It is time, once again, for another “Bandcamp Friday.”
The drama surrounding Bandcamp’s recent acquisition continues, but as that unfolds, “Bandcamp Friday” is, for now, continuing on through the remainder of 2023. If you’re unfamiliar with the initiative, it’s straightforward: To help musicians in the aftermath of the pandemic, Bandcamp selects a day where the company forgoes its revenue share.
This allows the platform to pass on to bands an average of 93 percent of money spent on music and merch. Per Bandcamp, the initiative has, thus far, generated more than $100 million from over a million fans. The next “Bandcamp Friday” is Nov. 3.
To help you prep, we’ve rounded up recent releases from five North Texas acts you might want to hear — and support. (You can also check out our prior “Bandcamp Friday” recommendations here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)
Robert Trusko, First Light
Dallas-based bassist and composer Robert Trusko’s list of collaborators is lengthy and impressive. He’s played with most anyone of consequence in North Texas, and his latest project — called simply Trusko — finds him creating alongside keyboardist Jordan Gheen, drummer Terence Hobdy and guitarist Anthony Plant. First Light is just three tracks, but they set the hook nicely: This is a first-rank fusion of jazz, R&B and electronic music.
The Passerby, Everything, all in one place — Stage One
Billed only as “a passion project by Cole,” The Passerby’s debut album is an absolutely fascinating sonic excursion, inspired by The Caretaker (aka British electronic musician Leyland Kirby) and his 2019 project Everywhere at the End of Time. What unfolds can only be described as thoughtfully damaged big band music, heard as if in a half-remembered dream. The cumulative effect is as moving as it is unsettling — you won’t hear another record like this in 2023.
Fort Worth indie rocker Monte Lazaro fashions a pleasantly jangled first impression with Warm, his eight-track debut LP. Working with a multitude of drummers — Warm credits six different drummers across eight songs, including Lazaro on percussion — Lazaro assembles songs that build to surging choruses (“Never Heard Back”) or slow boils (“Dreamland”).
Complete the Emcee, Three Piece
A long-time member of Fort Worth’s frequently underrated and overlooked hip-hop community, Cedric Ruffin (aka Complete the Emcee) is also a key member of the group Fort Nox. Three Piece is a solo effort, precise and succinct at three tracks running less than 10 minutes total. Despite the brevity, Complete provides a strong showcase as to why he and his crew have endured for decades.
Big Head, the worst is yet to come
Denton singer-songwriter Mills Chaiken veers between what feels like a half-dozen different genres in the space of 60 seconds during the opening track of his debut LP, the worst is yet to come. It’s a disorienting effect, but one which pulls you in, rather than pushes you away — that may be due to Chaiken’s amiable presence, which serves as a engaging throughline through these eight songs, recorded and co-produced by Michael Briggs.
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.