5 Local Releases for Bandcamp Friday

Five LPs, EPs, and singles worth your money today

Last March, when COVID-19 all but halted the music industry, streaming service Bandcamp waived its fee from the sales on the first Friday of every month. Some $200 million in music and merch purchases flowed to artists over the ensuing 10 months of pandemic. Bandcamp Fridays continue this year, so prep your Feb. 5 shopping list with these ATX offerings.

Jana Horn demonstrates Optimism

Jana Horn, Optimism

Keys twinkle, bass thumps, guitars loop. Singer-songwriter Jana Horn played for years in various local outfits before committing her singular ideas to tape, and this experience makes September’s Optimism, her debut solo LP, a hooky yet arresting distillation of indie rock minimalism. Trumpet simmers over the Cat Power chords of “Friends Again” and the writer’s insistent imagery haunts the biblical nightmare “Jordan,” but the hopeful title track grants a shimmering, bittersweet waltz to soothe. A saturated genre livens in Horn’s hands.

Available as a digital download and vinyl.


8bit Wizrd, Mood Killer

Former Dayglow touring bassist Reece Myers trades indie pop for off-kilter folk in solo project 8bit Wizrd. His second release of 2020, Mood Killer wears an Alex G influence on its sleeve, scratchy strings and warm harmonies swirling into an hour of sweet melancholy. “You and me, we’re better off alone,” the artist sings in “It’s Nothing,” heavy bass pummelling his broken heart. Yet, for every frayed line, there’s a smooth melody: slow slide guitar deepens “Dugout,” and “Come Down” begs for a singalong.

Available as a digital download and cassette.


Quiet Light, Quiet Light

UT singer-songwriter and Phoebe Bridgers megafan Riya Mahesh delivers four jangly confessionals in her September EP, Quiet Light. Angsty, referential lyrics (“It’s hot in Austin but it’s cold in this room”) prime each track for the next blockbuster teen movie soundtrack, and fuzzy production cements the record’s DIY feel. Ethereal keys crown country closer “Hazy,” closing on a bright note.

Available as a digital download and cassette.


Hovvdy, Covers 2

Irreverent track listing and a complete reworking of most choices, Covers 2 achieves for Will Taylor and Charlie Martin exactly what a cover album should: a reintroduction of vintage music that sounds modern and uniquely Hovvdy. The indie-pop duo crash into Coldplay ballad “Warning Sign” with synths and electronic drums, yet turn Charli XCX’s hyper-pop “Claws” into a lo-fi guitar lullaby. A Paramore love song and Frou Frou deep cut round out the refreshing EP.

Available as a digital download.


Black Mercy, For the Man That Has Everything

Now nearing its one-year anniversary, this pummeling EP unleashes all the pent-up energy we’ve accumulated while stalking around our homes for for the better part of a year. Scene veterans Noble Brown, Clarke Wilson, Jason Morales, Joey Cortez, and Ben Webster stay true to hardcore OGs in chaotic flashes like “This Can’t Be Right,” but the eight song, 10-minute release also manages to slow down. The stop-start rhythms in “Black Mercy” and “You’ve Been Warned” sludge thickly. Circle pits remain banned, but solo headbanging works well enough.

Available as a digital download and vinyl.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Bandcamp Fridays, Jana Horn, 8bit Wizrd, Reece Myers, Quiet Light, Riya Mahesh, Hovvdy, Will Taylor, Charlie Martin, Black Mercy, Noble Brown, Clarke Wilson, Jason Morales, Joey Cortez, Ben Webster, Dayglow, Alex G, Phoebe Bridgers, Coldplay, Charli XCX

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