Wow, halfway through Week Seven of COVID closures in the land of AltCtrl…. Here are some songs you can download when bandcamp waives its revenue share on Friday!
Despite their name, Smoke & Mirrors Productions is a lot more than just smoke and mirrors. The Florida recording studio is run by two members of The Absence, drummer Jeramie Kling and guitarist Taylor Nordberg.(Connecticut readers will remember these are bandmates of hometown virtuoso Joey Concepcion.) Being essentially laid off by the COVID-19 pandemic, they embarked on a song-a-day recording project in March and April that yielded twelve quarantine-themed singles featuring an array of guest musicians.
Each single is a play on a different metal subgenre, from blistering Bay Area thrash to frostbitten Scandinavian black metal and everywhere in between. My personal favorite is “Dying Day,” written in the mid-90s Gothenburg style that first got me into metal; Matt Harvey of Exhumed lends his menacing growl to this one. I also have a soft spot for their 90s hardcore ode “Undefeated,” with Paul Zinay of Blackguard ripping up the mic.
“The whole project came together really quick,” Nordberg told Alternative Control. “The lock-down had a lot of people twiddling their thumbs, so we said, ‘Let’s make a song and release it today.’ And we did, haha! We originally made it as a public challenge to see if other people would do it, but then it became a challenge to ourselves and we decided to bring in other people to collaborate. It turned out even cooler than we thought! Everyone kicked so much ass and brought their A-games.”
Kling said of the pandemic’s effect on the music scene, “This has brought the community together, since we are all out of employment and looking to be creative. Idle hands are the devil. […] The musical landscape will be more of a blended canvas after this for sure — we’re all digitally connected now.”
Nordberg added, “It’s a strange time to be a musician… It’s a strange time to be a human! This year was ramping up to be a banger with tons of great shows, festivals, album releases… All of the bands I’m involved with are still moving forward behind the scenes, but it’s a scary and extremely unfortunate thought that shows may not happen for another six months, a year, more?! As a fan, it’s also unfortunate because I also love going to shows, and buying bands’ CDs, etc. I honestly have no clue what the scene will be like when this all settles, but I sure hope live music is still a thing!”
Another quarantine bandcamp gem is “Sanitize” by Ravioli Musick, a parody of the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage.” It’s the first track on a massive free comp from Asher Media Relations. Have a listen:
Mr. Ravioli, of Alberta, Canada, also has a bunch of covers and parodies on his own bandcamp page — including this December 2019 spoof of “Enter Sandman” which turned out contain some prophetic advice! #washyourhands
But let’s say your current #quarantinemood is more “bandcamp and chill” than “bandcamp and rage.” New Haven singer-songwriter Addy Edward has just the track for you: “Daybreak Eyes.” Released on April 11th, this laid-back song build layers of warm guitar and vocals in gentle waves like a 21st century Paul Simon. “Daybreak Eyes” is on Spotify too if you need an addition to your relaxing playlist.
Our final quarantine music selection is a new song by Si Ombrellone, a.k.a my Owl Maker bandmate Simon Tuozzoli. He and his kids wrote this one inspired by the events of Spring 2020, then used Gacha Life and Sony Vegas to create the video. Great family project! And if you don’t laugh at some of these lyrics, you don’t have a pulse.
Find more of Simon’s music on bandcamp.
What have you been listening to during the pandemic? Who should we feature next on our Quarantine Music series? Leave a comment!