Support Artists During Coronavirus: Our Album Picks to Buy On Bandcamp Today

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Support Artists During Coronavirus: Our Album Picks to Buy On Bandcamp Today

Thank goodness there are people looking out for artists right now. As musicians deal with a loss of income from canceled live shows, the best thing we can do is buy their music and merchandise. Bandcamp has long been the go-to platform for supporting independent musicians, and the company recently announced their plan to waive their share of revenue on all sales today (Friday, March 20). If you were planning to help support your favorite indie musicians in their time of need, today is the best day to do it! Though you should buy any music or merchandise that your heart desires, Paste listed 10 Bandcamp albums from 2020 that we think you’ll really enjoy.

Porridge Radio: Every Bad

Tension-building holds a whole new meaning when Dana Margolin utilizes it. As lead singer of Brighton quartet Porridge Radio, Margolin emotes such unbridled theatricality that every song becomes a vigorous hurricane. Her raw vocal oscillations are menacing, compassionate and sultry—often at the same time. There’s a fire burning underneath their raucous guitar-pop, and it’s made of desire—a desire to understand and be understood, to love and be loved and to cast aside bitterness, cynicism and judgment. That sentiment coupled with Margolin’s animalistic vocals and majestic yet unhinged strings on “Lilac,” and we’re not only presented with the album’s pièce de résistance, but a modern-day anthem of radical kindness. Following the band’s compelling 2016 self-recorded debut Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers and their recent signing to Secretly Canadian, their bold, tantalizing new LP Every Bad makes them one of the most exciting new bands on the planet. —Lizzie Manno

Purchase here

The Secret Sisters: Saturn Return

Grammy-nominated, real-life-sibling duo The Secret Sisters shared their new album Saturn Return in February, which was produced by Brandi Carlile and Tim and Phil Hanseroth and recorded at Carlile’s home studio. Carlile said of the sisters’ newest folk album, “To be a harbinger for their honesty in these songs and to watch them work together to see the tension was one of the greatest gifts of my career because those are two very powerful people in a very interesting point in their lives.” —Lizzie Manno

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Disq: Collector

Even when they were young teens, it was obvious that Disq knew how to write great pop songs. Starting out as a duo of Isaac deBroux-Slone and Raina Bock in Madison, Wisc., the band self-recorded their first release—an EP titled Disq 1—in deBroux-Slone’s basement and released it in 2016. Its sweet psych and power-pop weren’t fully cooked, but it had palpable charisma and contained seeds of the wide range of sounds they’d explore in the future. After recruiting three more full-time members—Shannon Connor (guitar, keys), Logan Severson (guitar/backing vocals) and Brendan Manley (drums)—and signing to Saddle Creek for their debut album, Disq were fully equipped to bring their distinct charm and varying influences to life. While earning their stripes as an opening band, playing with acts like Shame, Jay Som and Girlpool, it was hard to determine which direction they would go since their shows were much punkier than any of their recordings up until that point. Now that their Rob Schnapf-produced (Beck, Elliott Smith) first album Collector has arrived, we have an answer: It’s perhaps more uniform in sound than their debut EP and live shows would suggest, but it shows off their dynamic guitar triple-threat, down-to-earth lyrics and instantaneous pop know-how that made them so enjoyable and relatable in the first place. —Lizzie Manno

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Andy Shauf: The Neon Skyline

Listening to an Andy Shauf album in full is akin to binging a particularly compelling TV show: Both pull you in with characters that feel just as real as you or me, who populate a world we’d like to escape to. It’s a world not unlike our own, but that’s part of the appeal, really. Shauf’s storytelling and uncanny realism have long been the linchpin of his appeal as an artist, though his previous release, The Party, showcased his talent on a whole other level. As a concept album, it documented the titular event, exploring vignettes about all of the party’s various attendees. Now, Shauf is following up his 2016 effort with The Neon Skyline, another concept album about a couple of friends on a night out at the pub. Every aspect of the central storyline—an ex randomly showing up after moving out of town, bad jokes, drunken ramblings—feels like it could be happening at your local dive just a couple blocks from your apartment. The intimacy of the story is bolstered by the album’s production and Shauf’s deft instrumentation. In comparison to the expansive sound of his recent work with indie four-piece Foxwarren, the woozy woodwind, warm piano and guitar (all played by Shauf himself) come across as if they are being played in the small back room of a bar. —Clare Martin

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Deeper: Auto-Pain

Deeper were and are a band of brothers. They’re not related by blood, but the young Chicago group lights up most when they bring up the goofy or heartfelt moments they’ve shared together. The four-piece band, made up of singer and guitarist Nic Gohl, guitarist Mike Clawson, bassist Drew McBride and drummer Shiraz Bhatti, arose from Chicago’s rich DIY scene, and like many from those communities, they found refuge in each other. Deeper released their self-titled debut album in 2018, and it melded frantic, abstract lyrics with nimble guitar work that bordered on indie rock and post-punk—in turn, making them a staple band in the city’s altruistic music scene. Auto-Pain does ultimately push their spring-loaded sound even further, adding buoyant synths into the mix and even stickier riffs than before, but more than that, it depicts shades of despair that aren’t always easy to articulate. Their guitarist Mike Clawson’s death puts their stream-of-consciousness lyrics of inner turmoil into an entirely new context, and though the songs were written before his passing, listeners may hear them through this especially poignant lens. —Lizzie Manno

