A friend asked if I “hung out” at Bandcamp, lurking around the site to discover new music. I replied that it had never even occurred to me to do so. I predominantly find new things to listen to by clicking on links accompanying interesting-looking reviews and blog posts, augmented by occasional word-of-mouth recommendations. I grew up mostly listening to the radio/watching TV, reading music magazines and, later, fanzines. Internet radio, websites and blogs have simply replaced those functions in exactly the same way.
I’m curious, first of all, for your thoughts. How do you find new things to hear?
Secondly, I was curious about the suggestion of using Bandcamp in this manner. I went to its homepage – for the first time – and pulled up at random the pages of the first few acts I saw.
This is the sort of whimsical grown-up pop that The Beautiful South used to specialise in. It’s polished and, given the size of the backing band, clearly has a bit of money behind it. Marian hails from Anchorage, Alaska, and there is something a little chilly about it.
“The music is a little silly but mostly very sincere and honest, mostly acoustic, occasionally symphonic, eclectic, rhythmic and warm with a side of whimsy. Marian approximates the sweeter, wilder improvisational vocals in her live shows more on this record than on any to date.”
If I liked that sort of music at all, I would really like this.
But I don’t.
Blooba Doop Scooba
Well, this is odd. It sounds like it belongs on the Scooby Doo movie soundtrack, and that’s about all I can think to say about it. (Bizarre processed jazz-style scatting over cheesy 80s-style keyboard backing.)
It’s kinda catchy. I like it, but suspect the novelty would wear off after a couple of plays.
I imagine this lot are fairly fashionable. It has that sort of hipster-cred feel to it, with its bouncy “world”-style intro, and upbeat acoustic guitars and spacy echoes on the vocals before it starts sounding like a hippy band from the late 1960s. (*looks it up* Ah, yes: K Ishibashi was in Jupiter One, of Montreal and Regina Spektor.) It is altogether too perky for my tastes, but should find its audience among those who liked Sufjan Stevens before he got interesting.
This is a chap called Ben Sharp who makes predominantly short, sharp stabs of instrumental math-rocky metal. He files it under “progressive”, and it comes over like a sort of grubby DIY no-vocal take on System of a Down. He’s most frequently compared to Meshuggah, though he personally cites Steve Reich and Radiohead as influences. This is the one I’ve enjoyed the most so far.
Béatrice Martin sounds a bit like a French Saint Etienne (don’t try to process that too much). It’s breezy guitar pop with breathy, saccharine, girly-girly vocals. I can’t listen too long before I start to feel a bit queasy, but lovers of intricately textured, upbeat French pop will find plenty to like.
Everythinks A Ripple
This is electronica – drum and bass with the odd wub of obligatory dubstep – and huge belted-out soulful vocals. The globetrotting Australian behind it, Benjamin Stanford, seems fairly low-key, but I can imagine this becoming absolutely huge. It’s the sort of music that begs to be included on soundtracks and adverts, and is good enough to get people asking, “What is this?”