While Austin businesses are slowly reopening, most live music venues remain closed, and the performance revenue that makes up the bulk of many artists’ income remains elusive. One of the best ways to help local artists during this very strange time is to buy their stuff. To that end, we’re highlighting cool merchandise from local artists and music businesses each week.
"Slack Capital 3: Slacking From Home Edition"
Update, 12:20 p.m. June 1: "Slack Capital" promoters have announced that the release of the project has moved to July 3, to not take focus away from racial justice protests in Austin and across the country.
To support artists during the coronavirus pandemic, online music company Bandcamp has been running monthly Bandcamp Friday promotions. On those days, the company, which is home to thousands of indie musicians and labels including many top Austin artists, waives its revenue share so that artists on the platform will receive 100% of proceeds from sales of music or merchandise. According to a letter from Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond, indie music fans spent $4.3 million, 15 times the average Friday sales total, on the first Bandcamp Friday back in March. Diamond says fans paid artists $7.1 million during the May event.
The next Bandcamp Friday is June 5, the same day the latest installment of the "Slack Capital" compilation series is set to drop on the platform. The album is a perfect jumping-off point for anyone searching for incredible Austin music to support. The 39-track collection is an adventurous romp through the Austin music scene curated by Eric Braden, Austin music scene stalwart and frontman for oddball punk act Big Bill, alongside Austin Town Hall label owner Nathan Lankford and promotions group Howdy Gals.
Singer-songwriter Christelle Bofale haunts a sparse but soulful demo, "Stepping Stones"; Magna Carda rapper Megz Kelli laces producer Dougie Do’s jazzy piano loops with clever bravado on "Milez"; and indie rockers Moving Panoramas bring the "Whisky Fights." The compilation also features tracks by Bad Boy Croy (of Croy and the Boys), Calliope Musicals, Sailor Poon and Daniel Francis Doyle.
Lankford said he hopes the release provides the "same excitement of discovery" music fanatics experience when they head out to the clubs searching for new sounds.
"A compilation places a collective of musicians in concert with one another, bolstering community as it links listeners to new artists through those they already know and love. This is the concert desperately needed, as access to live concerts has vanished overnight," he said.
To support the Austin music scene, the "Slack Capital" crew is donating all proceeds from the album, which is available as a digital download for a minimum of $5, to the Red River Cultural District’s Banding Together fund set up to aid music industry workers facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus.
Many of the artists on the album have individual Bandcamp pages. After you give it a spin, be sure to stop by your new favorite artist’s personal shop to scoop up their stuff. (slackcapital.bandcamp.com)
10 other Austin artists with music and merch on Bandcamp
Kydd Jones (kyddjones.bandcamp.com)
Vapor Caves (thevaporcaves.bandcamp.com)
Molly Burch (mollyburch.bandcamp.com)
Hard Proof (hardproof.bandcamp.com)
Abhi the Nomad (abhithenomad.bandcamp.com)
Como Las Movies (comolasmovies.bandcamp.com)
Ringo Deathstarr (ringodeathstarr.bandcamp.com)
Gina Chavez (ginachavez.bandcamp.com)
Music business spotlight: Waterloo Records. Since it opened in 1982, Austin’s landmark record store has become a favorite of locals and tourists alike. It’s not quite the same as an evening of crate-digging accompanied by an in-store performance, but Waterloo has several ways for casual fans and collectors to shop online while the store remains closed to customers. Orders over $35 ship for free, and the store is offering curbside pickup on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Head over to Waterloo’s website, where you can search for specific titles by artist or album or peruse the store’s stock of new albums by genre, top sellers or regional categories like Texas 2020 Grammy winners. The store has longstanding relationships with many artists Austinites love, so keep an eye out for exclusives, like a special signed copy of Lucinda Williams’ April release, "Good Souls Better Angels," available on CD ($9.98) or vinyl ($29.98). Waterloo has also reopened their stores on eBay, Amazon and Discogs for anyone who wants to explore their well-curated used vinyl collection.
Want to wear your support for your local record store on your chest? Snap up a shirt featuring Waterloo’s classic "underground" logo. You can select from a wide variety of colors and styles including long-sleeved, short-sleeved and tank tops for $14.99, youth shirts for $9.99 and onesies for $12.99.