Category Archives: Bandcamp

Premiere: Roladex – “We R”

Here’s another band that I’ve covered before, Roladex, coming at us once again from a label that I’ve come to know and love, Medical Records. The label is celebrating their 5th birthday with a pretty substantial double LP retrospective called “Synesthesia: The First Five Years.”

What Medical Records has put together is basically 3 sides that serve as a collection of re-issues of what they consider to be their best tracks, with a 4th side comprised of several new Medical Records artists covering some of their favorite reissue tracks. The 5 year anniversary release also happens to be the label’s 50th release in total. So to celebrate we’re premiering a track from the 4th side of the LP by Roladex with their cover of the Charisma Track “We R.”

Roladex’s sound lends itself perfectly to the track–at once picking up where Kraftwerk left off while adding elements of later proponents of the analog/new wavey synth sound The Human League. It’s that mixture of catchiness and emotion with the somewhat unaffecting, staid synth sound.

You can check out the album in its entirety below from Medical Records’ bandcamp page. You can also order the album, due out on June 11th, on limited edition gatefold 160g colored vinyl. Lots of great stuff on here so check it out below.

 

 

Sprïng – “Levvee”

Last year I posted about the new album by Vancouver’s Sprïng. That album, “Celebrations,” went on to become one of my most listened to albums of 2014. The combination of rock and prog elements with pop melodies and wickedly amazing musicianship was definitely a nice surprise.

As it turns out, not very long after I heard about and wrote about Sprïng, they happened to be coming through town. I checked them out and am still so glad that I did. Recounting the show to my friend a few days later I was sure to relay all the details to him in order to make him suitably jealous and angry that he wasn’t here to catch the show. What I heard and saw was actually pretty stunning. The songs all translated really well live, and seeing the band pull off the musical acrobatics necessary to get through their very unique approach left my jaw on the floor.

A few months ago they sent out a link for this new video for the song “Levvee.” It’s another exciting rush of rush of energy from the Canadian quartet. Plenty of dense textures, “OK Computer”-era guitar tones, and jagged edges all with an understated vocal floating over top. It’s a really great and catchy tune, but no news on a new album from what I can tell. I’m taking this video to mean that at least they are working on stuff and that we’ll have something new coming our way very soon. I seriously don’t understand how everyone is not talking about this band. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Until then, you can check out “Celebrations” on Sprïng’s bandcamp page, and watch the stop-motion video for “Levvee” above.

onYou – “Ultimum Photon A Sole”

Going with the theme of nearly instrumental albums, today we have onYou’s “Ultimum Photon A Sole,” full of slowly emerging, ever-growing structures full of hypnotic repetition. The first track, “A Grift,” definitely takes its time getting started, with the vocals not making their entrance until about 3 minutes in. After laying down a very clearly kraut-rock influenced foundation it comes as a pleasant surprise that some new wave tendencies are brought out with the vocals. About three-quarters of the way through things start to veer sharply off into the land of psychedelia. The pulsating rhythm is stripped away, the keyboards fade, and the guitar and cymbals work together in creating a wash of sound. All of a sudden there’s an ocean where just a moment ago there was a factory.

And there are so many moments like that throughout this album. onYou has an uncanny ability to maneuver some pretty drastic leaps of style, working from the almost overbearing tightness of their precise, lock-step rhythm section to an amorphous cloud of eerie sound effects. Essentially, the band is taking a one-part form with a simple and fairly static harmonic pulse, and creating sections within that.

“Finding the Wronskian” flowers out of the ending of the album opener. The guitar lays down a sparse harmonic idea, and before long the bass and drums are back in the game, gathering up all the loose ends and pulling the whole thing along again. An incredibly slow crescendo continually promises a huge eventually payoff. As the guitar builds itself up from the background, alternately fighting against the noise while helping to build it, we reach the moment we have been made to wait for. No sooner than the song reached its goal everything collapses again. The actual payoff comes about 4 minutes into the next track, “The Wronskian.”