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Letitia VanSant: Circadian Rhythm

Imagine having Letitia VanSant’s depth of empathy. Feeling as much as she does, and as hard as she does, must hurt: Most of us care only as far as our Twitter feed takes us, but here’s VanSant on her sophomore album, Circadian, talking about such subjects as depression, climate change, gun violence, the stranglehold that corporations have on American politics, and—trigger warning—her own sexual assault. The last of these motifs comprises the body of her opening salvo, “You Can’t Put My Fire Out,” both a hell of a way to start the record off and to reclaim her sense of self following her experience with the unthinkable. But thinking of Circadian only in terms of VanSant’s personal suffering: She has a mighty heart, and she follows it along countless other cathartic pursuits, sometimes even focusing on several at once. On the record’s closing song, “Rising Tide,” she takes a defiant parting shot at the parties responsible for turning the Earth into a slowly-withering hell for the rest of us to endure. “They can pour all this money down the hole in your side / But all the money on Wall Street these tears can’t dry,” she declares, quite possibly through gritted teeth. “They’ve got plans for our pockets, cigarettes for our lungs / Poison for our babies and bullets for our guns.” —Andy Crump

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Bambara: Stray

Athens, Ga.-via-Brooklyn band Bambara employ fictional, character-based storytelling in their lyrics, and the humanity that each of us craves is just as prevalent in their non-autobiographical writing. Bambara arrived in 2013 with their debut LP Dreamviolence, a lo-fi smoke bomb of noise punk where frontman Reid Bateh first wet his feet with this kind of songwriting. The songs were only loosely tied together, especially in comparison to their recent work, but dark descriptions like “stained teeth on the floor” and a man “shaped just like a dog” were already present. By 2018’s Shadow on Everything, Bambara were constructing post-punk songs like chapters of gothic literature, each serving a wider concept. Their newest effort Stray sees them pushing even further. With inspiration from Bateh’s Georgia upbringing and a stack of thrift store photographs, the Bambara singer isolated himself for a month to write their new album. While Shadow on Everything placed Bateh in the story with events unfolding chronologically, Stray is more ambitious with third-person narratives and shuffled timelines snaking in and out of each other. —Lizzie Manno

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En Attendant Ana: Juillet

It only takes a few seconds of their single “In / Out” to realize that En Attendant Ana have something special. “Shred” isn’t a word you’d normally associate with jangle pop, but it can definitely be used to describe the chiming, pummeling riff that’s sprinkled throughout the Parisian band’s single. Margaux Bouchaudon’s vocals evoke Stereolab’s Lætitia Sadier and Alvvays’ Molly Rankin—she was practically genetically engineered to sing perfect, hyper-melodic dream pop. It would be unfair to dub them a dream pop outfit—they tap into avant-pop, post-punk and college rock with similar ease. With their second album Juillet, they subvert listeners’ perception of them on nearly every track. “From My Bruise to an Island” is a soothing, horn-led ambient piece, “Flesh or Blood” is incisive post-punk at its best and “Words” drops a warped synth interlude alongside wailing brass. They approach familiarly blissful indie-pop (“Do You Understand?”) with as much care as they do their more complex, off-kilter moments. It’s rare to find such thoughtfulness in a record so unabashedly tuneful. —Lizzie Manno

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Squirrel Flower: I Was Born Swimming

The first lines on Squirrel Flower’s third release I Was Born Swimming sound defeatist. “I tried to be lyrical but lyrics failed me,” Ella Williams sings. “So I gave up poetry and ran west on I-80.” But what follows isn’t an admission of giving up, or quieting down. Maybe she abandoned her notebook for adventure on the particular day she mentions on opening track “I-80,” but, on the whole, lyrics are where she succeeds—not fails—throughout I Was Born Swimming’s swirling 35 minutes. Using what sounds like a range of pedals, Williams captures a specific, slow-burning mood with her guitar, then accentuates the soft parts with her sharp storytelling style. It’s not a startling record whatsoever: I Was Born Swimming simmers, with only the occasional burst of unhinged noise jumping out of the boiling pot like a rogue piece of pasta. —Ellen Johnson

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Angelica Garcia: Cha Cha Palace

Angelica Garcia was on Paste’s radar back in 2016 when we featured her as “The Best of What’s Next” following her first album Medicine for Birds. But her newly released second album Cha Cha Palace takes the sounds of her debut album much further, and it also displays her Mexican and Salvadoran roots much more explicitly. The rock, folk and pop leanings of Medicine for Birds mostly remain, but they’re paired with reggaeton, trap, R&B and art-pop influences, culminating in a blissful, percussive pop triumph. Garcia’s Cha Cha Palace pairs glitchy and rootsy sounds with stories from Garcia’s upbringing and inside her soul, and it’s the furthest thing from one-dimensional. —Lizzie Manno

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