The month’s best new release day is back! Since March, indie music retailer Bandcamp has waived their share of revenue for indie artists and labels using their platform to give “the little guys” a leg up in the face of the pandemic. The result was more music bought by more fans than any day on the site, a record broken on the first Friday of May. Bandcamp Fridays have since taken place in June, July, August, and September – plus the first of an annual occurrence when the service will donate its share to the NAACP Legal Fund on Juneteenth – and that spirit of giving will officially extend to the first Friday of every month in the remainder of 2020.
The Second Disc has proudly supported these events by highlighting not only our favorite catalog releases on the site or our most treasured “legacy” acts releasing new work, but also occasionally shining a spotlight on acts that deserve a first look as well. (Our spotlight artist in June, Meet Me @ The Altar, was named one of the 50 best current bands by SPIN.) Join us once more as we highlight some of our faves, old and new, for Bandcamp Friday!
Little Hag: New Jersey singer-songwriter Avery Mandeville, recently signed to Bar/None under her alias Little Hag, is one to watch. Her tremulous voice and vivid lyrics are some of the most powerful we’ve discovered over the last few months, and you can get in on the action with Whatever Happened to Avery Jane? – a collection of early tracks (and a few new ones, including end-of-summer-bummer anthem “Tetris”) that’ll get you up to speed for her next moves.
Dave Alvin: As an artist on the Yep Roc roster, Dave Alvin’s catalog for that label is accessible on Bandcamp. And it’s a good place to check out The Blasters founder’s upcoming collection, From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, due out November 20. It’s got 16 stray tracks including the bluesy “Peace” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited.”
Bartees Strange: The son of a military man and an opera singer, Washington, D.C.-based Bartees Strange was raised just outside of Oklahoma City and is another one of the more ear-catching new artists of this unusual year. His debut EP, March’s Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy, was a fascinating treatise on taste and identity: a black artist covering the work of white indie-rockers The National. His full-length debut Live Forever drops today and features arresting cuts like the indie anthem “Boomer” and the ethereal “Kelly Rowland,” which samples the chart-topping Nelly/Rowland duet “Dilemma.”
Suzanne Ciani: If you dug Earth Libraries’ Suzanne Ciani collection for Record Store Day, you’ve got a lot to dig through on Bandcamp from the pioneering synth hero. You’ll find a dozen deep rarities from Ciani’s archive on Bandcamp, including Atari jingles, live works and much more.
The Feminine Complex: Also featured in the latest RSD drop, Modern Harmonic’s expanded reissue of The Feminine Complex’s Livin’ Love is available on Bandcamp! Don’t miss a second chance to dig this garage-psych odyssey from a killer female cult quintet.
Drive-By Truckers: The Athens, GA alt-country band is one of countless acts known for killer live shows, who of course can’t do what they do best under current lockdown conditions. So they’re making the best of it with The New OK, a forthcoming collection of tracks taken in part from a marathon session at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis back in 2018. (Material from this sessions was released at the top of the year as The Unraveling.) Frontman Patterson Hood writes that the record, to be released December 10, “hopefully balances out the darkness of our current situation with a hope for better days and nights ahead.” Truer words have rarely been spoken.
And from old friends…another archival drop from jangle-pop heroes Miracle Legion – a 1996 set recorded at the Mercury Lounge in New York City – and another volume of Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy, a charity compilation featuring some heavy hitters including unreleased cuts by Pearl Jam, John Prine, Charly Bliss, MUNA and an unused demo for the new James Bond film submitted by producer Mark Ronson.