New Noise Bandcamp Friday Picks: December 2020

It’s the first Friday of the month, and that means that Bandcamp are waiving their fees for the day! That’s right, every penny you spend on Bandcamp before midnight tonight will go directly to the artists you’re purchasing from.

This is the last one of these they will be doing for 2020, so make it count! And if you need recommendations for what to buy, I’ve prepared a shortlist of 10 bangers for your consideration below. Selections ranging from hardcore punk, to dream pop, to garage rock, to hip hop. You can thank me later! Or better yet, buy one of these albums, and tell them that New Noise sent you!

Lebenden Toten – Synaptic Noise Dissociation (Iron Lung)

Our first pick this Friday sees the return of the Living Dead! Portland’s Lebenden Toten (I’ve already translated their name for you) stack another headstone on their already crushing catalog. Their latest release is actually a live album, not a typical move for a punk band, as the live release has the air of prestige and often stinks of a band looking to get high off their own fumes (and inviting their audience to do the same). 

Synaptic Noise Dissociation is just the opposite though, a synapse-frying sear that will make you feel like your brain has been dropped into a cast-iron pan to sizzle next to a side-order of sunny-side-up eggs. Punishing patterns of percussion; clawing, Conflict-esque guitars; and Mira Sonnleitner vicious, snaggle-toothed bark, all wrapped in a rash-inducing pill of ear destroying distortion. Hardcore punk, no filter, no filler, no problem.  Get it here.

Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin – FlySiifu’s (Lex Records)

Ecumenical, genre-plundering MC and self-described “spiritualist,” Pink Siifu and Mutant Academy Collective curator Fly Anakin have opened a record shop. In the middle of a pandemic? In the life of the mind, anything is possible! FlySiifu’s is the new collaborative album from these forward-thinking rhyme-wranglers and beat hustlers, loosely organized around the concept of a hypothetical proprietorship that slings sound to keep turkey in the fridge.

There is a dreamy, mid-afternoon haze that settles over the entire affair, aided by the lightly lysergic quality of the production that comes courtesy of the sacred fog and lush lobe caress of Playa Haze, the jazz-craft of Budgie, the bubbly brain brew, and rib-tickling vibraphone of Lastnamedavid, and the mind goblin himself Madlib, among others. You may not be able to indulge in any crate spelunking at the moment, but you can at least dig on these groove skating bops.  Get it here.

B L A C K I E… All Caps, With Spaces – Face the Darkness (self-released)

Texas noise artist Michael LaCour have released another LP as B L A C K I E… All Caps, With Spaces. Face the Darkness follows up his 2017 REMAINS with another collection of wounded shout-raps over blown-out sound systems that shriek and howl like a skinless Greek chorus. The forceful angst and scalping, steal-edged flow of LaCour’s lyrics speak to a profound, and relatable, isolation, which is further grounded by the harshly compressed backing tracks, which feel demonically inspired by an orchestra of spiritual jazz banshees.

At times, it feels like LaCour is hulking out at a hardcore show, and at others, it sounds like he is burrowing his way out of Alice Coltrane’s chest like a hungry alien chest-burster. Face the Darkness is the confrontation with self-doubt and mind-shattering anxiety you need in your life today.  Get it here.

Built To Fade – Lies In Nostalgia (Knowmercy Productions)

CunninLynguists producer Kno first teamed up vocalists Anna Wise, Dane Ferguson, and Zoë Wick as Built to Fade back in 2013. They have since been joined by DopeHouse’s Fjer, who come on board after Wise left the project, in order to drop their second LP, Lies In Nostalgia, a collection sure to sate the appetites of all you cool synth sharks in our readership. 

Lies In Nostalgia combines the ’80s, new-wave-inspired purr of a Carly Rae Jepsen or CHVRCHES and reimagines it through a cooled-down, dust-off of laid-back hip hop and R’nB. It’s very inspiring to hear Tears for Fear and style lyrics and the future-forward synth pluck the Pet Shop Boys set to a stuttering break-beat, feeling like the fated fitting of a hand in a soft leather glove. You won’t find a better, chiller soundtrack to ease into your afternoon than this.  Get it here.

Pus – Pus (self-released)

Pus is the scuzz-backed debut from blackened, Peruvian, hardcore, and crust punk band Pus. The band’s members are “anonymous,” but rest assured, they’re responsible for more than their fair share of superb and salacious Latin American hardcore and post-punk over the past decade.

