It’s the first Friday of the month, and that means that Bandcamp are once again waiving their fees for all purchases made through their site! If you want to support an artist who has made a difference in your life, or if you have a backlog of releases on your Bandcamp wishlist, there has never been a better time to put your money where your heart is.
In case you have some moolah to burn, but don’t know where to spend it, we’ve compiled a shortlist of releases for your consideration. Most of these have flown under the radar in recent weeks and months, some haven’t, regardless, we feel like they’re all worthy of your time this afternoon. Check out our picks below!
Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams
Wistful, sunny, indie-pop that nods graciously to the great legacy of R ‘n’ B, with a flair for the subtly psychologic side of the neo-soul of today, the music of British singer, songwriter, and poet Arlo Parks betrays a maturity that feels earned, despite her age. Teaming up with producer Giancarla Buccelati for her debut record, Arlo leans into the dry heat of her calm and controlling voice, gracefully arching through the sizzling pop of jazz-inspired backbeats to deliver an achingly relatable modern soul and soft rock record.
At one point in her life, her foremost experience of the world was brooding while listening to emo records and crushing on girls she had only met in passing. Her potential is better realized now, but the insights and roil of emotions from those early days still hang in the air, like the final note of a symphony performance that purls endlessly, never seeming to degrade. The cool camaraderie communicated on the satin gripped “Hurt” will pull you into Arlo’s world, while the arpeggiated groove of “Caroline” will keep you on the rails and enjoying the scenery of this gleaming dreamboat tour, keeping you drifting long enough to reach the sonic shales of the funky float and milky smooth glide of the devotional “Green Eyes.”
Milkblood – Void
Young musicians, take heed! When A&R people give you the runaround, your best option is to blow past them with a sick EP! Having reached their limit with music executives telling them that their sound was too conventional, and simultaneously, too left-field, Milkblood decided to blaze their own path, self-releasing an EP they recorded while high on acid in the woods and between poker game with bigfoot. A release they’ve ominously titled, Void.
The EP is a drippy, tightly sequenced, dark synth sermon on losing one’s inhibitions and disregarding adherence to conventions. “Sick of Being Honest” sounds like if someone left the Weeknd to melt in the microwave like a luckless plastic army figurine, while “Void” feels it could be John Carpenter’s first eerie attempt at an R ‘n’ B crossover, and album closer “Boiler Room” is primed to reduce a dance floor to a bubbling pool of human soup with its mincing, trip-hop beats, dicing, industrial rhythms, and charcoal-crackling tempo. Dark, sick, and satisfying.
Mother of Graves – In Somber Dreams
Indianapolis death-doom warlocks Mother of Graves cast a spell of bewitching, morbid longing on their debut EP In Somber Dreams. The incredibly clean production gives lift the heroic weep of the title track and the cold flesh caress of “The Um,” making them all the more stunning their bleak magistery.
Katatonia is an obvious reference point for many of these tracks as evidenced by their punishing, and disorienting sense of melody. Mother of Graves dynamic approach cultivates a chilly, suffocating swelter that is only ever abated enough to feel all the more crushing when it returns. Entropy has never sounded so enticing as it does here.
Groupie – Ephemeral
After proving that they were not tagalongs, but trendsetters in their own right, on 2018’s Validated EP, Brooklyn’s Groupie have returned with the next chapter of their career’s engaging saga in the form of a debut LP, Ephemeral. The post-punky duo’s sound is a lush, rejuvenation of the thorny post-punk of the early ’80s variant, sounding like an (Polish-)American Au Pairs, dressed in dreamy, gossamer folds.
The breathy, shiver and coil of “Half Wave” is an audaciously catchy start to the album, and a disarming wind up for the moody, X-marked, rockabilly noir of “Waiting” and the pushy, cotton-candy and venom churn of “Thick as Glue,” the latter of which combines the melodic influences of the Pixies and a sandy-haired, surfer version of Veruca Salt for all you ’90s kids who need a spike of nostalgia in your life. They may call it Ephemeral but it sure sounds pretty solid to me.
Scarred – S/T
Luxenberg tech-death dispatch Scarred follow up their 2013 LP Gaia – Medea with a self-titled album and a new lead singer, Yann Dalscheid. Like most self-titled record, Scarred’s is a statement of self-constructed identity, saying to their audience, “This is us. Drink it in!” In Scarred’s case, you may need to be resuscitated by a team of medical professionals after imbibing all that they have on offer.
