10 Awesome ‘Pay What You Want’ Releases

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Pay What You Want

With music streaming at peak popularity, it’s easy to place a release on heavy rotation without thinking twice about buying a copy. Fans may feel as though spending $10 on a digital download of an album is a waste, especially when they’re already able to stream it for free.

Understanding that money can be tight, more and more artists have been releasing their albums for “name your price” on Bandcamp. Downloading these releases for a small donation is a is a great way for fans to support smaller artists. Here are 10 awesome releases from the past six months that are worth your time and money!


Sidney Gish – No Dogs Allowed

In true DIY fashion, the 20 year-old, lo-fi folk artist self-released her second full-length album on New Year’s Eve. Gish proves she is more than just another bedroom-pop artist with this aeclectic mixture of bubbly synth beats and catchy guitar riffs. Her extremely personal songwriting draws the listener in as the album progresses over oddball recordings and quirky percussion. She personifies what if feels like to be young and trying to find a place in the world. An awkward coming of age story that anyone can relate to.


Fire Is Motion- Still, I Try

Jersey based artist, Adrian Amador, birthed his first official EP with the help of fellow musicians and friends in November of last year. A beautiful mixture of indie-rock and lo-fi emo, Still, I Try fights a battle between loss and hope. Blending components of modern emo with twinkly keys, brass accents, and soul searching vulnerability, the release is short, sweet, and leaves you wanting more. Encapsulated by the last line, Amador bellows, “tomorrow is still a better day to die,” urging the listener to overcome their own obstacles, one day at a time.


Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 420

Featuring Mom Jeans, Prince Daddy & the Hyena, Pictures of Vernon, and Kississippi, this split is a must listen. These rising emo acts brought the heat with this release. Originally set to be an EP by Prince Daddy, Thrashville, the band decided instead to take an opportunity collaborating with their peers. Jam packed with infectious riffs and electrifying vocals, this split is one that demands to be played on full volume at all times. While the genre can commonly be dwindled down to sad lyrics and twinkly guitars, these artists elicit the jam factor of pop punk with the vulnerability of emo.


Nervous Dater- Don’t Be a Stranger

Released through Counter Intuitive Records last September, Nervous Dater’s debut album is the pinnacle of self-exploration and slight deprecation. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the four-piece is a collection of individuals who illustrate a special brand of emotionally driven power-rock. Riddled with angst, the album reads out like a diary page. This is chronicled with lyrics such as, “It’s hard to ask for help if you don’t really want it /Passed out on the train in your own vomit.” and “when things get quiet I feel uneasy/ I need my friends or at least just the sound of the TV / To keep these things in my head from screaming.” With hints of brass, funky riffs, and charismatic songwriting, the devastatingly relateable album is an exemplary representation of what the band has to offer.


awakebutstillinbed – what people call low self-esteem is really just seeing yourself the way that other people see you

Self-described as “extremo”, this album is an edgy mix of punk and emo, gaining a great deal of attention in a short amount of time. Released by the San Jose based group on January, 3rd, the album is filled with raw emotion and rage. In less than a month, they have already signed to Tiny Engines and are set to do a small tour with Joyce Manor in April. This outfit has a bright future ahead.


Boy Rex – Live! From Far-Away

A response and continuation of his earlier works, Live! From Far-Away is the most recent release from Michigan singer/songwriter, Jack M. Senff. An ode to the past and a tip of the hat to the future, the album shows forward progress. Although featuring new textural components, the release still rings true to Senff’s classic sound. While seemingly elegant and simple, the album is full of tactful layers. Featuring electric guitar, bass, percussion, keys, synth, and more, Sneff is able to encapsulate the listener without overwhelming them. 


Bearcats- No Friends

Punk duo, Lisa Osborn and Lexi Mccoy, released their debut album through Lost State Records in November. After various EP’s, No Friends features a more developed sound from the sisters. A thought-provoking, feminist manifesto, breaking down barriers. Solely bass and percussion, the duo charges listeners’ attention. Song titles like, “Gutter Pussy” and “Girl Cult” define the content of the album. 2017 was a rough year for many, this is the record to play while you burn that abusers t-shirt.


Derek Ted – Hidden Thoughts Mixtape

Derek Ted is a lo-fi indie artist currently based in Los Angeles, California. True to Ted’s roots, the release is a mixture of four-track recordings and voice memos. A meticulous work that is soothing and heart-wrenching all at once. Plucks of soft, acoustic guitar coincide with thoughtful lyrics, creating a lavish folk sound. More than just a story of love, pain, and drugs, this homemade mix is sensationably authentic.


Human Kitten- Velvet Waltz

Human Kitten is the folk-punk project of self-described “person named Elijah”. Currently residing in Tucson, Arizona, they released their latest album on Halloween of last year. Elijah puts everything on the line with Velvet Waltz. With themes of depression and self-introspection, listeners are welcomed to go on a personal journey while they tune in. The album features an organic sound with robust acoustic guitar and authoritative vocals.


Emily Yacina – Katie

This three song EP released by New York based musician, Emily Yacina, is brief yet easy to play for hours on end. Yacina’s delicate vocals flow ever-so-freely through listeners. After releasing various EP’s and a second full-length record in September, she still remains relatively under the radar. Her fragile voice serenades a personal and descriptive narrative of intimacy, and finding strength in tenderness.


Emily Kitchin // @DeathNap4Cutie

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