It’s another Bandcamp Friday and another first Friday of the month in which the streaming platform waves all its fees to hand over 100% of the profits to the artists and record labels selling the music. According to CEO Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp Fridays have paid out more than $93 million so far!
But this month's installment is a little, uh, complicated. In March Bandcamp workers announced they were going to unionize and in recent weeks they’ve accused management of union busting. So what do we do? Do we buy music on Bandcamp? Or do we boycott and stand with workers?
Worry not! Bandcamp United is PRO-BANDCAMP FRIDAY!
On Bandcamp Fridays, Bandcamp doesn’t take a cut out of artist sales. We’re not calling for a boycott of Bandcamp Friday. There is currently no picket line to cross.— Bandcamp United (@bandcampunited) April 5, 2023
So buy, buy, buy and support musicians. But Bandcamp United are also asking supporters to email leadership, including Diamond, and “ask them to cease union busting.” They have resources and more information at bandcampunited.org.
Now let’s talk records! The Stranger teamed up with our pals at the Mercury in Portland to pick some of the best Pacific Northwest releases.
La Fonda, We Are Infinite
Today Seattle’s dreamiest pop stars La Fonda release their highly anticipated full-length We Are Infinite. The record—produced by Mike Davis (Great Grandpa and Pool Kids) and recorded at the famous Frelard recording studio Hall of Justice—sparkles with optimism in the fight to find balance in a world where it feels like all the scales are tipped in someone else's favor. Stay tuned because next week we have so much more to say about this stellar sister act in our spring music package. For now, pick up the record and drift away.
La Fonda’s We Are Infinite album release show is Thursday, April 13 at Neumos with Lisa Prank, Chinese American Bear, and Cujo Boogie.
Mudhoney, Plastic Eternity
Also out today is Mudhoney’s Plastic Eternity. In March Dave Segal reassured devoted Mudhoney fans that all the band’s “tried-and-true elements are present and in elite fitness,” but the band has also thrown in a few surprises, including “Little Dogs,” a song dedicated to all the tiny pups of the world. “I take delight in the joy they get from sniffing on a log / In these times of trouble, I love a little dog.” Same, Mudhoney. Same.
Ghost Pop, It Was As If
In 2022, between the middle of June and the day after Christmas, Aaron Liu released six full-length albums and an eight-track tribute to Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng—all under the name Ghost Pop. Ben Salmon recently profiled the Oregon musician, whose compositions invite comparisons to his wide-ranging, eclectic tastes: the Beach Boys, old soul music, classical, and singer-songwriter influences like Paul Simon and Elliott Smith. Since that profile Liu has another record ready for listeners. Get on It Was As If immediately.
Telehealth, Content Oscillator
Last week Telehealth released their debut album Content Oscillator and it’s a must-hear for fans of Talking Heads, Kraftwerk, and/or the synth-rock band with “a rockin’ rhythm and a high-tech sound” that performs in the talent show at the end of Revenge of the Nerds. Opening track “Idiot Proof (nO SoUp Du JoUr)” is a by-the-book krautrock number with a chorus kissed by a new wave angel while “Unsafe Feeling” sounds like Fugazi being played through an Alphie II as the Cars play on a nearby radio.
Telehealth play Madame Lou’s Thursday, April 27, with Tomten (who have a new record coming in May) and Coral Grief (who just released their six-song EP Daydrops in February).
Black Ends, “My Own Dead” and “Song for a Sickhead”
If you’ve been loving Yellowjackets in part because the soundtrack is full of the best '90s alt-rock throwbacks like Portishead, PJ Harvey, and Hole, stop being that stereotypical old person who doesn’t listen to new music and get into Black Ends. Their new two-song release was recorded by Jack “Godfather of Grunge” Endino (who also produced their 2020 EP Stay Evil), but their songs aren’t just a rehash of Sub Pop circa 1994. Vocalist Nicolle Swims is clearly exorcising some demons, but it’s a slow burn, a controlled release. Black Ends dances with the ghosts that haunt them before letting go.
Siren and the Sea, Gravity Wave
As Mercury music columnist Jenni Moore pointed out in this week, former Portlander Cristina Cano put out a new Siren and the Sea album called Gravity Wave, at the end of March via Bathysphere Records. Only four songs are available streaming platforms like Spotify, but on Bandcamp fans can listen to and purchase the full 8-track album. If you like your synth melodies arranged like crashing waves, this could be your main chiller.
On April 1 Ol’ Doris released Autumn Leaves, a record they recorded “on a rainy Seattle day in November 2021.” Thankfully, Seattle’s fall is a lot like Seattle’s spring so the introspective indie rock hits all the same.
Timothy Fife’s Clear Off was released March 17. Dave Segal recently praised it in his new music column for its “glistening, deep-space excursions and ambient bliss-outs.”
And have you grabbed the new Sandrider record? Do it! Grab it! As Kevin Diers wrote in his profile of the band, Enveletration is full of crushing riffs and rock ‘n’ roll fun and who doesn’t need more of that in their life?
Get more great recommendations from our Bandcamp Friday posts for September 2022 and February 2023.