The band will bungee from dexterous Gojira riffs, to concrete skulled hardcore, to madness-provoking Devin Townsend approximations, all in a single track. They’re even able to effect passages of atmospheric black metal for parts and “A.H.A.I.A.” incorporates some kind of Eastern chant into its breakdown which serves as a fantastic counterbalance to the djenty downstroke it accompanies. Not all genre experiments pay off, but this one you can take to the bank.
Nyctalllz – Persian Trip
Iranian producer Morego Dimmer, better known as Xerxes the Dark and MOREGO, has released a new dark, ambient, noise and EBM album under the name Nyctalllz, titled Persian Trip.
The album is centered around the concept of a man who has become possessed by a malevolent force. Becoming intoxicated by sound, he descends into a non-euclidain world of sights and sounds that upend his senses and confound his conscious mind. Is he in the clutches of a djinn? Or the test subject in a CIA-backed, MK-Ultra II experiment? You’ll have to get your passport stamped and embark on the Persian Trip yourself to find out.
The Cavemen – Am I A Monster?
No one is going to beat you over the head until you list to New Zealand garage rockers The Cavemen, but when all the cool kids are talking about them later at school, you’re going to wish someone had. These spaghetti-brained mutants have just dropped a two-sided single of rough and tumble, Poison-Boys-esque rock ‘n’ roll that starts with the gin-swilling, amp-kicking “Am I A Monster,” and leaves you begging for more with the stomping, hinterlands riot of “Schizophrenia.” Give in to your inner neanderthal and give this wild, stony wheel a turn.
The Anarchy – Demo
Few bands can live up to the chaos hinted at in their name, but The Anarchy is one of them. Featuring members of Sexpill, Nosferatu, and Chronophage, The Anarchy fire off a four-shot barrage of ear mutilating, fever-inducing, eye-crossing, noise and hardcore punk that feels as crude and as pestilent as a medieval depiction of the black death.
It’s no coincidence that the cover of their demo shows someone literally having their face blown off. You may want to make sure your life-insurance policy’s premium is paid before you slap play on this one.
Niner Niner – Destructo
Niner Niner is a four-piece, garage punk band of the variety that Slovenly and Suicide Squeeze are usually all over. Surprisingly, the Bakersfield boys have escaped the notice of these curators of cool, but not ours! Destructo is the band’s debut album, which sees them crashing through ten tracks of belligerently, hooky blazers, cooked to perfection in an irregularly shaped pie tin, with only the finest of incongruent ingredient added to the filling, topped with a liberal glazing of irreverence.
You’re going to find bits of undigested, ’00s garage rock revival, beads of grungy buckshot, and a sour patina of ’70s power pop in every bite you take out of this record. Put simply, this is an album with a lot of interesting textures, and picking these bits of mean detritus out of your teeth will probably keep you preoccupied until Niner Niner are able to bake up another batch of tracks for a follow-up.
Oginalii – Pendulum
Dark and ominous, psychedelic sludge out of Nashville, Oginalii are a band that moves with the cryptic, regal ambiance of Chelsea Wolfe but is animated by the archetypal pathfinding of thunder-gods Led Zepplin, and, if you can believe it, the guitar-jazz incursions of Steely Dan.
Their debut EP Pendulum is anchored by the swirling, diamond-yielding pressure of the sonic typhoon “Scapegoat,” whose eye you enter early, only to await the inevitable moment when you are spit out into the ravaging elements, grappled by iron-wrought grooves and lashed-by-snake-bite leads, with your lungs finally filling up with the tar-thick poison of the band’s dread-harboring harmonizations. Relinquish your fears, and enter the realm of Oginalii.
Beige Banquet – Beta
Well-oiled and serious post-punk and no wave out of London, Beige Banquet are a feast for the mind as well as the senses. Adopting a subtle approach to caustic displays of cynicism; the band captures the mood of a matinee bill split between Tuxedoomoon and The Fall, with Alan Vega djing his own remixes of underground disco tapes between sets.
Such an audacious display is accomplished by a singular rational mammal, named Tom Brierley, who employs extraterrestrial keyboards and razor-bladed guitars in collaboration with a, yet, unidentified drum machine, to make art pop so outlandish that it might prompt Hardy Fox and Lou Reed to rise from their graves to defend the legacy of their works from the onslaught of this incorrigible usurper. Beige Banquet is a colorful release from a lively and creative mind whose contents are as off-putting as they are delightful.