The modern world affords us many opportunities to discover new music: Live shows, record stores. Zines, blogs, books. Social media. The algorithm. Radio.
In honor of this month’s Bandcamp Friday, which gives listeners the chance to support touring and recording musicians in a time where most can neither tour nor record, we’re offering you another: Recommendations from WTJU Rock disc jockeys, whose selections encompass many genres, from rock to jazz, harp to hip-hop, and everything, anything in-between.
Refrigerate After Opening, Saturdays 11pm-1am
YĪN YĪN, The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers
From the band: “A strange cocktail made of disc grooves, powerful “Thai beat” tunes, and experimental tropi-synths.” Also Bongo Joe is a damn good record label, so check that out.
The Ar-Kaics, Ar-Kives Vol. 1
Gooey garage that’ll really stick with ya. Also from Virginia. Another record label to dig into.
Not for everyone. Probably the only black metal record in this list. A worthy representative.
конец солнечных дней (the end of sundays), счастье, что хочу найти (happiness I want to find)
Russian post-punk that lightens up any dark room.
That Kid, Crush
Manic panic dream pop with collaborations from the one and only Ms. Cheeseburger.
Uncle Dave Lewis
The Early Music Show, Mondays 7-9pm
Annie De Blanco
Merging with the Night, Wednesdays 11pm-1am
Angelica Garcia – Cha Cha Palace
Such a unique voice with something to say. Her album Medicine for the Birds is also great.
Ace of Cups
All-women band who opened for many big acts in the 1960s but never had a recording contract or career…until now. Putting out lots of great music and joined by many of the musicians they opened for. Ace of Cups is the name of their first album and they have just released Sing Your Dreams.
Just put out a gentle little song called “Changing.” Break out album My Beautiful Black Dog is wonderfully off the wall and crazy and about being wonderfully off the wall and crazy.
Prince Fatty and Schneice
I can’t stop playing “Black Rabbit.” Their reggae version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is as fantastic as the original, which is fantastic squared. I imagine that it was easy to go over the top, or down the hole with abandon, with this song but they honed it down (like an over detailed email that you write and then delete most of before sending) to perfection. Or maybe I just made that up, regardless, I like it and enjoy belting out, “take a pill…no…why?”
Good political stuff. “Black and Blue” and “A Prayer for the Sane” are recent songs worth checking out and paying for!
Foggy Notion, Saturdays 1-3am
I don’t always Bandcamp but am intrigued by it all…
This track makes me think of a time and place and what did happen and what could have happened and what will happen all at once. Just groovin’ enough to make your head bob and your eyes flutter in a daze of a haze.
Psych garage is my jam! Understated vocals with just enough guitar twang to make a girl happy.
Indonesian rock and roll and the perfect song length, 1:47.
Her Presence by Pillars
Lovely electronic track that could easily be placed in Sofia Coppola’s next flick.
Foggy Notion, Saturdays 1-3am
Time and time again I’ve followed the lead of a song and found myself at Tompkins Square (Ryley Walker, Harmony Rockets, Kinloch Nelson, Robbie Basho, Gwenifer Raymond, Sam Burton, Daniel Bachman, Brigid Mae Power, etc, etc). They had a big sale this summer and so I ordered a bunch of their “Imaginational Anthem” recordings and now I have a wealth of artists to explore. Finger picking guitar, freaky and not so freaky folk, complex acoustic and electric experimental instrumentation, archival works, and exactly what you want to hear as the cold weather sets in and you cozy up around the fireplace. I might suggest starting with one of the Imaginational Anthems (there are 10!). Here is 1-3 all in one place.
I’ve been digging Kendra Amalie who is a singer and an experimental finger picking shredder, who plays both acoustic and electric guitar. I first came across her on one of the above mentioned “Imaginational Anthems.” “Intuition” came out in September of 2019 and one of my favorite songs on it is the driving piece, “Boat Ride II.” I can’t wait to hear more from her. The label also includes Forest of Lost Children, by awesome face-melters, Kikagaku Moyo.
