Oh man alive, it’s that time yet again and once more I (CB) feel like the dog ate my homework. Hey, where did the time go, right? Seems like mere hours ago we are all down the park and it didn’t get dark until 3 am and now here we are, huddled under a blanket and trying to heat the house with Keir Starmer’s broken promises. And I’ve only gone and twunted some posh geezer’s back end. Slack-jawed, inbred looking fella, dribbled a lot, looked familiar somehow.
Luckily, I’ve got a crack squad ready to pick up the slack this month: regular Bandscamps Bill Cummings (BC) and Kate Haresnape (KH) are back for more and this time we have fresh blood in the shape of Max Mazonowicz (MM) and Gordon Anderson (GA).
Yes, you’re in his DMs, but he’s in our October recommendations for Bandcamp Friday.
Gnod – La Mort Du Sens
Gnod make a welcome return with their new album, La Mort du Sens, out next month on Rocket Recordings. And if it’s attack-mode, matter-disintegrating, audio carnage you’re looking for, look no further. Taster track, ‘Pink Champagne Blues’, is a seething Jeroboam of blood-stained commotion-lotion (Chorus: ‘Let’s get fucked / Headrush’). The album is billed as the band’s most complete attempt yet to render the pure fury of their live show in the studio, and there’s no doubt they’ve put absolutely everything into it. This is heavy, heavy stuff – a discordant mortification of the eardrums. Cathartic, compelling and brilliant throughout. Catch them on tour this autumn. (CB)
Nina Savary – Next Level Soap Opera
Next Level Soap Opera, the debut solo album from Nina Savary (collaborator of Laetitia Sadier, Julien Gasc, Marker Starling etc) came out last week on Tin Angel. Luxurious and sumptuous, this bilingual record lithely taps into memory and daydreams, hopes and fears, and Savary’s exquisite tone illuminates each song. The gorgeous cycle of ‘Second Guessing’, with its wonderful, slow-motion instrumentation, keyboards, and horns, that frame her lullaby lilt, brings to life a majestic journey through her past life and towards emancipation. (BC)
Owl – Rain Dance
The final album released under this moniker is aptly named Great Loss, for it is a great loss that this project is no more. This record hosts a beautiful and thoughtful collection of songs that are all recorded on an iPhone in a single take – apparently with mistakes but I can’t hear any. If you’re a fan of instrumental, acoustic music like DBH or John Fahey then there’s a space in your heart (and library) for this unassumingly, brilliant artist. (KH)
Hiss Golden Messenger – Quietly Blowing It
MC Taylor has been perfecting the Hiss Golden Messenger sound since 2014’s Lateness Of Dancers. On Quietly Blowing It, he brings to the table everything he is and everything the band have learnt on eleven perfectly balanced songs, laced with protest and beautiful melodies. (MM)
акульи слёзы / Shark’s Tears – Опыт очарования / Experience of the Charm
From deep in the freezing heart of Russia come dream-poppers Shark’s Tears, bathed in that classic cocktail of youthful melancholy and dry ice, all sweet sadness and somewhat chipped effects pedals.
This 7-track album was released back in 2019, so this is catch-up time, whilst the band themselves have clearly been catching up on 30 years of shoegazing; ‘Perfect Deception’ simultaneously recalls Cocteau Twins and Ride, all sparkling keys and downcast-lash longing, the hint of a vapour trail delicately passing through the skies. ‘As Then’ simulates the sound and feel of the shoreline via waves of keys, topped with their trademark lush, bright Russian-language female vocals, while ‘Dream’ builds insistently towards a wordless storm of black-cloud guitar fuzz and crisp percussion.
A touch over-reliant on the two-chord trick (‘Forget About Me’ understands its fate) and sitting largely mid-tempo (which hasn’t stopped Beach House), there evidently remains room to grow, and 2020’s single малость, broadly translating as ‘a little‘ or ‘a smallness‘ appropriately refines their sound by just a smidgeon, four chords circling reverb-soaked guitar, vocals confidently high in the mix. It also broke your correspondent’s headphones, surely a sign of quality if ever there was one. Come on in, the ice water’s lovely. (GA)
Kraków Loves Adana- Follow the Voice
German duo Deniz Çiçek & Robert Heitmann, who met in the nightclubs of Germany, have been prolific following last year’s sublime long-player Darkest Dreams. These purveyors of meticulously assembled shadowy electro-pop and dreamy escape return with ‘Follow The Voice’. It manages to skirt the lines between the Chromatics work, residing with the ghosts of 80s electro-pop act Propaganda but distils a moment with sinister intent, a voice commanding you to follow it into the unknown.
