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Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’

  by Mark Rowland

published: 23 / 12 / 2021



Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’

intro

In 'Bandcamp Explorer' Mark Rowland looks at some of the best releases on Bandcamp of the last year.


I could have gone through a year’s worth of columns and picked out my favourites from the albums I’ve covered in 2021. But this column is about introducing you to something new. I can’t just rehash previous recommendations. But it is the end of the year, a time of reflection. So instead, I’ve gone through Bandcamp’s own extremely long and detailed best of lists from throughout the year to dig out a number of gems up to September this year (Bandcamp is yet to release its best of list from quarter four). So first, let me take you back to January, when jazz bassist and composer William Parker released his 10-volume 'Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World'. It’s 91 tracks long and the digital album alone costs $70, but it’s full of beautiful pieces, somewhere between modern classical, jazz and performance art, capturing the broad spectrum of experiences of African American communities. It’s almost impossible to get through in one sitting, but it’s worth exploring. Now, to February – two great but very different records, the first from Silicone Prairie, the brainchild of Ian Teeple. His album,##My Life on the Silicone Prairie', sounds a little like Devo playing Hüsker Dü songs. It’s fast, frenetic and great fun. Lava La Rue’s EP 'BUTTER-FLY' is dreamy hip-hop/R&B, “a collection of queer love songs”, a hazy picture of young life in Britain. In March, California’s Fake Fruit delivered a self-titled album full of slack post-punk, bringing to mind Wire, Courtney Barnett and Delta 5. Opener ‘No Mutuals’, with its balance of arty quirk and catchy hooks, sets the tone for the rest of it – even at its most discordant, it’s anchored in tunefulness. April brought us a release from another punk band, The Armed, and the ambitious 'ULTRAPOP'. Opening with its title track, which combines pulsing distorted synths with dreamy vocals, the album takes punk to strange new places, with synths as big a part of the sound as pounding drums and fuzzy guitars. It utilises noise to a great degree, but never loses the pop sensibilities it hints at with its title. It’s a surprisingly uplifting listen. In May, semi-slack San Francisco rockers Pardoner released their third full-length album ''Came Down Different', which straddles 80s and 90s indie rock sounds. It has a lot in common with slacker bands like Pavement, but delivers it all with a higher octane, punky energy. Vocals are an almost spoken word yelp, with guitars carrying the melody throughout. Experimental composer L’Rain released her second album 'Fatigue' in June. It’s soulful, but not quite soul, it’s jazzy but not quite jazz. It shares some similarities with Animal Collective with its burbling loops and repeated refrains. Songs build to crescendos then take sudden left turns. L’Rain, real name Taja Cheek, uses her voice – and others’ voices– like another instrument, blending in and out of the music like spiritual waves. It’s a record to surrender to; put on some headphones and let it wash over you. It’s a stunning record. ' One of the best new punk records I’ve heard in a while came out in July. South Korea’s Drinking Boys and Girls Choir delivered, in Marriage License', an album full of sunny, somewhat naïve melodies full of bite and anger at injustice and inequality in their home country. It occasionally takes its foot off the pedal (as on ‘Time’), but otherwise delivers the breakneck pace you’d want from your punk rock, with a real knack for melody. After the sunny anger of DBGC, 'Everything' by Bnny delivered minimalistic sadness in August. The album tackles singer Jess Viscius’s grief at the death of her partner, across 14 sparse, woozy tracks that bring to mind Deerhunter, The Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star. The pace sometime picks up, such as on the rockabilly-via-David Lynch ‘Promises’. The prominent use of the minor third in the songs also brings to mind Nirvana. It’s not quite as bleak as it sounds. Finally, the mighty Low released 'HEY WHAT' in September. It continues from where previous album 'Double Negative' left off, with extensive use of noisy synths. Combine those with some amazing vocal melodies and harmonies, and you end up with something sublime. It’s another one that steals your attention, that has to be really listened to. It’s incredibly uplifting, ‘Days Like These’ being the record’s beating heart. It caps off an incredible nine months of music – who knows what brilliant works we’re missing from October to December. I shall follow up with those months in the New Year. See you in 2022.'



Also In Bandcamp Explorer


Article Links:-
https://williamparker.bandcamp.com/
https://fakefruitmusic.bandcamp.com/
https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/
https://lrain.bandcamp.com/
https://electricmuse.bandcamp.com
https://lowtheband.bandcamp.com


Picture Gallery:-
Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’


Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’


Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’


Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’


Bandcamp Explorer - The Best of ‘The Best of Bandcamp’



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