Nailah Hunter a Harpist. At one point Mary Lattimore (another astonishing harpist on Bandcamp) was shouting out Black harpists on Instagram and this is how I learned about Nailah Hunter. She has a meditative, transcendent, atmospheric sound. She says about her incredible piece, “Black Valhalla”––Black people : imagine a place where you are safe and exalted. Listen to “Black Valhalla” and “Nacre Meadow.”
I’m pretty sure Brandee Younger was another tip off from Mary Lattimore. Soothing and soulful, she is a Black harpist who collaborates with a lot of jazz greats, including Ravi Coltrane. If you need more Alice Coltrane in your life, Brandee Younger may be the answer. I recommend “Soul Awakening.”
I heard Big Blood for the first time pretty recently on Tyler Broadcasting System. They were doing a cover of a Sumatran folk song, “Indang Paraman” (he played the original at the beginning of the show and finished with the Big Blood cover, which is not on Bandcamp). I fell deep in love with the haunting, hypnotic sound and unusual vocals. So now I’m really interested in exploring them further and have appreciated everything I’ve heard so far. Their Bandcamp page is their homegrown record label, dontrustheruin. You name the price for any and all of their many releases. They encapsulate a creative non-commercial courageous musical spirit that I love. I picked up Dark Country Spirit recently, but all their recordings are there for you to tap into!
Mantana Roberts is an experimental mixed media sound artist, clarinetist, alto-saxophonist, composer, and visual artist. Her ongoing series “Coin-Coin,” an exploration of history, memory, and ancestry, is on Bandcamp for you to explore. It is a stirring and mesmerizing musical collage of free jazz, poetry, sound snippets, chants, narration, improvisation, and song.
This label represents some incredible jazz and experimental artists. Pick and choose what you want to explore. I’ve been checking out Angel Bat Dawid, Makaya McCraven, and Damon Locks-Black Monument Ensemble.
I saw Jon Collin perform at Low Vintage in Charlottesville and was completely transported by his experimental guitar playing. Spare and penetrating, serene and piercing, he will take you through highs and lows and land you on a comfortable cushion with a view of mountains and meadows. Beautiful soundscapes for the sunniest and gloomiest of days. I love Water and Rock Music.
Aisha Burns is a vocalist, violinist, and songwriter. I first stumbled upon her song “15th Amendment,” which is a haunting and timely piece. Her voice is deep and far ranging. I can’t wait to hear more from this artist. “Argonauta” is a gorgeous byproduct of grief.
Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn – RAIN, RAIN, RAIN
A rollicking psychedelic countrypolitan excursion with plenty of tasteful vibes and pedal steel. Not to mention the reverb. Not too far removed from Lambchop and John Cale circa Vintage Violence.
William Eaton – Music by William Eaton
Gorgeous solo guitar meditations for troubled times. “Fahey-esque” is overused as a descriptor and only applies peripherally. If you listen closely, you’ll hear an uncredited and rarely discussed DJ Shadow sample.
The Spinanes – Manos
Peak ’90s. Peak Gen X. Peak treble-as-an-artistic-statement. Peak mixtape fodder. Damn I miss this band.
Various Artists: Sky Girl
Kind of the perfect compilation of private press, semi-twee, awkwardly longing bops. Great for socially distanced makeout sessions.
Radio Wowsville, Sundays 11pm-1am
Angelica Garcia – Cha Cha Palace
Growing up in East Los Angeles and soaking up both the traditional Mexican ranchera and mariachi music heard in her home—and the indie-rock she was exposed to while attending the Los Angeles High School of the Arts—Angelica Garcia says that moving to Richmond (and hooking up with the local Spacebomb label) crystallized her artistic vision. Two years in the making, her majestic second album, Cha Cha Palace, is a sonically adventurous and brazenly diverse thrillride filled with headphone-friendly psych-dance gems and a biting lyrical sense. Cha Cha Palace was released in February to rapturous reviews, and no less than astute music critic and former president Barack Obama chose Garcia’s “Jicana,” as one of his favorite songs of last year. It’s only one of the many treasures found here.
