Bay Area Bands With FREE Downloads: Part I

The music industry is a shit storm right now and most of us are guilty of acquiring as much music as we can for FREE. I know I do it and I am a musician. It’s not that we don’t want to support the musicians we love. It’s just that a lot of us are also starving artists, or at least starving. So it’s always a special treat when a band gives away FREE music willingly, especially local ones! Enjoy these MP3s. But then actually buy the bands’ next album!

San Francisco’s king of analog, musician and Tiny Telephone owner John Vanderslice, recently released a six-track FREE EP, Green Grow The Rushes, complete with your choice of MP3 or uncompressed WAV files, lyrics, and album art. Classic Vanderslice, giving you FREE music because he’s the nicest guy on the planet, and encouraging you to be dorky with your sound files because he knows how important the technical details are (to some of you tech nerds). Download it now, buy the vinyl next year.

Bay Area music website the Bay Bridged puts out a new FREE podcast every Tuesday. Showcasing a different local band every week, plus putting together monthly mixes, this is a great way to find out about local acts. Past podcasts have featured Birds & Batteries, Social Studies, Sonny and the Sunsets, and they’re ALL available for FREE on iTunes.

This week’s Bay Bridged podcast features longtime San Francisco pop music staple Kelly Stoltz. Head over to SF Weekly to download two FREE tracks from his new album: “I Remember You Were Wild” and “I Don’t Get That.”

Highly blogged-about San Francisco band the Fresh & Onlys have just released another album (three in one year, plus a rave review on Pitchfork), Play It Strange. You can nab a variety of FREE tracks. For ”Second One to Know,” go to the Bay Bridged; for “Diamond in the Dark,” visit Stereogum; and for ”Waterfall,” head over to Brooklyn Vegan (you can also watch the new video at SF Weekly).

It’s rare that a week goes by without Bay Area sweethearts the Morning Benders releasing some sort of FREE download.  For the most recent FREE tracks, head over to Stereogum to get their covers of Bob Dylan’s “Outlaw Blues” and Paul McCartney’s “Ram On,” plus frontman Christopher Chu’s EchoMix2 (where else are you gonna hear McCartney paired with R. Kelly?). But that’s not all!  In usual Morning Benders fashion, the band’s got their fingers in a few other projects offering FREE downloads…read on for three more!

Berkeley band Hetch Hetchy is giving away the entirety of its new full-length album for FREE. Recorded by Morning Benders frontman Chris Chu and featuring Morning Benders drummer Julian Harmon, Glen Worple is available on Hetch Hetchy’s bandcamp site.

As if that weren’t enough, Chu also produced Wisconsin transplants AB & The Sea a few months back. Now the SF band has posted two FREE downloads on their website. Go to the “Get Stuff Free” section for “Bone Dry,” from their new debut EP Boys and Girls, and “California Gurls,” a Katy Perry cover. There’s also a FREE Zombies cover available on the Bay Bridged.

Aaaaand if you haven’t boarded the Benders bandwagon by now, Chu also produced my upcoming album (shameless plug), on which we sing a duet called “The Duel” that’s available for FREE download on Stereogum and the Bay Bridged.

More more more:

Adam Haworth Stephens (of Two Gallants): “The Cities that You Burned” and “Second Mind” available on his website (scroll to the bottom of the page!).

Sparrows Gate (former Port O’Brien members): “Caught Me By Surprise” posted on the Bay Bridged.

Grand Lake: the Oakland band covers Pavement’s “In the Mouth of a Desert” with a FREE MP3 on SF Weekly.

That should tide you over for a while. I’ll check back in soon with more FREE downloads for your thrifty enjoyment!

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About the author

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.

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