When the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic first began to sink in back in the distant, alternate universe that we’ll call “March,” Bandcamp was quick to respond by waiving it’s revenue share, which already dwarfs compared to the costs of major streaming platforms, to support artists. This prompted fans to spend fifteen times the amount of a normal Friday, purchasing $4.3 million of music and merch, according to Bandcamp. This paled in comparison to the $7.1 million fans spent when Bandcamp repeated the event in April.
Bandcamp has announced that it will again waive its revenue share today until midnight Pacific time and on the first Friday of the month for the rest of 2020, which makes now the perfect time to catch up on what artists have been doing throughout the pandemic. Here are some highlights of Columbus artists’ releases since the pandemic hit.
Damn the Witch Siren – Following 2018’s Red Magic, these witchy electro-rockers released White Magic at the beginning of May, and it might be their best yet. Though a little softer than its predecessor as the duo pondered isolation (before the pandemic hit), White Magic is full of energy somewhere between the alt-ingenuity of Chvrches and the atmospheric pop ballads of Lana Del Rey.
Sounds May Swell – Though this math rock quintet only began releasing music in fall of 2019, you might recognize vocalist Jordan Sandidge from The Turbos. This is a decidedly different affair, full of noodling guitars and rhythmic sharp turns. The guitar work is particularly excellent and resembles TTNG and Toe in its airy twinkling.
Mery Steel – Ryan Stolte-Sawa spent years as a backing musician before debuting this outstanding dream-folk project. Mery Steel brings americana and twangy sounds into a world where they may float away at any moment. These three songs were recorded in the band members’ separate home studio spaces during isolation.
Dandelion Hunter – This lo-fi bedroom recording project has a reputation for sampling found answering machines but this four track release sees Collin Geddis deepening his experimental tendencies. There are quirky-voiced forgotten pop songs, and then there are moments when those songs seem to have been photocopied, ran through the shredder, and violently reassembled.
Joey Aich – Pandemic has proven prolific for Joey Aich’s musical output. The rapper brings together two sets released earlier in the spring along with a handful of new tracks, with a portion of proceeds benefiting groups related to Black Lives Matter. Aich favors jazzy and sometimes swirling productions that let his verses sit clear in the front.
The Esteems – This bells-led bit of hooky alt-rock bliss precedes the band’s upcoming What Remains EP. Jessie Roman leads the band with a voice fit for pop that propels the band toward upbeat numbers.
Great Plains – This obscure but fondly remembered college rock group was a prize of the Columbus indie world in the ’80s. Their scrappy garage rock incorporated bits of jangle pop, country, and punk to earn the love of stalwart fans. This compilation, while not newly released, has been newly added to Bandcamp alongside several other releases.
Cloudkicker – The prog-metal made by Ben Sharp has developed an almost cult following. Given that he makes the music alone, its not clear whether his upcoming album, Solitude, out September 8, is a reference to his creative state or the newer isolation of a pandemic. Either way, lead single “Not to Scale or Painted” promises it will deliver the dense, chugging rush of complex riffs Cloudkicker is known for.
BABS – BABS stands for Boss Ass Bitches. Debuting in May with a three-track EP, each track featuring a different lead vocalist, this band has made a strong first impression. Harder-edged rock meets daring violin and unrelenting vocal delivery.
Kali Dreamer – The energy Kali Dreamer brings to stage is tough to muster in a recording, but the skittery, fast-paced emo rap gets at least close. This four track release references Dale Earnhardt in its title, begins with what sounds like accordion, and samples Mean Girls.
Slimfit – The title of this album pretty much sums up the band’s motto, or at least the ideal that frontman Josh Davis seems intent to spread far and wide. If you’re a fan of pop-punk that celebrates the little precious things in all our lives (like wrestling, pineapple on pizza, or dad jokes) you might appreciate Slimfit.
Cherry Chrome – Around 2016 Cherry Chrome seemed like one of the most promising bands to watch in Columbus, but had soon disappeared with an expected album never arriving. Place of Love finally delivers with recordings begun in 2018 that capture the singer-songwriter gone alt-rocker sound of the band–and a donated Lydia Loveless track, “Sorry (I Want You So Much).” Vocalist/guitarist Xenia Bleveans-Holm has more recently performed with Golomb while guitarist Mick Martinez now plays with Snarls.
Noble Vices – At times squiggly, and at times lush, Noble Vices’ most recent EP marks the band’s best work yet. There’s a bit of an ’80s character, if only in the echo and chorus-effected guitars, and a bit of yearning alt-rock grandiosity, but the trio have done a good job of condensing influences into something with its own flare.