The combination of Çiçek’s intriguing vocals and the collision of drum machine, pointed riffs and metallic synths, holds you under its spell for nearly four minutes. It’s lifted from the album of the same name due this November. (BC)
Tee Vee Repairmann – Patterns
Sydney based synth-punks Tee Vee Repairmann are raw and ready and lots of fun. Crush a brewski on your forehead and go start a riot (peacefully, of course). Patterns is a short burst of four energetic tracks but that’s as much time you can probably manage in a mosh pit if you’re over 30. (KH)
Natalie McCool – Memory Girl
Call it what you will but Natalie McCool latest is grown-up pop at its absolute finest. Whether you’re looking for wondrous melodies, interesting lyrics, or just a fun listen Memory Girl has you covered. Pure pop done right. (MM)
Wayne Snow – Figurine
Smooth as you like nu-soul from Berlin. On his first album in four years, Nigerian-born Wayne Snow returns with the question, ‘Who is the real you?’ An interest in Japanese Noh theatre during a period of introspection drove him to consider the way we create masks for ourselves. There’s a sense throughout the LP of different paths being taken and different personas being unearthed. From the ‘Mr Bojangles’ inspired groove of ‘Nina’ to the low-key funk of ‘The Thrill’, Figurine is an album of supple twists and turns held together by the range and clarity of Snow’s voice. Carefully deployed jazz and Afrofuturist stylings add to the intrigue. Outstanding. (CB)
Kayla Painter – Somewhen
I saw Kayla Painter in Cardiff’s Chapter Arts in 2017 at the Future Is Female event. Her set that evening was quite extraordinary, incorporating a lightshow and visuals that illuminated and enhanced the enveloping quality of her futuristic brand of electronic music.
The Bristol-based artist’s new EP is similarly bracing, exploring lost and vibrant future landscapes and Painter’s relationship with her Fijian-British heritage. ‘Mangrove Forest‘ is the standout of the preview tracks, a stitched-together bricolage of sounds: fluttering synth motifs, pulsing beats and warm vocal loops, it’s haunting and richly evocative of landscapes and the ripples of moonlit pools. She says the accompanying visuals envisage ‘a lost future that brings two cultures together. Somewhen is looking into the past to create a new future with a dream-like familiarity.’ Vivid and transformative.
Of her process on this lead single, Painter says: ‘The looseness of the initial synth really sets the tone for this track – it doesn’t quite lock in with the grid, which I like. I built the track around the first motif you hear, wanting to create a layered journey that suddenly breaks away into a more minimal vibe. I’ve also started experimenting more with my own voice, and this track really celebrates the interplay between the synths, samples and percussion. As the idea of this track was to explore unseen and unknown time and space, there’s some gradual detuning and sliding of notes which gives it this woozy feel alongside some pretty straight percussion (which is unusual for me)’. (BC)
Sierra Ferrell – Long Time Coming
Every new female country singer is the next Bobby Gentry or Patsy Cline, but a more accurate comparison for Sierra Ferrell is Sturgill Simpson. Both have a sense of themselves that is undiluted, and both twist and meld the country genre to suit their will. The most pleasing thing about Long Time Coming is that Sierra’s unique edges haven’t been smoothed out to deliver something mainstream and her first label album delivers her sound perfectly intact. (MM)
Caitlin Jemma – True Meaning
To continue the comparisons, there’s a touch of Valerie June to the vocal delivery of Caitlin Jemma, though her music is something different. From traditional country to swooning, string-laden widescreen songs, the beautiful clarity of True Meaning shows that Caitlin is a talent worth spending time getting used to. (MM)
Le Pain – Troisième Groupe
LA-based Le Pain – pronounced like ‘the rain’, but with one eyebrow raised in amusement – sing in French and sound like Tender Buttons-era Broadcast at the beach, beating Stereolab at volleyball while girl-groups play on the Dansette. All straight lines, hands clasped behind back, low-key fuzz and cymbal-ride drums, its vocal hook effortlessly charms its way into your cranium.
