Most days, when you make a purchase on Bandcamp, the organization takes approximately a 10% cut on all sales. Today, until midnight Pacific Time (10 Central Time), the organization is waiving all its fees to help the music community. So if there’s a CD, LP, or T-shirt you’ve been wanting to buy, this would be the day to do so. Heck, you can even download MP3’s from the site – even if that’s so 2011.
But what to buy, who to support, you ask? I’m not going to claim to have the absolute answer. I am going to provide a link to ten different Bandcamp pages for your consideration. Again, this is by no means a comprehensive list of acts The Ghost approves of, but rather a few acts that sprung to mind first. If you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend searching the tags for Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth to take a deep dive into the talent in our metroplex. And since The Ghost has expanded his horizons to examine music from all over Texas, I’m including that tag as well.
Now, onto my recommendations.
The Crystal Furs, “Too Kind to Be Cruel”
While the band now calls Portland home, the band’s roots in Fort Worth ensure The Ghost’s loyalty to this indie power-pop act. The couple of Stephanie and Kara Buchanan (guitars and keyboards, respectively) along with Rowan Church (drums) continue to display their penchant for catchy pop gems like this.
It should be no surprise that Emmeline is on my short list. I have consistently raved about her ability to write smart songs that evoke strong emotion. In fact, the overall message of Rise is one of hope in times of pain, a message that could not be more timely.
Goons, Year of the Goon
It’s easy to rely too heavily on depressing tunes in these depressing times. Let us not forget to take time to party, even if it’s a party of one. Austin based Goons know how to write indie pop tunes made for dancing. So dance to it like no one’s watching, because more than likely, no one’s watching you.
Joe Savage, Liver Dye
Is it just me, or does it feel like we are living in a country song right now? All we need is for COVID-19 to break down our pickup trucks. But if you’d rather live in someone else’s country song, might I recommend Fort Worth native Joe Savage? His voice oozes country, and there’s a laid back, genuine approach to his delivery. And on a lighter note, Liver Dye is one of the most clever album titles in a while.
Levi Ray, Battling
The Ghost has certainly provided lots of praise for the title track of Mr. Ray’s EP, most notably by naming it the number one song of 2019. In this time of social distancing and social isolation, I have a feeling more people will be battling, and the title track reminds us we are not alone in our battles. But I also feel the need to say that while “Battling” is obviously my favorite from the EP, all the tracks are strong and captivating tales, with Mr. Ray’s unique, emotive voice being the perfect method of conveying the meaning to these songs.
Lorelei K, Lightbender
Easily one of the best albums released in 2019, the tracks on Lightbender are so breathtakingly beautiful and captivating that it almost hurts to listen to it. “Perfumed in Feeling” is a seductive piece of pop, while opening track “Eidelon” is a gorgeous ballad with an underlying tone of unease. Truth is, I could rave on about each and every track from Lightbender, but that’d take all day.
Mountain Natives, We Call Each Other Home
Last night on their Facebook page, the band discussed the trials and tribulations they’ve faced as musicians because of COVID-19. They stated that they “know God will provide, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for a helping hand.” No, there isn’t, and this is a duo that definitely deserves the support. Fans of indie style folk will find the harmonies of Phillip and Loren Pappas beautiful and even reassuring in their calm but genuine vocals.
Penny And Dime, “Velvet Sun”
Penny and Dime are likely the least known name of the group. This talented duo mesh the best elements of indie, folk, and country into a sweet package. And while Penny and Dime may be relative newcomers to the scene, they enlisted some grade A assistance on this track, with Zach Balch acting as producer, as well as contributing his guitar prowess on the song. So there’s that too.
Rosegarden Funeral Party, MARTYR
If I were to be asked who the biggest bands in Dallas are, Rosegarden Funeral Party are probably the first name that would jump to mind. RFP have not only embraced goth, new wave, and darkwave more than any local act in memory, they have managed to create a level of excitement for that style of music moreso than any other group. Their new album, MARTYR, continues in the same melodic vein that the band has so deftly mastered. And unlike any of the other recommendations, MARTYR cannot be found on streaming services. So those who crave a good Funeral Party need to go to bandcamp right now.
Vanessa Peters, Foxhole Prayers
It’s worth noting that Idol Records has put a number of their releases on Bandcamp for purchase, including albums by Black Tie Dynasty,Flickerstick, and Motorcade. It seemed only appropriate to feature Ms. Peters, the local singer who splits her time between Dallas and Italy. She is still in Italy, amidst what is as of now the country that has suffered the deepest level of devastation due to the virus. Her smart, heartfelt tunes have given me much comfort in the past. Now would be a good time for those who can afford to do so to return the favor.
One final note: the Bandcamp site seems to be having some issues today, likely due to heavier traffic than normal. Keep trying; you will be able to purchase items and support the musicmakers.