Deau Eyes, Let It Leave
Let It Leave is the stunning debut release from Richmond-based singer-songwriter Ali Thibodeau—AKA Deau Eyes. Released in May, Deau Eyes’ melodic and brassy nine-song disc was recorded in Nashville by Jacob Blizard and Collin Pastore, who have worked successfully with local indie-rock heroine Lucy Dacus. Dacus is a big fan of Thibodeau’s work, and has written that the songs on this album “celebrate the joys and complications of a liminal life, balancing between freedom and stability, falling into and out of love, and trusting yourself through the noise of other people’s expectations.” Thibodeau’s infectious song sense is a wonder to behold, and her voice—well-seasoned from performing Patsy Cline classics on cruise ships—s an elastic, ear-bending instrument capable of both telling you off and breaking your heart.
Bartees Strange – Live Forever (Memory Music)
Close your eyes and picture an indie rock record. Does it involve the line “I told my girl that I was working/That’s a lie, I’m in the trap”? Then you’re not thinking big enough. Strange’s debut is a big tent that incorporates influences ranging from TV on the Radio to Fall Out Boy to chart-topping hip-hop, and it comes together seamlessly on a record about finding yourself as a Black person in unfamiliar territory (Strange’s previous effort was an EP of The National covers inspired by being the only non-white person at a National concert).
Do you like the general idea of Whitney, but wish they were a little rougher around the edges and cranked the distortion up a bit more often? This one’s for you. That’s it; that’s the tweet.
Father/Daughter Records, Saving for a Custom Van
Adam Schlesinger died from COVID-19 in April, which can’t be described any way but as a gigantic bummer. This compilation is an outstanding tribute, with some fairly straightforward covers like Jeff Rosenstock’s take on “Please Don’t Rock Me Tonight.” But the joy is in the songs that come from more out of left field, like Kay Hanley turning “Radiation Vibe” into a soaring electropop banger or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom presenting a skeezy-but-sweet? lounge-singer take on “Stacy’s Mom.”
Sturgill Simpson, Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (The Butcher Shoppe Sesssions) (High Top Mountain)
One of our best and most innovative musicians takes another fascinating turn, revisiting material from 2013’s High Top Mountain and 2014’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music with a murderer’s row of bluegrass aces. Songs from Metamodern are particularly well suited for this treatment; you can still hear the original versions of the psychedelic “Turtles All the Way Down” and skronky “Life of Sin” in your head, but they feel a little.
Oceanator, Things I Never Said (Polyvinyl)
“Confident and talented women singing soaring indie rock songs that are at least a little bit about the world ending” is very much my Bandcamp wheelhouse, but Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher felt a little too on-brand for me to list (instead, I’ll sneak it in as a de facto sixth pick, because it’s really, really great!), so instead, jam along with Elise Okusami’s full-length debut. “January 21st” swells to a gigantic chorus that gets the heart pumping as hard as any Japandroids shout-along.
I’ve been running WarHen Records out of my basement for almost nine years. Here’s the WarHen Bandcamp page.
Merging with the Night, Wednesdays 11pm-1am
Julie Byrne & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, “Love’s Refrain”
This new track adds dreamy vocals from Julie Byrne to the plaintive, shimmering sounds from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. It conjures up the dusky colors that can be seen towards the end of twilight, and epitomizes the kind of musical beauty I like to feature on Merging with the Night. The original instrumental track by Cantu-Ledesma was already a favorite, and as usual it’s a pleasure to hear the addition of beautiful female voices. ANDROID gives this track a 10/10.
