COVID Jams from Bandcamp
With most people currently under some type of self or government imposed movement restriction, there's a lot of time for indoor pursuits. One of my favorite usages for this indoor time is listening to music. Music is a mind-expanding art form in a time when we all would benefit from that as well as a time when you can put on some headphones and escape for a few moments from those you may be trapped indoors with. Bandcamp is nearly the only place I buy music from nowadays, and the sales have been frequent and generous since the beginning of March. Here are some of the best records I've had on rotation since the lock down began.
Lucy Gooch — Rushing
Lucy Gooch is a new UK artist signed to Past Inside the Present whose technique is not dissimilar from Liz Harris, although her music is not all that similar stylistically. She's definitely heavy on creating soundscapes to live in, but approaches her work with more traditional songwriting. It's tough to come up with a comparison point for this work but if you enjoy the music of Liz Harris or Juliana Barwick, you'll want to keep a close eye on Ms. Gooch.
Akasha System — Epoch Flux
Akasha System has become one of my go-to artists for downtempo techno futurism in recent months, and his new work is yet another home run. If I have to come up with a loose description of his music, it's in the vein of Detroit techno with a lot of modern flair. It's highly evocative and will make you really look forward to a long country drive.
Standing on the Corner — RED BURNS
Standing on the Corner's RED BURNS is a jazz-cum-plunderphonics freak out expedition that somehow feels custom-made for this absurd time in history. Both of their records are great, but the newer one seems particularly invigorating while trapped in four walls.
Patricia Taxxon — Beauty
Patricia Taxxon is a meme music maestro and turns her attention here to nightcore. Taxxon is extremely prolific and releases a lot of music for pay-what-you-will, so it's just a matter of exploring and seeing what you like. Beauty is as good of a place to start as any, but I would recommend almost anything off her Bandcamp.
Waxahatchee — Saint Cloud
It's hard to say that Saint Cloud feels like a career rebirth when Katie Crutchfield continually put out better and better records, but it does. The Waxahatchee project has always had filigrees of Americana but this one embraces it in a way that Crutchfield had never been willing to do. It's a classic road record at a time when that's needed more than ever.
George Clanton — Slide
Clanton first came to public view with his Espirit project, a standout of vaporwave's golden era. There are hints of that here, but it's wider in its nostalgia, bringing in elements of shoegaze and new wave to create a fresh and vital sound. The hype around this album was loud when it came out, but it sat in my wishlist until very recently.
Insecure Men — Insecure Men
Insecure Men is a side project of Fat White Family guitarist Saul Adamczewski and if that brings to mind a notion of what this record sounds like, you are likely completely wrong. In some ways this is the opposite of Fat White Family, melding 70s exotica and easy listening sounds with classic pop songwriting that's almost teeth-rotting. It's music to get sober to.
Sean Curtis Patrick — Arête I - 3.1
Sean Curtis Patrick makes what I would refer to as static music. It's very meditative and transcendental and when it's working, it can absolutely transport you to another place. Arête I - 3.1 is the sound of Curtis working at the height of his powers as an artist. It's probably my favorite work by him, and it could not have come at a better time.
Dogleg — Melee
Dogleg is a very promising post-hardcore group from Michigan, as you might have guessed given that they are named after a Bear vs Shark song, and Melee is their debut album. It's really gonna scratch the emo itch you're having from being indoors too long.
Healing Sounds II: A compilation for those in need
Past Inside the Present has released a 2nd volume of their comp to benefit Feeding America. It's chock full of four discs of deep cuts from PItP's brilliant roster of ambient and abstract electronic artists. A must-get.
Doom Mix Vol. IV
Doom Mix Vol. 4 (and you can get the others cheap as well) is a sampler of the electronic label Doom Trip's versatile avant-garde tastes including new cuts from Fire-Toolz, Dntel, and Rangers amongst others.
La Dispute — Panorama
If you're into trying out La Dispute, now is as good of a time as any as they've put their entire catalog on pay-what-you-will. For those who aren't already on board, Panorama might be a great place to start as they've fully embraced their obsession with weird mid-90's post-rock, settling into a style that's a bit of a riff on Rodan more than the post-hardcore screamo tendencies that have often kept people away from them. Although honestly, just pick up Wildlife for a buck while you're over there.
An Isolated Mind — I'm Losing Myself
A black metal album in style, I'm Losing Myself is a genre-warping one man excursion into bipolar disorder that's definitely worth a listen, especially given that it's pay-what-you-will. Kameron Boggs might to do well to hire someone to master the album next time but this is really a remarkable accomplishment for a single person.
default genders — pain mop girl 2020
A sort of companion piece to last year's brilliant main pop girl 2019 with reworkings and remixes and a few tracks to boot. It's not quite as impactful as that record but it has enough new goodness to still give it your time even if you've spent weeks with the 2019 release.
Imaginary Softwoods — Annual Flowers in Color (2020 Remaster)
As truly Earth-shattering as Emeralds was as a band, it's been amazing to hear the post-Emeralds output from the various members and makes you understand why the band needed to move on. McGuire has evolved into a sort of hippy drone songwriter, Hauschildt into a neo-Tangerine Dream synth god, while Elliott's psych-ambient Imaginary Softwoods project has flown relatively under the radar comparitively. This is something we need to remedy immediately and the remaster of the limited Annual Flowers in Color tape should help with that task.
Matt Weston — Tell Us About Your Stupor
Avant-jazz stalwart Matt Weston drops a high quality 30 minute set of hyper-experimental electroacoustic drumming he claims is inspired by Jerry Lewis, and honestly I can kinda hear it.
Whirling Hall of Knives — WHOK Lab Emissions Vol. II
Quality experimental electronics in the vein of Editions Mego. WHOK doesn't get out to do new released material much so pick it up when they do.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy — BPB Mix Tape Volume 6
The newest volume of the wonderful BPB Mix Tape series, one of the true treasures of Bandcamp, focuses more on morose and quiet BPB material. All of these are worth picking up as Dennis Loeser always takes an interesting and deft approach to curation of these archives. If I had to recommend a single one, it might be Volume 4, but Oldham devotees will find all of them essential.
In Order to Care
For a few bucks you can have the R&S Records benefit compilation for the NHS which contains almost 4 hours of techno bliss. Pick it up and have your own afternoon club session alone.
Jason Lescalleet &mdash _The Feckless Dreamer
An odd temporarily available release from noise and musique concrète composer Jason Lescalleet constructed from recent field recordings on the Salmon Falls River in Maine. It's probably a great time to consider field recording and documenting your surroundings especially if you're quarantined near a significant natural landmark.