Where did all the record shops go? In our area of east kent the amount of record shops left could be counted on the fingers of one hand, a hand with no thumb or pinkie. Unless you count the supermarkets, they sell c.d’s, c.d’s that must appeal to some people, maybe to people with taste so bland they wouldn’t dream of putting a little pepper on their beans on toast for fear of it being too spicy. So lets not count supermarkets. Basically what i’m saying is there ain’t many record shops anymore. Even HMV is barely recognisable now, part Carphone Warehouse and part Dixons with a few albums stashed away at the back out of view. The last time I went there you could pick up the Pulled Apart By Horses self titled album for a mere £25!!!! and they wonder why they have a decline in cd sales. Apparently no-one buys albums anymore, especially not guitar based ones. Rock’n’roll is dead. It must be, I read it on twitter.
Obviously, most people get their music digitally these days. I personally don’t do illegal downloads, mainly because the laptop I have can hardly function as it is, it could never handle the extra workload. Luckily a good friend introduced me to Bandcamp, or to put it another way the best website in the whole www. Before Bandcamp I used iTunes a lot. There is nothing wrong with iTunes and I still use it but it’s a bit like going in the big HMV in Oxford st all the time and not knowing that select-a-disc is round the corner in Berwick st. Please note, I’ve not been to London in a while so my references may be a bit out of date. Going on bandcamp is like going to an independent record store, a really good one that sells great music at great prices, sometimes letting you pay what you want or insisting that you have albums for free. You can always try before you buy, stream whole songs instead of just giving you 30 second soundbites. Importantly, the money you pay goes directly to the band/indie label which means that you really get to support independent music. Bands you find tag other bands/genres/labels to help you find more new music. It’s easy to find music from all over the world as well as stuff from your local scene so the next time you turn up to a local show you can do that ‘grab the mic from the singer and sing yourself’ thing which is popular these days. It really helped me get my love of new music back. It let me know that there is still a really healthy scene out there. So the way we shop for music has changed but the basics are still the same, you can whore it up at the big stores or you can go indie and still feel part of something, just now you can do it sat in your pants in that 5 minute break you allow yourself away from all the porno. If you haven’t been there then go.
Here are a few of my favourite things you can find at bandcamp:
Algernon Cadwallader – Listen to.
This is 4 tracks of absolute bliss to download completely free of charge comprising of 2 older songs and 2 from the new album ‘Parrot Flies’. I couldn’t help but be blown away by this band the first time I heard them, playing a loose Cap’n Jazz style emo full of energy and enough fun to give you a face ache. They recently toured but at the same time i was having surgery so missed out on what must have been an epic experience. Track 2 ‘Some Kind Of Cadwallader’ could be one of the best songs ever written, love love love it!!
Basement – Songs about the Weather
Basement are one of the best bands the UK has to offer, hailing from Ipswich they play fast, heavy emo hardcore in the vein of ‘Title Fight’. No-nonsense, no gimmicks just straight up, honest and essential, these 6 songs are on a ‘name your price’ basis with no minimum fee. They were the best band on the bill when I saw them in Margate a few months ago supporting Daylight and Hostage Calm.
Iron Chic – Not Like This
Iron Chic are from Long Island and play punk rock exactly as it should be played. Plenty of fist in the air choruses to brighten up the most boring of days. The kind of songs you wanna get up and jump around to. This is a complete 10 track album and again they allow you to name your price with no minimum, bargain!!
Castevet (cstvt) – The Echo & The Light
This is 8 tracks of complete emo/punk brilliance. Released in 2009 on the fantastic Tiny Engines label, CSTVT play plinky fiddly emo straight from the 1990’s with a hard, fast edge. The kind of mathy excellence Braid would be making if they were still around, oh they are still around, oh well get this anyway. This is $8 which will translate to about £5.14, and worth every single penny.
Snowing – I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted
Following in a similar vein to CSTVT, I had to mention this as Snowing split up a week or so ago and this a shame, a damn shame. This is a really good record. Fast, noisy, complicated indie emo with a loose DIY sound. I only got this album a month or so before they split and feel gutted that i’ll never experience Snowing in a live setting. They may be gone but this will rocking my stereo for a long time to come. 11 songs for no money, you can’t say fairer than that.
And one last mention goes to a band from Margate who, once upon a time, I was apart of. They are once again a fully functioning band that maybe coming to a town near you at some point so watch out. I haven’t seen them yet since they reformed but here is a link for the free ‘greatest hits’ comp that will transport you back to the turn of the millenium, backpacks and ponity fingers at the ready, its the Babies Three
Thanks guys, let me know what you think and any suggestions for bands I should be checking out.
Below is a pic that should make you laugh your arse off.