£20/MONTH #1. BY SURPRISE / KATIE MALCO/SEPTEMBER GIRLS & MORE.
Remember when the only way to get music was to pay for it? It was so long ago that you’d be forgiven for the memory being a hazy one. For a few years it was really rare for me to spend much money on recorded music at all, and I’m sure a lot of you were the same. The thing that’s really made me start spending again, though, is Bandcamp, because it’s a great tool to get money directly in to the hands of the artists whilst giving you instant access to the stuff you’ve paid for. It’s ace.
Bandcamp can also be used to give away music for free, however, and whilst this is an undoubtedly excellent thing, we tend to neglect the bands asking for a few quid in return for their records, and instead focus on the ones chucking it up for nothing. There are endless blogs and webzine features dedicated to searching out free music, and if you’re anything like me, it means you’ve ended up with an iTunes full of half-decent bands that you’ll probably never get round to listening to, let alone value in any way.
See, even though it lacks the weight of a physical release, you’re at least going to listen to the handful of downloads you’ve shelled out some money for, unlike the masses of free ones. This new feature thing, £20/Month, has the simple aim of suggesting ways you can spend a little bit of cash on some bands and labels that really deserve it, in a way that gets the money directly in to their hands and the music directly in to your ears. So let’s get started, huh?
Spend two quid and get By Surprise’s “Criteria”.
Well. It’s three dollars, which is about £1.80, but be generous and round up, eh? By Surprise are pretty much one of the most unique and underrated bands of the ‘emo revival’, and Criteria is their newest EP, which adds a real Cheap Girls style crunch to their 90s indie rock worship. Plus it’s on Topshelf, who have consistently proved themselves to be one of the labels that most deserve your support. Buy this because it may encourage them to release songs at an average rate of more than one every three years.
Spend a fiver and get that as well as Our Time Down Here’s “Last Light”.
One of the UK’s finest melodic hardcore bands that kind of morphed in to a gothy middle ground between AFI and Lifetime, and this is where they started heading in that direction. It’s basically perfect as EPs go, but the band are sadly defunct, so buy this in the hope that it’ll persuade them to get back together.
Spend a tenner and get both of those as well as Colour Me Wednesday’s “I Thought It Was Morning”.
This was one of my favourite records of last year. Their guitarist is Harriet Doveton, who plays bass in The Tuts. Her sister fronts this band, and you will pretty much just fall in love with her voice from the first song. Anxiety-battling, anti-Tory, sort-of-but-not-very-twee, feminist punk with a few ska influences that are totally unexpected but work perfectly. These guys deserve to be huge, so buy this to help them on their way.
Spend twenty and get all of those three things as well as the following five things:
Three September Girls EPs. Super fuzzy, synthy irish punk. Kinda like PINS and The Vivian Girls. Not much else to say about it. Buy them because they’re great and you can get three EPs for not very much money at all.
The A Page Of Punk/Werewolves On Motorcycles split. The first of two that these bands did together, this is seriously the most insane thing you will ever hear. A Page Of Punk are a Japanese punk band who REALLY love punk, and manage to fit a dozen songs (including the greatest ever Oasis cover) in to one side of a 7”. Werewolves On Motorcycles do get overshadowed somewhat, but their side is great too, and they feature members of the Legendary Spy Vs Spy. Buy it because you can’t afford not to.
Katie Malco’s “Tearing Ventricles.
This is the saddest thing you will ever hear. Malco switches to the piano for the first time, and it turns out she’s brilliant at it. Buy it because your conscience may not be able to handle it if you don’t.
I’m not sure you can say much fairer than that. Eight records for £20? Bargain. Never underestimate the effect that remembering to spend even a small amount of money to support artists can have. I really hope you’ll take the time to check out these great bands, and be generous enough to compensate them for their efforts. See you next month?
*** NOW ANNOUNCING TWOB FEST ***
**AUGUST 22-24 ** PHILADELPHIA PA**
The Heads Are Zeros
AND MANY MORE TBA
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TONIGHT @ Kung Fu Necktie in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia: "Strangled By The Stereo Wire" - A 90’s Indie-Alternative DJ night featuring your favorite 120 Minutes/Buzz Bin classics by Pavement, Blur, The Lemonheads, Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr, Archers of Loaf, Velocity Girl, Hum, Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring, Blake Babies, Weezer, The Stone Roses, Superchunk, That Dog, Sebadoh, Sloan, The Muffs, and more!!
By Surprise will be playing for the first time since December, so come hang out!! 21+ with ID to get in, free admission, and it goes from 10:30 to 2am!! We’ll be on around Midnight!!
We’re playing our first show of 2014 this Friday night in Philadelphia, and today we had our first full band practice since December. It felt really good to bash off some rust and work on some new songs.
Anyway, about the show… It’s a 90’s indie rock DJ night called Strangled By The Stereo Wire, which was also the name of a song by Archers Of Loaf, a band whom we all admire. So in honor of Friday’s namesake, we started working on a cover of “Web In Front” off of their seminal debut album Icky Mettle. Hope you like it.
Oh yeah, we’re still writing a new album.
More on that later…
We’re playing our first show of 2014 next Friday @ Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia for this month’s Strangled By The Stereo Wire DJ night!! It’s a FREE SHOW, and our buddies will be DJs spinning 90’s indie rock jams before and after our set - hence the Archers of Loaf reference…
We’ll probably be going on around midnight, but why not come out early and enjoy some good tunes/beverages with us. This is 21+ (sorry, kids).
MORE INFO HERE