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New music roundup: Coronavirus songs, local albums on Bandcamp

As Cardi B and Bono get topical, here are some ways to support local artists in crisis.

GO CAMPING: NEW LOCAL ALBUMS

On March 20, the music platform Bandcamp announced it would waive its fees from all sales to support artists who have seen their livelihoods upended by the coronavirus. That translated to an additional $4.3 million in the hands of artists worldwide. While they’ve since resumed collecting fees, it was a good reminder that Bandcamp is one good way to support artists directly, as they tend to receive more money than streaming royalties. Since local artists are getting hammered due to concert cancellations and venue closures, here are five Tampa Bay artists with new or upcoming albums on Bandcamp worth supporting.

Photo Fire, Foreign Voice: A dash of mid-2000s blog-rock, a dose of modern psychedelic pop and a strong sense of melody run throughout this St. Petersburg group’s richly produced new album.

DieAlps!, More Important Things: Wife-and-husband singers Connie and Frank Calcaterra of these Tampa favorites have put together another collection of fuzzy, catchy alt-rock harkening back to the ’90s — or the garage-rock revival of today.

La Lucha, Everybody Wants to Rule The World: The St. Petersburg jazz trio’s latest album won’t drop until May, but you can already pre-order it on Bandcamp. Among the songs covered: Reinventions of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, Patrick Swayze’s She’s Like the Wind (!) and Tears for Fears’ title track.

Shurwood, Changing Face: Technically released right before Christmas, this Tampa group’s latest brings waves of emo, grunge and post-punk washing through your speakers.

Haunting Portraits, That Which Looks Far Away: The five songs on this Tampa four-piece’s new EP roar with melodic emo fire. It’s out on streaming services now, but you can pre-order a digital or physical copy on Bandcamp.

The Haunting Portraits released "That Which Looks Far Away" on Feb. 28, 2020. [EVAN DELL | Carry The 4]

DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS: CORONAVIRUS SONGS

Yes, we’ve all had a Weird Al-icized version of the Knack’s My Sharona stuck in our heads the past few weeks (“M-m-m-myyyy corona!”). But it didn’t take long for big-name artists to start knocking out actual songs inspired by the coronavirus and society’s virtual shutdown. One could argue we’re still in the novelty-song days of COVID-19; deeper and more intricate songs will no doubt emerge once we’ve all lived with this thing a little longer. For now, here are five of the many new coronavirus songs to add to your end-of-days playlist.

iMarkkeys featuring Cardi B, Coronavirus: Cardi B posted an Instagram video about the coronavirus, and producer iMarkkeys ran with a sample of her inimitable voice. Within days, the slick, catchy track, featuring Cardi barking about how “the s--- is real!” shot up the iTunes charts.

Cardi B performs "Money" at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. [MATT SAYLES | Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]

Big Baby Scumbag, F--- Corona Virus 2020: It’s been quite a year for Tampa rapper Big Baby Scumbag, from a signature beer courtesy of Hidden Springs Ale Works to a new mixtape, Big Baby Earnhardt, that racked up a 7.1 on Pitchfork. Now he’s dropped this goofy flex about washing hands and staying healthy in the age of the coronavirus: “I’m eating healthy, I got karats in my tooth / Drinking on some vitamin C / 'cause I got the juice.”

Bono, Will.i.am, Jennifer Hudson and Yoshiki, Sing For Life: What happens when Dublin shuts down on St. Patrick’s Day? U2 frontman Bono writes a song about it. Days after posting a demo, he fleshed it out with some famous friends for this uplifting wannabe anthem. As Will.i.am sings: “Everybody talk about isolation / everybody trying not to feel the fear / the times got me worried about my occupations / and I can’t buy tissue for my tears.”

Trey Anastasio, Lost In the Pack: The Phish frontman has dropped a steady stream of new songs that, whether they were written about the coronavirus or not, certainly fit the feeling of the moment. Like this one about a socially distant relationship: "There’s a little cave out back where I can go to hide / and when I do I always phone you up to say goodbye / somehow I can never seem to find the words I seek / or maybe it’s just that the signal is too weak.”

Ben Gibbard, Life Under Quarantine: The Death Cab For Cutie singer’s daily livestreamed concerts were highlights of the music industry’s early shut-in days. In addition to covers and rare Death Cab songs, he debuted a strummy, sweet-but-depressing new song about life on the empty streets of Seattle. “Inside the Safeway, it’s like the Eastern Bloc / because people have a way of getting crazy when they think they’ll be dead in a month,” he sings.

Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard has played two weeks of daily live-streamed concerts during the coronavirus pandemic. [Ryan Russell]

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