Feature: Bandcamp in the COVID-19 Era

Bandcamp is a drug for music lovers and knowing that your support directly buttresses the performers’ work – on May 1, mind you, without Bandcamp’s cut removed – has got to up the potency of the aural narcotic a bit. Here is a sadly incomplete compendium of what I’ve been listening to and downloading on Bandcamp in the last few months. Organized according to some sort of archaic alphabet, as to not express bias.

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Everyone’s favorite alt-indie troubadour serves up the usual Drag City and Palace fare on his Bandcamp channel. Check it out, though, for those mysterious and mysteriously deep-cut “mix-tapes” of unreleased material.


Hatching Under The Stars, which Engel released in April, is one of 2020’s most haunting and Edward Gorey-inspired outings. They have almost 30 frighteningly and consistently good LPs up for the offering here.


Lea, who won NPR’s Tiny Desk in ’16, produces enrapturing work that scratches two itches – the one for haunting melodies, looped ad infinitum, and the one for pop sensibilities as filtered through the timbre of a phonographic cylinder.


Apricot Trees, Rachael McElhiney’s too-short EP, is a gem hidden in plain sight. It features some of the most breathtaking and bare-naked soul music you’ll hear this year – and McElhiney pulls it off with just ukulele and that smoky voice.


You’ve already been inspired by Amanda Palmer; you just don’t release it yet. Her take on Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” is better than the original by a mile – there, I said it.


The world’s best math rock is coming from Japan – you can quote me on that. Blistering technical chops meet ambitious song-structures. There’s not a weak link in the trio. 02 is definitely worth downloading, maybe even twice.


Rubbery and jazzy post-rock from Reno. The new Buh Bye LP is good, though I am a die-hard devotee of the group’s 2018 self-titled outing.


This multi-instrumentalist and composer has seized on corona-times to release a flood of intimate and sometimes breathtaking music. Recommended for the post-classical aficionado.


Matt Mehlan is an underappreciated genius and Skeletons deserves to be on post-rock mantle right alongside Gastr del Sol. Ugly and wondrous poly-scapes, care of everyone’s favorite label-collective – Shinkoyo.


The blistering trio TRVSS released my favorite Pittsburgh record of 2019 and, if noise-rock is your speed, you’ll want these guys on speed-dial. – Justin Vellucci, MusicTAP, May 1, 2020


About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.