It's a new year, and Bandcamp Fridays are back! The beloved independent music service brings back their beloved mini-holiday today (February 4), and again on March 4, April 1 and May 6. On those days, they'll waive the fees they make off music they host - all the money will go directly to artists and labels. (And artists typically make more there than other platforms, just saying.) We've delighted in using The Second Disc to highlight some of our favorite catalogue and current acts on Bandcamp - take a look at who we've shouted out before and check out our current faves below!
Paul Andrews: There are few better sensations than getting a music recommendation and finding it's just what you wanted to hear at that moment. Case in point: Paul Andrews, a songwriter/remixer who just put out his second album, From the Distance. If you're looking for highly-polished pop/rock - the kind you thought they stopped making after Steely Dan first went on hiatus or after Matt Bianco and Swing Out Sister impacted the pop charts (or after you first heard another Bandcamp favorite, Tenant from Zero) - your search is about to end. But it's not mere throwback for throwback's sake; Andrew's rollicking melodies and warm, inviting voice are thrilling and timeless. and it's clear he's writing from a place of deep introspection, no doubt inspired by the tough times we've been living in over the past two years. It's a great musical pick-me-up - and who can argue with that?
Hatchie: I've highlighted Australian dream-pop musician Hatchie here before; after catching her opening for great indie acts Alvvays and Snail Mail in Brooklyn a few years ago, I gave up a great spot in the crowd as soon as her set ended to buy debut EP Sugar and Spice. Now's a good time to highlight her again, as she's due to release her second album, Giving the World Away, on April 22. Lead singles "This Enchanted" and "Quicksand" take things in a more pop direction without sacrificing a whit of the brilliant tunes that made her so striking in the first place.
Hurry: I came across Hurry by way of a great Billboard profile of Gin Blossoms frontman Robin Wilson, where singer/songwriter Matt Scottoline offered some great praises of Wilson as an influence. Hearing Hurry's most recent album, 2021's Fake Ideas, it's evident that Scottoline is a student of rich power pop traditions, and the melodic guitars and tight vocal harmonies will hopefully make you smile as broadly as they made me.
Tough Guy Soda: a rougher-hewn palette swap of Philly pop-punk act Tiger Castle (who share most of the same members on different instruments), Tough Guy Soda recently released a must-hear album with a great title: I've Made a Lot of Promises and I'm Not Afraid. Check it out!
Polaris: we're die-hard fans of Mark Mulcahy and his Mezzotint universe of rock music, from Miracle Legion to his own solo works - and we can't discount Polaris, the group that served as a gateway to Mulcahy's music for many. (Polaris is, of course, Miracle Legion sans guitarist Ray Neal, assembled to record music for the cult classic Nickelodeon sitcom The Adventures of Pete & Pete.) Mezzotint's dug up heater after heater during the Bandcamp Friday era, from unearthed live shows and demos to rare EPs that never made it to digital; their latest is Snack Bar, a 2014 live set Polaris put on in Brooklyn, featuring most of the Pete & Pete favorites along with a few great Miracle Legion cuts.