Thursday, 2 July 2020

Column: CPRW Recommendations For Bandcamp Day

Tomorrow (Friday July 3rd) Bandcamp are having another day where they waive all of their fees to help support the artists on their platform. Bandcamp recognises that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of bands and artists have lost a major revenue stream due to not being able to gig. These special days have been amazingly helpful for the bands and have also brought the music community together. We’re big fans of Bandcamp here at CPRW and Marcus had the idea of each of us picking a band or release to recommend people check out tomorrow.

Self-Indulgent One-Take Woefuls (Acoustic) by Goodbye Blue Monday

If sadder versions of really sad songs is your thing then this is an EP for you! Glasgow’s Goodbye Blue Monday take three old songs and one new one and strip them back to make them so heartbreakingly beautiful you can’t help but get emotional. The songs sound so different to their rowdy, full band accompaniments and it really is a testament to Graham Lough’s incredible song writing ability. The EP is raising funds for Rad Apples and Conroy’s Basement in Dundee, home of the wonderful Make-That-A-Take Records. (This EP also comes with a trigger alert – if you’re struggling in any way, please be aware when listening to this EP).

Dead Inside by CF98 (Dan #2)

This EP is a fifteen-minute slice of punk-rock heaven. Each song is a chorus-driven hard-hitter complemented by perfect backing riffs. They also touch on great subjects such as gender stereotypes and mental health. As soon as I picked up this record, the title track (Dead Inside) resonated with me and helped me with my personal mental health issues I'm facing during lockdown. It felt like a friendly reminder that I'm not the only one feeling a little dead inside right now. If you like NOFX or Useless I.D. then don't sleep on this little EP – it's the best one I've heard so far this year!

We Live Here by Bob Vylan

London two piece grime punk act Bob Vylan released We Live Here on June 5th. From what I've heard from it, the album is eerily relevant to the current social climate and that makes it a very important listen. It's a politically hard hitting album that will inspire, enlighten and educate anyone listening to it. If you want to hear the entire album, you have to buy it as Bob Vylan have decided not to release it in full on streaming platforms.

Structure / Average At Best by Sunliner (Emma)

At the beginning of the year, before things all went down the drain, I made a list of ten bands I was excited about in 2020 and one of those bands was Leeds-based foursome Sunliner. Formerly known as Jake & The Jellyfish, Sunliner put out their first new music under their new guise recently. With the help of Lockjaw Records, Structure / Average At Best is the name of said release and both songs are excellent singalongable melodic punk rock with lyrical content that I’m sure many will be able to relate to – think working a minimum wage job you don’t enjoy and wondering where the time goes and/or what you’re doing with your life. As with all bands, Sunliner’s plans for 2020 have been put on hold but I’m glad they were able to get these songs out. I expect 2021 will be a big year for them.

Lockdown Unplugged by Ripcord Records

Lockdown Unplugged is a forty-five track acoustic compilation from Ripcord Records. It features a whole host of our favourites such as Paper Rifles, Burnt Tapes, Müg, ALLDEEPENDS, Don Blake, Codename Colin, Knife Club, Dead Neck and many more. All the acts featured recorded acoustic versions whilst in lockdown for the compilation. If forty-five acoustic tracks isn’t enough to wet your appetite then know that Lockdown Unplugged is also raising money for the mental health charity Support In Mind. If you buy the compilation on Bandcamp day, the charity will receive even more money. It’s a no-brainer purchase.

Jilted Lover by Quaker Wedding (Marcus)

Since my job went remote, my furthest drive is now is to the “other side of town”, which in my small city is about six minutes away. Coincidentally, it’s just enough time to listen to both songs from Quaker Wedding’s first single, “Jilted Lover”. Both songs are a perfect blend of self-loathing and regret, with a gruff delivery that really hits the spot. If there are any better songs than these that have been released this year, I haven’t heard them. I’m looking forward to their debut full length “In Transit” on Salinas Records in September.

Heavy Seas by Misfortune Cookie (Richard)

Let’s face it, this year has been an absolute write off and whilst we should have been basking in a summer of awesome tunes and amazing gigs we’ve been reduced to thinking of what could have been. One band I feel have been affected massively by this is the wonderful Misfortune Cookie... a name that seems ever-so apt given the circumstances. Last year’s Heavy Seas was an album full of bright, big summer songs and over the course of the year would have been taking their brand of Northern punk to the masses with some high profile support slots with the likes of Signals Midwest and Strike Anywhere (I was hoping to catch them at both) as well as a stint at Manchester Punk Festival. Sadly they’ll be unable to make any new friends at any of these now cancelled shows; so if you’ve not already done so pick up a copy of one of the best albums of last year, self-isolate in your garden, grab a craft beer and immerse yourself in its wonderfulness.

Covered-19 by Cherbourg Harps Assembly

Cherbourg Harps Assembly features Jan and Claire from Aberdeen bands Seas, Starry. Claire came up with the idea to cover 19 songs for an album to raise money for an animal sanctuary named Willows, which is based in the North East of Scotland. Willows looks after elderly and abused animals and relies on donations to stay afloat. Obviously, like a lot of charities and organisations, it has been hit hard by COVID-19. Among the artists covered on Covered-19 are Abba, Madonna, The Beatles, Tragical History Tour, Press Club, Stevie Nicks and Sonic Youth.

