Bandcamp is one of the greatest music services the internet has ever wrought. Other than an easy and beneficial way for small bands to open up a storefront, it’s also a handy resource for discovering new music. In Bandcamp Notables, we engage in the time-honored blogging practice of spotlighting songs we found while exploring the site.
When Bandcamp blew up in 2010 because a bunch of established stars like Sufjan Stevens and Amanda Palmer started selling there, one of the first bands I discovered was Austin Crane, a South Carolina folk singer performing under the name Valley Maker. It was gothic with a spacious sound, biblical lyrics and a voice like a weary grindstone. I found myself returning to the page for repeated listens until I decided to just out & buy it; my first real Bandcamp purchase, as it were. That’s the platonic ideal of how Bandcamp should work, right?
It turns out Valley Maker returned this year. On Yes I Know I’ve Loved This World, he’s still in great form but freed from the constraints of his biblical passage prompt. There are more drums, more electricity, but it’s still great & pure singer-songwriter craft.
I think their best work is on songs like “Take My People Dancing.” It’s a cyclical, brisk song with a touch of darkness to the notes and words. It sticks relentlessly to the pattern, locking in listeners until the artful dismount in the song’s uplifting last third. He makes every strum sound full-bodied and Amy Godwin’s backup vocals invite a hymnal feel to the whole affair.
IF YOU LIKE: Fleet Foxes, Will Oldham, Bon Iver