Virginia Tradition, Tuesdays 11pm-1am
TRASH ON!!! – A tribute to P.Trash Records
This is a pretty big collection of stuff from P. Trash Records (the vinyl version is 6 LPs). It’s all great stuff, much of itpreviously unreleased. The stuff is punk, lo-fi, electronic.
Oceanator, Things I Never Said
Such a great sound. This album really blows me away. Punk-influenced but more post-punk sounding.
Jetstream Pony, Jetstream Pony
A little bit of jangle, a little bit of The Wedding Present, a little bit of indie-pop. Great vocals from Beth Arzy.
The newest album from Bully and it’s another great one from Alicia Bognanno.
Billy Nomates, Billy Nomates
Debut album from Tor Maries. Listed as dance-pop, but I hear a whole lot of punk influence in this.
Carry the Zero, Thursdays 2-4pm
YĪN YĪN, The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers
Here is a dutch band with a serious South Eastern influence. I love putting this on and getting some work done. The track “One Inch Punch” is essential to any running playlist as well.
Sunfruits, Certified Organic
Psych-pop band out of Australia that just has that basic groove. I just adore the fuzz pop and the album art is just too damn precious.
My Dick, Double Full Length Release
Sorry, not sorry AT ALL. Start with track 7 and then you decide where to go from there.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Demos Vol.1 & 2
The only place to hear these different versions of this band’s prolific catalog is on Bandcamp. There are some live albums there as well that you can’t hear anywhere else.
Jana Horn, Optimism
Jana is from Austin but is studying at UVA and she brought with her this incredibly beautiful album. Everyone absolutely needs to hear (and buy) this record for the upcoming winter months by the fireplace.
Faux Ferocious, Pretty Groovy
These guys! They’ve been to Cville a couple of times and played in the WTJU studio as well. They have some issues with their label that I am not hip to but you can always find their stuff on Bandcamp. Check it and rock the f*ck out.
Carry the Zero, Thursdays 2-4pm
Loma, Don’t Shy Away
Carry the Zero cohost Stevik and I love this band. After seeing them live at the Southern we were even further smitten. This follow up to their self titled first album is a beautiful expansion of their haunting sound that instantly got deep under my skin.
This is the Kit, Off Off On
Another band the Stevik and I couldn’t get enough of. Kate Stables’ newest album is, as was the case for her last Moonshine Freeze, my favorite cloudy day soundtrack.
Every time I think I’m done listening to this album, I’m wrong. I’m a sucker for all of the things these guys are.
Stoop Kids, Already Out of Time
I saw these guys play at The Garage probably in 2015 not knowing a thing about them and I was instantly a fan. They were so crazy and energetic and unpredictable both musically and in action: at one point the singer disappeared as he danced his way around the block to reappear minutes later right in time. He did the same thing when I saw them at Fellini’s the next night!
Y’ALL, I’m Here Right Now
Charlottesville supergroup! I was lucky to see them open for Ex Hex at The Southern (I’m sensing a pattern in this list of missing live music) before they went back into hibernation.
Why Sleep?, Sundays, 1-3am
Add the creative virtuosity and sound explorations of guitar god Anthony Pirog with the legendarily hard-driving Fugazi rhythm section and you get Messthetics. A more exciting rock/jazz/punk/out of this world album you’ve never heard until…
Messthetics, Anthropocosmic Nest
Messthetics take things a step further here—same ingredients, just maybe an even tastier and truly mind blowing stew of music that shakes you to the core, begging for more.
Anthony Pirog, Pocket Poem
Brand spanking new solo outing by Anthony Pirog demonstrates this guitar virtuoso/pedalmaster’s ability to create beautiful melodies and scintillating soundscapes that will keep you guessing from track to track, what could possibly top that??
Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, Bought to Rot
Reminds me a little of Nirvana with some Pixies thrown in. Songs with actual melodies that also happen to rock. Play this one loud.