Stay Home. Stay Alive. Organise. by Davey Dynamite

Whenever somebody asks me for an artist they might not have heard of to check out, I will nine times out of ten say Davey Dynamite. Their last album Holy Shit is my favourite ever. In May, Davey released a brand new song titled Stay Home. Stay Alive. Organise. It’s an acoustic track that deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how the government and media are using it for their own gain. The title of the track is based off the slogan by the Poor People’sCampaign. All money made from the track will be given to Davey’s neighbourhood’s mutual aid group for services like mask/sanitiser distribution, food delivery, supporting houseless communities and paying rent. If interested, you can download the track for free now and donate here to avoid the cut that Bandcamp takes – or download it on Bandcamp day and everyone wins.

The Ol’ Reacharound by Monday Morning Justice (Robyn) 

We Did This Records is a DIY punk distro from South Africa, and their Bandcamp is jam-packed with excellent SA punk releases. Most recently, the Johannesburg-based band Monday Morning Justice put out an EP entitled ‘The Ol’ Reacharound’ that’s been keeping me going while we’ve all been under lockdown and unable to have any local shows. MMJ’s sound borrows from a lot of influences, mixing together folk and ska punk with a liberal dash of South African flavour. Their latest EP really shows the band at the top of their game. The people behind We Did This Records are also just lovely humans who would really appreciate your support.

South Somewhere Else by Nana Grizol
Athens, Georgia, indie folk punk band Nana Grizol released their new album South Somewhere Else on June 26th. Lead by former Defiance, Ohio member Theo Hilton, this is the follow up to 2018's Theo Zumm LP. A concept album inspired by growing up in Athens, South Somewhere Else is one of the most beautiful folk punk albums I've ever heard. It's a quieter and slicker sounding style than you might expect but still empowers you in ways that all the best punk albums do.

Pleasure Vision by Bacchae (Emma)

I’m ashamed to say that I only came across Washington, D.C., four-piece Bacchae when they were listed on Angry Grrrl Music Of The Indie Rock Persuasion’s 100+ Black Artists To Support On Bandcamp Day article last Bandcamp day – but I guess that was the point of the article, to check out bands you may not know! I instantly took a liking to their synth-driven raw indie punk and the album Pleasure Vision has fast become one of my favourites of the year. They’re due to play The Fest this year (if it happens) so I’m definitely going to check them out live if I can.

New Sun EP by Wrong Life

Wrong Life is the new project from Fraser Murderburger. Due to the current lockdown restrictions delaying the recording of the debut Wrong Life, Fraser started writing the second Wrong Life album which lead to him taking a break from that to create this EP. If you're already familiar with The Murderburgers then there will be familiarity here but Wrong Life present a pop punk with a more mid-tempo and restrained approach that really allows Fraser's brilliant lyrics to shine through. If this is a little taster of what to expect from Wrong  Life then I can't wait to hear the full album.

The Way To Bombs EP by Smiley & The Underclass

London dub punks Smiley & The Underclass released their new EP, The Way To Bombs, this week. Mixing reggae and punk rock to make empowering protest music, the four piece have been working hard on spreading their message to fans all over the world for years now. The Way To Bombs is the follow up to 2017's brilliantly received debut album Rebels Out There. Smiley & The Underclass are a band that can expertly capture the energy and passion from their live show and recreate it on record.

Untenable by Bad Moves (Emma)

Released just last Friday, I saw that a lot of people on Twitter were stoked for Untenable, the latest album by Bad Moves. I soon understood why when I listened to the album myself – it’s really, really good. If infectiously catchy power pop is something you might be into too then this is a must buy for Bandcamp day. It’s certainly been the spirit lifter that I’ve needed this past week and I won’t be stopping listening any time soon.

Of course, we would be remiss not to recommend the CPRW Records catalogue during this post. So far our little label has put out six different releases raising money for five different charities – Mind, Crisis, Macmillan, Music Venue Trust and Refugee Action UK. Have you got them all yet? Bandcamp Day is a great day to complete your collection.

Our good friends in Burnt Tapes are also currently donating any money they make on their Bandcamp page to Black Minds Matter. For my money, they are one of the best bands in the world at the moment and are due to play The Fest in Gainesville later this year. This is a great opportunity to delve into their entire back catalogue (including their brilliant first release Wasted History) as well as two new acoustic covers and support a very worthy cause.

If you didn’t pick them up on the last Bandcamp day, it's well worth checking out Decolonise Fest’s Bandcamp page to purchase one – or all – of their compilations. Decolonise Fest is a London-based DIY punk fest created by and for punx of colour. Comps like these are vital to diversifying your listening habits from typical all white male bands and DIY groups such as Decolonise Fest need our support and solidarity now more than ever.

If you're not on the hunt for new music but do want some new threads then head to Solidarity Not Silience's Bandcamp page. Solidarity Not Silence are a group of women facing a defamation case for speaking up about the disgusting treatment of women by a well known musician. Since 2017, they have been crowd funding the legal costs of this case. If you want to help out this extremely worthy cause and have a fresh new T-shirt to wear then click the link below.

Last but certainly not least, INiiT Records, the new label created by Our Lives In Cinema frontman and unsung hero of the UK DIY punk scene Mark Bartlett, are donating all the money they receive to organisations working for equality for those who have been deprived of it. So far INiiT Records have put out two stellar releases from Ode To Sleep and most recently High Visions. Two great acts you need to check out.

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