Setting itself apart from corduroy-dress territory, whilst still showing its influences this sounds daisy-fresh and very much of the now. To that end, a hint of something discordant also seems to lurk within the chirpy facade then leaks out, briefly, on the fade.
This is the four-piece’s sole release to date but an album is promised before the end of the year. Look out for ‘distorted keyboard overdubs, drum bus compression, self-destructive characters acting in haste, and bass lines that wind around like Mulholland Drive’. Add a few more A-grade whistleable toplines like this, and that’s what we in the industry call a ‘cash purchase’. Click! (GA)
Colleen Green – It’s Nice to be Nice
Hardly Art’s lo-fi queen Colleen Green has been on the scene for a while and this is her tenth Bandcamp release. Having formerly done covers albums of Blink 182 and Descendents songs, this record is predominantly made up of original material. For this release, Green enlisted Gordon Raphael from The Strokes to produce the album, which explores the themes of emotional maturity and growth all whilst being gorgeously melodic. If Green didn’t feel cool previously, this album surely cements her status as the coolest gal in town. (KH)
Wiki – Half God
Born and bred in New York, a teenage Wiki (Patrick Morales) rose to fame as one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group Ratking. He went on to release a solo mixtape, Lil’ Me, before releasing his solo debut, No Mountains In Manhattan, in September 2017. ‘Put a wiki flag in the dirt / and went to work’, emotes Wiki on ‘Can’t Do This Alone (Feat Navy)’. It’s just one of the tracks from the latest album Half God, which matches urgent yet languid rhyming about growth, overcoming addiction and the struggle of life on the streets against a soulful loop of the kind that would feature on an early Nas or Jay Z record.
‘Promised (feat MIKE)’ is perhaps even better, the jazzy wah-wahs allowing Wiki to delve deep into the mistakes he has made. It’s about introspection and maintaining purpose against the detritus of modern life, and finding the ability to rise above it, admit your flaws and grow as a person. There are elements of Kendrick Lamar here too, in the intricate wordplay and life-affirming self-reflection. On this evidence, his album is well worth pre-ordering. (BC)
Eyedress – Braindead
There’s something so addictive about Eyedress’ combination of post-punk style guitar riffs and smooth, occasionally vaporwavey sounding beats. This album sound less overtly sarcastic than his debut Let’s Skip to the Wedding, but irony still permeates from this record. It also features collaborations from King Krule, Triathalon and Vex Ruffin. According to Eyedress, the album is ‘about loving yourself and your life.’ (KH)
Foxx Bodies – Vixen
Foxx Bodies release their second album Vixen on November 5th via Kill Rock Stars, and it’s the sound of joyful primal release. Visceral, abrasive, it’s on the edges of early Riot Grrl and conjures up the chaotic melodicism of Sleater Kinney, The Breeders and Sonic Youth. Foxx Bodies are four friends – vocalist Bella Vanek, guitarist Bailey Moses, bassist Matt Vanek, and drummer Adam Bucholz – locking arms and eyes, in full support of each other’s efforts to dig through layer after layer of compacted grief, trauma, pain, and fury.
Recorded and produced in Seattle by John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill) and mixed by Erik Blood months before the pandemic was in full swing, Vixen is an evolutionary step for this young quartet. New single ‘Runaway‘ delivers a garage punk cracker at breakneck speed, in which Bella Vanek recounts years of grooming and sexual abuse and asks some devastating questions in an aching croon.
It was the awesome previous single ‘BPD‘ that initially caught my attention. Written and sung by Bailey Moses about her borderline personality disorder, it sea-saws between clattering drums and lurching serrated surf guitars. The song is a withering, neurotypical stream of consciousness that blows its top in frustration at self-hating phrases and the loss of words and ability to function. ‘This song was originally written for cathartic purposes, but it was recorded in hopes that borderline can be seen in a more sympathetic light,’ says Moses. (BC)