Mario Villalobos

Maxïmo Park singer Paul Smith singing into a microphone at a concert
Blurry photo of Paul Smith shot on my first ever camera, the Canon PowerShot A550

Bandcamp Friday

  • Notes

One of the reasons why I buy music I enjoy and love is because when I was a kid, I used to pirate all my music. Like many, it started with Napster, then moved on to other peer-to-peer file sharing programs like Soulseek, and ended with torrents. I spent all my free time during my late teens and early 20s simply reading about, downloading (pirating), and listening to music. And I wasn’t discriminate about it. I downloaded everything—my focus was on full catalogs. Bob Dylan? The Beatles? Chuck Berry? Miles Davis? I found and downloaded everything they released. At its peak, my collection consisted of tens of thousands of songs, all of which I listened to regularly. I was addicted and a bit insane. At one point, I saved all these mp3s onto dozens and dozens of data CDs, then onto multiple iPods, and eventually, into a single, high capacity hard drive. This served me well for a long time… until I moved to Montana and this hard drive failed.

All my music, all that music I spent years collecting and organizing and listening to? Gone.

Except for the stuff I purchased legally. That stuff has stuck around. At the time, losing my hard drive full of pirated music (and movies and TV shows) felt like I lost a good friend or a family member. I was heartbroken, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I always knew pirating was wrong, but I was broke and acquiring all this media was easy, so I ignored that voice in my head and did it anyway. With the loss of this hard drive, though, came the opportunity to change my ways and to do the right thing. So I did, and I have.

I’ve been purchasing my music ever since, and I don’t see myself ever changing that. With that said, I purchased more music today on this last Bandcamp Friday until August, and here is today’s haul.

Even though I pirated a lot of music while I was in college, I spent a lot of money going to concerts. All the bands and artists I wanted to see (and learned about from my pirating habit) came through Los Angeles, so I was able to see a lot of bands.

One of them was Maxïmo Park, an alt rock band from Newcastle. In 2007, they released Our Earthly Pleasures, their second studio album, and they came by LA in support of it. I did not buy this album, but their first one, A Certain Trigger:

I hadn’t listened to this album in probably ten years, and all it did while listening to it was bring back memories of my late college years. I had purchased the Canon PowerShot A550 around that time, and I took it with me to their show. There’s a blurry photo of Paul Smith at the top of this article, and there are way more where that came from, but I’ll keep those to myself.

Ticket stub for The Go! Team at the Echoplex for Sunday October 21, 2007

Around the same time I went to see Maxïmo Park, I took my friend Brian to see The Go! Team at the Echoplex. This was a really fun show, one I remember as the one where I saw Adrian Grenier in the audience. Entourage was big at the time, so I thought that was really cool. I still think Thunder, Lightning, Strike holds up, all these years later.

You know how I said I liked to download full catalogs? One of my main aims was to educate myself on music history, and one of those bands that popped up over and over in my research was Pavement, one of the best bands of the 90s. Since the great hard drive crash of 2012, I hadn’t supported this band… until now. Wowee Zowee is still as good as when I first heard it. What a classic.

I think in my research I also came across this band called Porcupine Tree, “the biggest rock band most people have never heard of.” I remember I had In Absentia on repeat for weeks, and again, I think it still holds up. I’m listening to it now, and I feel like I’m back in college, walking the streets of LA with my wired iPod headphones, and jamming out to my own personal soundtrack.

This next one is random, but one I’m glad I found on Bandcamp. I’ve never really been a big fan of death metal, but I remember when I first listened to this album, I felt like I could finally, sorta, understand the appeal. Disfear’s Live the Storm is probably the one and only death metal album I will ever enjoy and own, and that’s okay. It’s fucking good.

These next few albums are more recent releases, so I never pirated them in my youth.

I’ve been a fan of Yves Tumor since I first listened to Heaven to a Tortured Mind in 2020, an absolutely incredible album. Here is his most recent album, and judging by a few of the singles he’s released, I know I’m already going to love this one.

I hadn’t really heard much of Indigo De Souza, but when I saw her video for the song Younger & Dumber, I knew she was an artist I wanted to keep my eye on and support. To my surprise, she’s offering these two albums with whatever price you’d like to pay, so there’s no reason not to check her out. These two albums? 🔥🔥🔥

I realize not everyone has the same musical taste as me, and that’s fine. We’re each our own person. My hope is that maybe I introduced someone to music they’ve never listened to before, and in turn, they go and support these or other artists in the future. We all deserve to get paid, especially artists, for the work we produce. Let’s stick together and have each other’s backs.