Radio Freedonia, Saturdays 2-4pm
Park Hye Jin, If U Want It EP
Catchy house with the charming Hye Jin was instantly addictive and became one of my favorite records of 2019, hands down. Also choosing because I discovered it on Bandcamp Weekly.
Shafiq Husayn, The Loop
Also discovered on Bandcamp Weekly. Robert Glasper, Anderson .Paak, Erykah Badu and others join LA beatmaker Husayn for this sunny, joyful double record. And I had to order the vinyl because it came with an instrumental version of the album – plus, vinyl.
Invisible Hand (Full Discography)
My favorite Charlottesville rock band’s catalog is full of nervy, hooky, crunchy gems, and when top hand Adam Smith offered the full discography for eight bucks on Bandcamp, it was a no-brainer.
Guppyboy, Haci Baba and Juleps
These University of Vermont kids found indie semi-fame in The Essex Green and The Ladybug Transistor, but Guppyboy is their weirdest, deepest, most magical incarnation. I still have the cassettes from the ‘90s (of course!), but glory be, their drummer put it all out on Bandcamp.
From sun soaked psychedelia to late night drive jams, this album is expansive. Hailing from Chesapeake, SHORMEY takes you on a trip and a half. A much needed salve during the summer of 2020.
Burial Sounds, Transmissions From Amphetamine Dreams
A tweaked-out 2am drive down a Carolina backroad. Radio interference, feedback freakouts, and other noises from the biosphere and beyond. Haven’t felt the same since listening….
Various Artists, Bulawayo Blue Yodel
Very cool field recordings from the 50’s made in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa. Omasiganda fingerstyle guitar-meets Jimmie Rodgers style yodel- meets slide. Inventive, fresh, and entrancing.
Ye Olde Tuesday Afternoon Rocke Show, 2-4pm Tuesdays
All Hits, Men And Their Work
I’m calling it now: This is my favorite release of 2020. Eight driving feminist punk tracks from a trio that confidently and melodically confronts bad cops, shitty scene dudes, and so much more. I’ve needed these songs for years and will surely need them for years to come. (I hear they put on a hell of a live show, too, so fingers crossed they’re still at it by the time that can happen again.)
Noxeema, Noxeema 7”
This popped up in my “You might also like…” recommendations on the site, and as much as this word-of-mouth devotee hates to admit it, sometimes the algorithm’s oh so right. Eight more feminist tracks from another all-femme punk band, each one an energetic, necessary burst of attitude lasting no more than a minute forty. (For what it’s worth, “Don’t Touch Me” is my favorite.)
Special Interest, The Passion Of
Deranged synth punk for the apocalypse, out on Thrilling Living, a label that champions the music of female, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ punks.
A.D. Carson, I Used to Love to Dream
Rapper and scholar A.D. Carson releases yet another necessary album. It’s the third in his “Sleepwalking” series, which as a whole takes a look at how Carson himself experiences history and society, how all of that lives in him and how he lives that out. It’s far more complex than that, but, let’s just say that his music is crucial 21st century listening. “I wrote the album to try to more accurately describe that particular loneliness and alienation that exists in my mind between where I’m from and where I’m at currently,” he writes in the album’s description, which is well worth a read before you listen.
Personal Bandana, [sic]
When I need to get the fuck off planet Earth for a minute, I pop in this synthy kosmiche tape from one of my favorite local acts, Personal Bandana, and take a smooth ride on their bleep-bloop rocket ship.
The Cool Greenhouse, “Alexa!”
The Cool Greenhouse released a self-titled LP back in May, and it’s chock-full of cheeky, hook-laden low-fi post-punk, a genre so in my pocket it’ll be near the top of my year-end favorites list. But the A-side of this follow-up 7-inch single, “Alexa!,” is an ode (of sorts) to the ubiquitous AI personal assistant and the most clever thing I’ve heard all year. Lately, I’ve had to seek out things to smile about, and this song does the trick every time.