The constant back and forth from these repetitive, motorik sections to those with a considerable amount of noise that are nearly arrhythmic, is what this album is all about. Of course, the extreme degree to which onYou is able to string us along as listeners, really growing that sense of anticipation to incredible levels, is also a factor. Throw into the mix some psychedelia and a tiny bit of that New Wave color and you’re pretty much there. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the intense Pink Floyd vibe that album closer “Adrift on the Wind” lays down. The album closes on a really strong note, with a catchy and fairly straight ahead psych-rock tune.

“Ultimum Photon A Sole” is out now on Captcha records on 160g cyan vinyl, which is pretty sick looking. Of course you should check out the bandcamp page to order the vinyl, or get a digital copy.

The Bats Pajamas – “No Hello”

Here’s a fresh batch of noise punk due out next week on Fleeting Youth Records. The band is The Bats Pajamas, out of Toronto and the album is available for pre-order either as a download (boring) or a limited edition cassette (much better) through the Fleeting Youth Records bandcamp page.

The song above, “Witch Way,” is an immediately overpowering, supremely down-tuned, distortion-fest. Sludge guitars underneath echoed-and-distorted-beyond-all-recognition screams. Its a pretty punishing punk-rock assault that doesn’t let up for so much as a second from beginning to end. The ultra-low tuning reminds me somewhat of Polvo, but I think the slacked strings are at even more of an extreme here, not to mention the heavy low-end that’s going on with the tone. This is a beefy gut-punch of a guitar sound that would maybe fit equally well on a death metal album.

Next up is the song “T.V. Sheets,” in the video below. This one is cleaned up a little bit, clearing away most of the sludge and picking up the pace. This one sticks with a tried and true 3 chord structure that eventually moves up a fourth, lending a bit of a modified or truncated 12-bar blues sound to the song. Also, the video is just a bunch of people destroying televisions, which is something I think we can all get behind.

The album is out in less than a week, on Tuesday May 26th. Head over to the Fleeting Youth bandcamp page to pre-order the cassette and to hear another song, “Wrong House,” which you can also download for free. The band has plans to tour beyond the Great White North in support of this album so you’d probably be best to check their facebook page for updates.

The Holydrug Couple – “Moonlust”

Getting back to at least moderately rock related music with The Holydrug Couple. Their album, “Moonlust,” places itself somewhere within the realm of chillwave on songs like “Dreamy,” or album opener “Atlantic Postcard,” while many other tracks take detours into a lot more psychedelic territory. The album is by an large an instrumental affair, and even when there are lyrics present they often aren’t the star of the show.

A track like “French Movie Theme,” appropriately, captures the spirit of Air with prominent bass guitar and ethereal guitar line backed by floating synth patches. A song like this is actually, in my opinion, more effective without vocals because it allows the guitars to really branch out into some interesting territory. It is like having a song with only a middle section, the part that continually builds until there is an exciting climax at the end.

By the time we get to “Submarine Gold” things have really taken a step further toward a more psychedelic sound with a bit more of an improvisatory feel; free form, more or less, with an extended guitar solo.

Off in the other direction we have “Concorde,” firmly planted in the chillwave category with the requisite hazy synths. While the synth is front and center for this one the bass is still just as present as it was in “French Movie Theme,” but the guitar is relocated to backing material, creating sparse echoes off in the distance out of the way of the bass and synth.

“Moonlust” is out this month on Sacred Bones records. The Holydrug Couple is also currently on tour, they are in Portland tonight at the Doug Fir and will be covering the rest of the West Coast and all through the country in the weeks to follow. They even have a show in Toronto and one in the UK, so keep an eye out.

The album is currently available from The Holydrug Couple bandcamp page here. On their bandcamp page you can also check out the video for their song “Dreamy.” The rest of their tour dates are below.