This stuff is seriously gross-sounding, perspiring grit and venom like a frog exudes slime. You’re likely going to need a shot of some powerful antibiotics after letting this album into your proximity. And, as if you needed another reason to get down with Pus, they’re virulently anti-cop. Mysterious guy hardcore with a message. Mainline it into my spine!  Get it here.

Total Rubbish – Triple Negative (Born Losers Records)

Triple Negative is the debut EP from Philly fuzz and sugar vendors Total Rubbish. And yes, a triple negative is an affirmative”no” linguistically, but I’m positive that you’re going to want to hear the whole record once you get a first taste of the bombastic, Veruca Salt seasoned, Dandy Warhols whirl, “Honey Ryder.”

Total Rubbish are comprised of Bre Steinfeldt on Bass, Cass Nguyen on Guitar, and Kiki Schiller on drums, and representing a necessary and inexcitable eruption of female energy into often male-dominated rock spaces. From the Velvety rumble of “Someone Else’s Dream” to the poppy, volume-pumping sweep of the contemptuous “What’s Your Damage?” to the rock-thunder rev of “Bad Luck, Baby,” you’ll be glad you let this stunningly suave and slummy triple-threat take a tour around the circumference of your skull this afternoon.  Get it here.

Mina Caputo – The Mones (self-released)

First gaining prominence as the lead singer of alternative metal band Life of Agony, Mina Caputo has translated her bluesy vocals and folk inclinations into a new, solo album titled The Mones.

Recorded while in quarantine, this versatile and dreamy record sifts through countless styles and moods, from ragtime-inspired Americana jukes (“California”) to languid and affected, worm-hole post-rock (“She”), to Latin flavored acoustic rock (“Single Leaf”), to post-disco soul serenades and electric blues balladry (“Holding Up This Fall”). And that’s just the first four tracks! Eclectic doesn’t even cover it. The Mones needs to be heard to be believed. Get it here.

Fleshwolf – Fleshwolf (self-released)

I know what you’re thinking, “Finally, a death metal recommendation!” And trust me, it’s been worth the wait. Fleshwolf is a one-man-monster-mash out of Northern Ireland who sounds like he should have been Trey Azagthoth’s guitar tech for the last 30-some-odd years. This beast of a man knows his way around a fretboard, and what’s better, he knows how to write some absolutely sick and abominably catchy riffs.

Despite his clear technical abilities and the high production value of his self-titled EP, Fleshwolf’s style of death metal definitely lands on the punker side of the metal continuum, more Entombed than Incantation, and more Obituary than Carcass. It honestly sounds like a keyed-up version of Necrot in some places. An excellent and welcome first effort from this prodigious one-man show, primed for some guilt-free, knuckle-headed, head-banging this afternoon. Get it here.

Mock Suns – Mock Suns (self-released)

Mock Suns are the second psychedelic-and-fuzz-rock band from Philly to be featured on this list, and that’s more a consequence of how much good dream pop is coming out of the city at the moment than a lack of commitment to investigating new music on the part of this author (also this article is overdue, ugh). The new self-titled album is the follow-up to Mock Suns 2016 release Stay True, which was meant to be the band’s final album.

Thankfully, the project was resurrected by sole remaining member Greg Puglese this year as a somber sonic pool boarded by lush ambient foliage and stirred by eerie gusts of reverent and cool synths. This may sound slightly alienating, but Puglese’s welcoming and warm vocal melodies give these songs a familiar and homey quality that will make them easy to settle into.

A good place to start is the spiritually resonate shimmer and dark, scintillating tide of “The First Ever Image of a Black Hole on an Apple Cinema Display.” If you feel like you can surf the vibes Puglese’s is exuding after that, take it up a notch with the splashy, neon soul roll of “Get a New Dream” and let yourself explore the tracklisting freely from there. Get it here.

Belted Sweater – I’m Fucking Delightful (self-released)

The one-human synth project Belted Sweater was pitched to us as “Henry Rollins fronting Erasure, but with live drums and all he sings about are terribly humiliating Grindr hookups.” And that’s kind of what you get, on their debut LP I’m Fucking Delightful: hardcore punk, translated through the medium of bedroom dance-punk, dancing with itself while screaming into a mirror, and letting its mascara run all the way down its cheek and onto its sleeveless Limp Wrist hoodie.

The riffs are catchy, the emotions are running high, and the drama is oh, so real. I’m Fucking Delightful is an awesome and cathartic listen from beginning to end, and I hope you’ll give it a chance today. Get it here.

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