Bandcamp is a music website that allows artists to upload their music and set the price for download. The appeal of Bandcamp is that all the money made from downloads go to the artist and they do not need to sign to any record label to get distribution. A few artists chose to make their music free “pay-what-you-want” albums. Here are eight of my favorites. Click on the player to get to their page to download the music.
Trip-hop may have peaked in popularity in the 90s with groups like Massive Attack, DJ Shadow and Portishead, but there are still artists reviving the old style today. Trip-hop takes the beats of hip-hop and uses them to create soundscapes meant more for low-key parties than riding the streets. Shag is a great example of the genre, and his album is free!
Observer Drift – Echolation
Starting by taking vocal and musical influence from Foals and sending it into ethereal heights, Observer Drift is a one man band that sounds like anything but that. The songs on this album are expansive and beautiful, evoking fog shrouded harbors and distant Arctic islands. It’s an excellent album and one of my favorite Bandcamp albums. My wife introduced me too him and likes them so much she included one of their songs on our wedding mix-CD.
Black Flamingo – Winter Sun
Self-styled “beach goth” bland Black Flamingo balances retro 60s vocals with post-punk influenced music, creating a relaxing but dark album that takes the best parts of its influences and mixes them together. The vocal harmonies on Winter Sun are well sung and the music adds a cool swagger to the band. Definitely one of the best kept secrets on Bandcamp.
Four Tet- Randoms
Four Tet is a well-known electronic artist who is considered one of the most influential electronic acts of the early 2000s, especially in IDM circles. Earlier this year Four Tet quietly released a free album on Bandcamp called Randoms, a collection of various pieces that never made it on his albums. It’s a must have for Four Tet fans and a good introduction for new fans of his music.
Trevor Something- Soulless Computer Boy and The Eternal Render
Genre hoping electronic artist Trevor Something has carved out a cult following with his retro-influenced music. Mixing R&B vocals with New Wave synths and vaporwave aesthetics, Trevor Something’s albums are great examples of the growing synthwave genre that thrives on platforms like Bandcamp.
slugqueen- uncle no one
Not for the easily offended, slugqueen is a Baltimore based lo-fi musician who creates scruffy indie-rock songs about topics ranging from oral sex to breakfast cereal. Her garage-band production takes some getting used to, but her razor sharp lyrics and sense of humor are great.
As I mentioned earlier, Bandcamp is a great platform for electronic artists. WMD has been around for a few years and makes music that sounds like instrumental outtakes from The Postal Service’s Give Up. With songs like “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”, it’s clear he is pandering to the demographic who grew up worshiping Give Up, but that doesn’t matter. His album is still great.
Pure Dreams- Synthesizers
Hailing from Poland, Pure Dreams is a great example of vaporwave music with his cool detachment and worship of retro electronic sounds. Pure Dreams is a little more ambient than other vaporwave artists that you can find on Bandcamp like Blank Banshee, but he can definitely craft an excellent soundscape.