Bandcamp is a treasure trove of established and up-and-coming musical acts. It’s also one of my daily go-to destinations on the Web. While the site’s stature has grown in recent years, it’s usefulness is sometimes undervalued.
From a consumer perspective, Bandcamp is my favorite site for discovering and supporting musicians. When I visit the site I can stream full tracks/albums before purchasing, sift through releases using a system of tags, and browse the music collections of other users via their fan accounts. As a result, I can determine which artists have produced work that I want to explore further. I also have the option of following those artists so that I am informed when they release new music or other merchandise.
I’d love to see more independent musicians engaging with an audience through Bandcamp. Fans will undoubtedly find much to appreciate as well, particularly in the variety of sounds available. Whether you favor plaintive, pensive traditional country (see The Lonesome Doves’ Waiting For Stars); bluesy, soul-soothing pop (Hadley Kennary’s Momentum EP); or poignant and wrenching folk (Logan Vath’s In the Presence of the Kingdom), there are a plethora of albums waiting to be unearthed by curious listeners. Below you’ll find a few recent favorites.
Deep Shade of Blue – Michael Lesousky
Blues, folk, country, and bluegrass converge on the Grassland String Band member’s solo debut, a moody acoustic affair anchored by his soulful vocals. Lesousky is an immensely gifted songwriter who doesn’t mind making his audience a bit uncomfortable. However, on a spine-tingling rendition of Bill Browning’s “Dark Hollow”, the newly arrived Nashville resident demonstrates he is equally adept at inhabiting and reimagining classics by paying homage to those who contributed to his formative years.
Song In Me – Jessica Rhaye
Fifteen years and five albums into her career, Rhaye is still exploring new facets of her written voice. For her latest release, the Canadian singer-songwriter made a purposeful decision to co-write with others, including Matt Andersen, Matt Epp, Hilary Anne Ladd, Bill Preeper and Brent Mason. However, don’t mistake the collaborations on Song In Me as an example of songwriting by committee. Instead, these compositions provide fresh insight into both Rhaye’s own life and the outside world. She makes observations without judgement, infusing her subjects with dignity and humanity.
Through The Window – The Trebuchets
It would be a disservice to refer to the members of the Trebuchets as old souls. While the Tennessee-based band writes and plays with great maturity, it is arguably their youth that allows them to tackle issues of mortality, isolation, and fear with vitality instead of weariness. Mixing elements of pop, rock, and jazz with a vigor that should leave listeners shaken, Through The Window offers the audience a glimpse of the world through the eyes of narrators who (based on one’s perspective) are either on the outside looking in or on the inside looking out. Compellingly voiced by lead singer Rebecca Upchurch, several songs offer room for interpretation. This is an album worth revisiting multiple times.
Rebecca Upchurch – vocals
Dillon Matheny – lead guitar and piano
Jared Grubbs – drums
Gregory Boe – bass guitar
Alex Noreiga – saxophone and rhythm guitar