Musicians everywhere have been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, but there are plenty of ways for listeners to lend a hand, from buying merch to tipping performers for their livestreams. Now add to that list Pandemic Artist Relief: Music in the Time of Covid-19, a compilation album from the newly-formed Gardenhead Records. All proceeds will directly benefit musicians who have had shows canceled as a result of the ongoing health crisis.
“I had to cancel some shows I was organizing, and, since I’m a college student, I had to move back home and am studying online,” says Fuchs. “I’m being careful and distancing like most everyone else, but I would say I haven’t been too negatively affected compared to other people.”
That put Fuchs a unique position to help–he devised Pandemic Artist Relief as the situation continued to escalate.
“I kept seeing tour and show cancellation posts from artists I know and thought this project could potentially help them by providing some funds, exposure, and something musical to work on.”
He started reaching out to affected artists through social media, and quickly assembled a track list featuring 26 exclusive original songs and covers, each by a different artist. The finalized compilation opens with Maryland emo band Checkmate covering Joyce Manor’s “Constant Headache” and ends with an exclusive cut from New York anti-folk legend Jeffrey Lewis.
“It was very exciting to hear back from many artists whose music I love. I also had help finding artists from Gabriel Loredo of the band Unicorns at Heart,” says Fuchs. “Once we had all the submissions, I mastered and ordered the track listing and put it up for preorder.”
Proceeds from individual tracks, listed for $1 each, will go directly to the artists who contributed them. Some artists–those who have been hit harder in recent weeks–were able to opt into a cut of the divided sales from the full compilation, which costs $10.
To distribute the record, Fuchs got in touch with his contacts at Blue Salt Records, who released his solo album Bloodletting earlier this year. There, Marissa Carroll offered to help with promotion, but recommended Fuchs find a more digital-focused label to release the compilation.
“Since we were already organizing everything on our own, I had the idea to start my own online label,” says Fuchs. “While Gardenhead Records is my label, the idea is that it would be connected to Blue Salt and handle digital releases and compilations.”
Though the label was born in unusual circumstances, and there’s no telling what the future holds at the moment, Fuchs intends to keep working on more Gardenhead releases.
“We hope to do some more compilations and maybe digital releases for individual artists. I hope to eventually grow Gardenhead into a successful independent label which can do physical releases as well.”
Their inaugural release skews acoustic, but spans quiet, vibey bedroom pop, pumped-up indie rock, pop punk, and beyond. Across those genre variations, it maintains a consistently impressive level of quality. It holds a song for every mood–a perfect opportunity to expand your quarantine listening library while directly supporting some of those shut down by a virus outbreak that continues to unfold.