I buy lots of music. Here's how it usually unfolds: I hear something I like, look for it like a maniac, order it from a store, and then pick it up a few weeks later when it arrives. I spend time poring over liner notes and cover art. I'm not a downloader, but I do use online music sites to sample music, and if I like what I hear, go on a rampage to find the album.
Enter Bandcamp. It's an online music store and platform for artist promotion - mostly for indie artists. Artists get a microsite (or page) on which they can customize and upload their songs and albums. YOU can then listen to the music for free, and some artists even offer free full downloads. It's free to join, but Bandcamp takes a 15% cut of sales made from their website, which drops to 10% after selling more than 5-thousand dollars worth.
Bandcamp can be a useful tool for bands; it gets the music out there without costing the artist anything, but then also generates sales for them and the website. Here's a shining testimonial for Bandcamp: last July, artists Amanda Palmer, and bands Low Places and Bedhed gave up their record labels (wow; it's not easy to get one these days) and started selling albums on Bandcamp. Those are artists who LOVE Bandcamp, and the modern ways of hawking their wares.
...and then there are others who don't. Cults posted their 3-song EP on their Bandcamp page, and that's when people started hearing their music and finding out about them. The downloading began. It went Pete Tong for them, though, after they hit a certain number of downloads. Bandcamp wanted them to charge people to download those mp3s so that they could take a cut - either that, or the band would be forced to pay Bandcamp 75 dollars for every one thousand free MP3 downloads.
When I heard Cults' album, I immediately thought "whoa, wall of sound!". Wall of Sound: a music production technique for pop and rock music recordings developed by record producer Phil Spector during the early 1960s. He created a dense, layered, echo-y sound by having a number of electric and acoustic guitarists perform the same parts in unison, then recording the sound using an echo chamber.
If you've heard The Ronettes "Be My Baby", you've heard that technique. It came out 48 years ago, in August 1963, and completely embodies the Wall of Sound:
I LOVE that song.
I also love the Cults album, which was recorded using a basement chamber underneath the recording studio (one of the many techniques used to achieve that sound). I had a really difficult time choosing which one to play, but went with "Walk At Night":
Cults are here on October 10th - they're opening both the early and late show for Foster the People (remember I played this a few weeks back and proclaimed it my Summer 2011 song?) at Commodore Ballroom.