Bandcamp’s Hidden Gems
Bandcamp may only be twelve years old, a baby in terms of traditional retail, but in online years, that could almost count as veteran. For those who may not have heard of it, Bandcamp is an online platform where independent music artists can set up their own ‘storefronts’ to sell digital downloads, physical CDs and other merchandise. It is, without doubt, a wonderful site to discover new artists, and to support those artists directly. Online success is often a double-edged sword, however — with so many musicians signed up, it’s easy for a act to get lost in the crowd.
Here are five Bandcamp artists who may well become your newest favourites.
The Ampersands — For Fans Of: XTC, Talking Heads, The Beatles, Super Furry Animals
“We believe that music should get stuck in your head, but do something constructive while it’s in there.” Duo Aaron McQuade and Jim Pace, aka The Ampersands, create adventurous, melodic art pop which strikes a perfect balance between depth and accessibility. Anyone with a yearning for intelligent, but fun, music should really give them a go.
Sean Taylor — For Fans Of: Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie, Paul Weller, Pete Seeger, Richard Thomspon
London-based singer-songwriter Sean Taylor is an old-school musician with a progressive outlook. His creative blend of Americana and folk is beguiling, his guitar-playing, distinctive and his sonic palette eclectic. More than anything, though, Taylor writes intelligent, gripping, socially and politically conscious songs in a time when we desperately need them.
Adam Lanceley — For Fans Of: Daniel Johnston, The Beach Boys, Love, Frank Zappa
Back when I had the pleasure of reviewing Lanceley’s Welcome To The Next Century, for Music News, I stated: “In truth, Lanceley’s unique music isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes. Those who get it, however, are going to love it. Lanceley has created his own sound, and that’s no small achievement for any artist.” I fully stand by those words. This is outsider psyche music full of sunshine and charisma.
Knomad Spock — For Fans Of: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gram Parsons, Simon & Garfunkel
A mixed-race British-Somali poet, rapper, and contemporary folk singer/songwriter, Knomad Spock, in his own words, is rooted as much in the Northern (British) working-class as in the Somali nomadic traditions of his inheritance. His music displays the beauty, polish and attention to detail of the great singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s.
Eddie 9V — For Fans Of: Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Reed, Sam Cooke, Albert Collins
Talented multi-instrumentalist, singer and song-writer, Eddie 9V answers the prayers of those longing for something deeper than much of mainstream music has to offer. “There’s no soul,” he says, “I took inspiration from Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Mike Bloomfield. All those great records were done live with their buddies and no overdubs.” Listen to a few seconds of “Little Black Flies” and you will be transported to a world where Stax greats walked the stage.