound — sore-throat vocals, seething riffs, and hard-edged, almost funky electronic-tinged rhythms — and it sounds as heavy as a sledgehammer. It’s anxious and claustrophobic (just like how everyone is feeling right now) but it packs enough of a punch to help get you past your worries. — Kory Grow

TOPS, I Feel Alive
No one wants to feel trapped or in peril right now, and everyone just wants to feel alive, which is exactly why bumping “I Feel Alive,” from the album of the same name by Montreal group TOPS, is an excellent call. Bandcamp calls it pop, which it is — it’s certainly bright and melodic — but it’s also got a hazy, jangly indie-rock quality to it, reminiscent of Burger Records/Sub Pop band King Tuff and Salad Days-era Mac DeMarco. It’s the perfect “stuck at home with your significant other” kind of love song, so go ahead and dance in the kitchen, while donning your ugliest pajamas and gazing into each other’s bedheads. — Samantha Hissong

Church & AP, Teeth
This hip-hop duo from New Zealand are a little like A Tribe Called Quest; there’s enough energy and eclecticism to wake you from your quarantine stupor, but they’re not gonna aggro-shock you with noise. Some of their beats have that plonky, PC Music industrial sound to them, which is why the warmth of both these guys’ voices really holds everything together. It’ll make you pine for summer block parties without completely losing your mind. — Claire Shaffer

Erica Freas, Young
In her work with Olympia, Washington’s RVIVR, Erica Freas channels intimate topics like grief and the ebb and flow of friendship into megawatt pop-punk anthems. As a solo artist, now based in the U.K., she’s more subdued, but her songs still radiate plainspoken wisdom. Her new album, Young — including some songs, she’s said, “written to hold, support, and give power to friends that were having children in totally queer, genderless situations” — tackles everything from the miracle of new life (“Golden Welcome”) to the challenge of long-distance love (“A Year”). It’s a hopeful record that doesn’t shy away from uncertainty. — Hank Shteamer

Marco Benevento, Levon’s 3/9/19
Last March, in a much simpler time, keyboardist Marco Benevento dropped by Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock to play a roomy set of his charming psychedelic pop with bassist-vocalist Karina Rykman and drummer Dave “DB” Butler. The trio was scheduled to return to the venue later this month for a pair of sold-out gigs, but for very obvious reasons, those shows are not to be. So “[i]n the spirit of lemons and lemonade,” Benevento has switched gears, mixing and mastering the multi-track recordings from the 2019 show and making them available as Levon’s 3/9/19. He’s also offering hand-dubbed cassette versions, each with a one-of-a-kind insert. — Hank Shteamer

Anna Burch, If You’re Dreaming
It’s been an exhausting week for many of us, here in the socially distanced waiting room of life. Maybe that’s why “Party’s Over,” a recent single from Detroit singer-songwriter Anna Burch’s If You’re Dreaming (due out April 3rd), feels so right. “Do we have to go? Could we just stay home?” she sings, bringing an ironic twinge for anyone who’s currently locked inside. “”Cause I’m so tired, I’m so tired, I’m so tired.” Burch’s voice and producer Sam Evian’s 12-string guitar swirl together in drowsy bliss, creating a mood that’s levels up from her very good 2018 debut, Quit the Curse. Preorder the new album now, turn up the single in your headphones, and drift away. — Simon Vozick-Levinson


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