May 20
Doug Fir Lounge
Portland, OR

May 22
The Knockout
San Francisco, CA
May 23
Secret Location La
Los Angeles, CA
May 25
51 West
Tempe, AZ

Jun 02
Stone Fox
Nashville, TN

Jun 04
The Pinhook
Durham, NC

Jun 05
Strange Matter
Richmond, VA

Jun 07
Kung Fu Necktie
Philadelphia, PA

Jun 09
Great Scott
Allston, MA

Jun 12
Alphaville
Brooklyn, NY

Jun 13
Baby’s All Right
Brooklyn, NY

Jun 19
Lee’s Palace
Toronto, ON

Sep 25
Blade Factory at Camp & Furnace
Liverpool, UK

Lost Trail/DOR – “Arachnidiscs Recordings Split Tape Series Vol. 12”

I’m going to get your week off to a great start right now with some fresh noise and drones.

These tracks are coming from a pair of noise/drone artists From North Carolina. The first, Lost Trail, is the husband and wife duo of Zachary Corsa and Denny Wilkerson Corsa. From the sound of it, opening track “Eyes of Fire ’83” finds its footing right away with a huge blast of booming noise that almost immediately finds itself morphing into about a dozen different micro-melodies. Each stream of pitches that emerges from the original blast takes on a life of its own, and it really creates a beautiful texture. The opening blast eventually becomes this lush backdrop similar to a loud sonority being churned out by a large orchestral string section, with all the cellos and double basses bowing molto ponticello on their lowest strings in order to really accentuate the rich overtones.

“In Cold October Houses” takes a similar approach, with a little more focus on the roaring feedback that more or less completely envelops the melody, buried within the cloud of distortion. Unlike “Eyes of Fire ’83” the overbearing roar dissipates, and as that harshness fades the pure tones become clear. This track works more like a suite with various sections that fade out and back in, each exploring different textures.

DOR is a duo of John Rutherford, and Jacob Worden, and they offer up 3 unnamed tracks that are a nice counterpoint to some of the harsher sounds of Lost Trail’s side. Here, steady, glowing tones dominate. Each sound is prolonged, very gradually growing and then shifting in pitch ever so slightly before fading back into the distance. I think that the orchestra analogy is apt in describing this music as well, but the approach is quite different. We’ve sort of moved from Penderecki to Scelsi in a way. Where Lost Trail is clearly approaching from the noisier side of things, and it might be harder to parse out from where exactly the sounds maybe be coming, DOR is more in line with sounds that could come from any of several different post-rock bands, perhaps.

DOR’s 3rd track moves full on into steady rhythm territory, taking their gradually shifting tones and placing them within a new context. The percussion sounds add a degree of coldness to the overall sound, while serving to reign in some of the more ambient elements.

I would highly suggest not only checking out all 6 tracks here on the Arachnidiscs bandcamp page, but also pre-ordering the tape. The packaging looks fantastic, and it’s a steal at $7 Canadian. The cassette is limited edition so get on it.

Stream: Fight Amputation – “Constantly Off”

Fight Amputation will be releasing their first new LP in three years with next month’s “Constantly Off.” If the two tracks streaming on their bandcamp page is any indication, then the album is going to be an unrelenting barrage of heaviness.

For a three-piece band, they definitely know how to fill out their sound. There’s a nice layer of clear, punishing bass underneath the thick crunch of the guitar. With tone straight out of Queens of the Stone Age, and the riffs to match, Fight Amp sound like they have something to prove, and aren’t wasting any time barreling through these tracks with reckless abandon.

“Ex Everything” starts off with chugging, down-tuned guitars and the stuttering feel of shifting time signatures in the verse. The chorus (if you want to call it that, as it only happens once) takes flight, however briefly, and ends with just a touch of a hint of what might have turned out as a catchy hook if they had wanted it to. That hook hints at some of Nirvana’s early material–perhaps a beefier “Big Long Now”–with both vocal lines ending similarly.

The album is available for pre-order right now through Fight Amp’s bandcamp page. The album will officially come out on June 9th, after which the band will be playing shows around the mid-west, East coast, and Canada, in addition to a hometown show (of course). You can check tour dates on the bandcamp page, or on fightamp.com.