What was once a short-term campaign to supplement the incomes of working-class musicians is now a cornerstone policy at Bandcamp. Until further notice, the indie-friendly streamer is waiving its cut of sales every first Friday of the month, offering artists a reliable and unmitigated stream of funds at a time when touring profits have been reduced to how many tips you can land in a live stream on Twitch.
Now, given the breadth and expanse of the Bandcamp catalog(s,) and the ongoing absence of a playlisting feature, parsing through the work may be a bit overwhelming. But that’s why we’re here, of course. And we’ll be doing the heavy lifting on R&D until the world resumes or a new one emerges. To aid independent artists disproportionately stunned by the economic and creative shitstorm that is COVID-19 (and merely breathing in 2020,) we’re committed to compiling a long scroll of standout releases from the Bandcamp wormhole on each and every first Friday.
This month’s list features cosmic jazz send-ups, shape-shifting boom-bap exhibitions, alluringly fluttery beat tapes, psychedelically sweet soul, and so much more.
Scroll through our latest haul of indie artists to support on Bandcamp Friday below.
AntMan Wonder has been slipping beats to some of rap and R&Bs most prestigious outfits for the better part of the last 10 years (including Action Bronson, PRhyme, Skyzoo, and Anderson .Paak.) On his new tape, We’re All Just Having Fun Here, the LA-based producer covers a range of disciplines, from sparse jazz-anchored suites to maximalist synth displays, at times in the span of just one track.
Four projects deep on the year, Drew Dave has been on a helluva run in 2020. On his latest project, Stoop Stories, the producer links with fellow DMV native, D.C. Cortez, for a burly, shape-shifting boom-bap exhibition.
On her new EP, NYC-based singer and bassist Adeline builds a bridge between soul’s stellar backstory and its broadly-sourced present with swarming harmonies, neck-snapping snares, and slinky bass lines.
Sample-and-swing-heavy, Somni bends his source material with the care of a vet. Last month, he dropped the fluttery and alluring first volume in a series of instrumental batches. Hear it below and hold tight for the next installment.
Rap needs more concept albums. And Chester Watson seems to be keenly aware of it. His new album, A Japanese Horror Film, fittingly released on Halloween, pairs a brooding monotone with beats cut from anime scores and soundtracks, ranging from intrinsically menacing to coldly melancholic.
After turning in a beastly collaborative album with NYC rapper YL earlier this year, zoomo returned with Utica, his second solo project of the year, in October. And it’s as rugged and raw as anything this side of Wu-Tang’s heyday.
Somewhere between spiritual jazz and cerebral soul, Qu’ran Shaheed is staking a corner that’s entirely her own. Her debut project, Process, arrived back in September, and it’s the perfect place to get familiar with one of R&Bs most promising rookies.
A virtuosic keyboardist, producer, and high-key J Dilla obsessive, Kiefer has been one of Stones Throw’s most logical and polished recruits of the decade. And though his Twitch streams and Instagram posts can be endlessly entrancing scrolls in the pandemic era, his catalog is just as immersive a showcase of uncommon chops, warm chords, and neck-cranking swing.
Short, sweet, and veering into psychedelic pockets of soul, KindKeith’s debut project, Phone, is an effectual and dynamic introduction to an Austin-based singer on the come-up.
Chong Wizard has been pulling from the panels of his favorite comic book titles for years, culminating in a series of EPs inspired by Marvel’s Infinity Stones. On his latest project, the producer, label chief, and occasional rapper, links with Zilla Rocca as Midnight Sons to, yet again, take cues from a lesser-known Marvel superteam with a gritty outing, featuring billy woods, Denmark Vessey, and what may very well be the final verse of the late Malik B’s career.
Mark de Clive-Lowe
No stranger to these pages, Mark de Clive-Lowe has been a consistent purveyor of heady jazz arrangements with wide influence for more than a decade. Dreamweavers, the keyboardist and producer’s latest release, is a languid, sprawled out, and utterly hypnotic body of work.
Berlin-based composer King Khan sends one up to cosmic jazz giant, Sun Ra, with his latest far-reaching collection, featuring The Arkestra’s Marshall Allen and Knoell Scott in supporting roles.
Though he rose to prominence in the online producer community designing crucial drum and chord packs, The Kount is quickly becoming a sought-after beatmaker in his own right one viral clip at a time. And if you’re looking to get acquainted with the producer mid-ascent, his 2019 tape Virtually Yours is a great place to start.
UK-based singer Ruth Orhiunu provides a properly potent introduction with her debut EP, …They’ll Say I’m Talking.
With credits across projects from Mach-Hommy, Open Mike Eagle, and Busdriver, amongst others, Kenny Segal has been a not-so-low-key thread between some of the most celebrated releases from rap’s underground over the last decade. In mid-October, the producer dropped a new collection of instrumentals, remixes, and alternate edits of recent beat placements, aptly dubbed, a lot on my plate.
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