Today’s a good day to buy some music. Since the start of the pandemic, Bandcamp has waived its fees on purchases on the first Friday of the month, giving all money directly to the artists and labels who made the music. Many bands have then paid that good deed forward, and dedicated some or all of their Bandcamp Friday proceeds to various charities and causes. You get new music, the people who made it get more money for it than they would from any other streaming or download service, and you might wind up helping a good cause, too. Buying music on Bandcamp Friday is one of the few financial interactions you can feel completely good about all across the board.
Many bands are using this month’s Bandcamp Friday to raise money to support the two Democratic Senators running in Georgia’s run-off elections in January. Earlier this week Death Cab for Cutie announced they’d be releasing an EP of covers of songs written by Georgia musicians, and now Merge Records has taken that idea to a whole new level. The iconic North Carolina indie has released a full album of Georgia covers from 17 of its artists, with proceeds benefitting two organizations helping to fight voter suppression and mobilize the electorate in Georgia, Fair Fight and Mijente. Going to Georgia was released on Bandcamp today, and will remain exclusively on Bandcamp through January 5, the date of the Georgia election. At that point it’ll be available on other streaming services.
Songs on Going to Georgia include Wye Oak’s version of Pylon’s “Crazy,” Superchunk’s tribute to the fantastic and deeply underrated Athens band The Glands, Will Butler of the Arcade Fire’s take on New Adventures in Hi-Fi-era R.E.M., and not one but two different B-52’s covers. Other Merge artists include Hiss Golden Messenger, H.C. McEntire (who gets help from Angel Olsen and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls), and Atlanta’s own the Rock*A*Teens, with covers of songs by Otis Redding, Trisha Yearwood, Cat Power, the Allman Brothers Band, and more. It’s a cool overview of Merge’s roster, and also a diverse snapshot of Georgia’s vital musical history.
Yes, Paste is based in Georgia, so yes, we’re probably biased, but c’mon: no state has been more crucial to America’s rich musical legacy than Georgia.
Here’s Mac McCaughan, Merge co-owner and Superchunk frontman, on the comp.
We live in North Carolina, where a racist Republican legislature has worked for a generation to undermine democracy through unprecedented voter suppression. Our neighbors in Georgia have successfully fought back, through the efforts of Fair Fight and other organizations. The voters who turned Georgia blue in November can now elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, take back power in the Senate, and make true progress possible in this country.
The Merge artists on this comp came together quickly, recording in various quarantine situations, to pay tribute to their favorite artists from Georgia, or maybe just record their favorite songs with “Georgia” in the title, and to support those working hard in Georgia to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
Voter registration in Georgia ends Dec. 7!
Early voting period starts December 14!
Election day is January 5!
You can listen to one song on the compilation at Bandcamp right now, Titus Andronicus’s cover of “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. It’s an interesting choice for a single, given Titus Andronicus’s, uh, interesting history with Athens. To hear the rest you’ll have to lay out some money. It all goes to a good cause.
Here’s the full line-up, if you’re interested. And okay, yes, there’s one song on here that’s not by a Georgia artist, but it at least has the word Georgia in the title, and is named after a person named Georgia—it’s Lambchop’s cover of a Yo La Tengo song.
1. Will Butler – “Electrolite” [R.E.M.]
2. Fruit Bats – “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” [Otis Redding]
3. Superchunk (feat. William Tyler) – “When I Laugh” [The Glands]
4. Eric Bachmann – “The Truth” [Precious Bryant]
5. H.C. McEntire (feat. Amy Ray & Angel Olsen) – “Georgia Rain” [Trisha Yearwood]
6. Ayes of Love – “You’re Just About to Lose Your Clown” [Ray Charles]
7. The Rock*A*Teens – “The End of the World” [Brenda Lee]
8. William Tyler – “Little Martha” [The Allman Brothers Band]
9. Wye Oak – “Crazy” [Pylon]
10. Ibibio Sound Machine – “Save Their Souls” [Bohannon]
11. Hiss Golden Messenger – “The Greatest” [Cat Power]
12. TORRES – “Topaz” [The B-52’s]
13. Ross Flournoy (of Apex Manor) – “Rainy Night in Georgia” [Brook Benton]
14. Titus Andronicus – “Closer to Fine” [Indigo Girls]
15. The Orbiting Human Circus – “The Flowers of Jeremy Ayers’ Garden” [R.E.M.]
16. Gauche – “Song for a Future Generation” [The B-52’s]
17. Lambchop (feat. David Kilgour) – “Georgia Considers the Two Blue Ones (Thursday)” [Yo La Tengo]