August 28, 2012
There actually is something quite exotic about Stripmall Architecture‘s new EP, The Exotic Sounds of Stripmall Architecture. At its heart, it’s electropop, but each song is strikingly unique in how it frames that sound on the San Francisco band’s collection. Album opener “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart” brings forth a little doo-wop flair while “Experiment 1” takes a turn toward chillwave. My favorite, “Missing Piece,” is retro-spacey, laid out with glamour synths. It’s all a definite steal at “name your price” on Bandcamp right now.
August 21, 2012
If you’re lucky enough to have a sibling, it tends to become one of the most important relationships of your life. Despite our differences, my brother and I share a bond that can’t be replicated with anyone else. I remember when my dad was in a hospital bed, dying, my brother and I found ourselves in each other’s arms, because we were the only two people who knew exactly how the other felt. That was one of the most powerful moments of my life, and it could not have been had I felt those feelings alone.
I bring this up because siblings Ike Peters (of one of my favorite bands The Coasts) and Katie Mitchell have come together as The Rough Drafts to celebrate that special relationship. The pair have released their three-song Valley Forge EP in an effort to help raise money for a family looking to grow. You can read about the Townsend family at a website they set up to accept donations for a new adoption. Robert and Amy are looking to give their daughter Layla a sibling.
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August 14, 2012
Discovering Rhode Island band Kid and the Wolf‘s debut EP, Lights // Fire, was one of those pleasant “I can’t believe this music is free!” moments. Sure, there is tons of good, free music on Bandcamp that you’d probably be willing to drop some coin for if necessary, but then there is the good, free music on Bandcamp that, when you hear it, you completely expect to have to pay money.
So slick, so well-produced. Clearly these guys put some work into these recordings, and yet here they are just letting listeners name their price to download them. This is where the benefits of discovering a practically unknown artist come to fruition. Of course they’re going to give away their music, because hardly anybody even knows who they are! Your prize, for being an early fan, is free music while they’re still building exposure.
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August 7, 2012
The Underground Man is a Brooklyn musician named Greg Adams who offers a retro-sounding set of pop tunes on what seems to be his debut EP, Knows Me Better. This is my answer to the question posed by the artist’s website linked from his Bandcamp page. Though the question makes it seem like the Underground Man’s identity requires some kind of big reveal, I guess maybe you have to live in Brooklyn for that to be special. But while I don’t know who Adams is (unless he’s a founding member of Tower of Power, but that dude plays a trumpet), the light bounce and sway of his clean-cut doo-wop is enough to get me to listen. Take these along for your next lazy day at the beach. The rhythm will adequately complement the lapping of ocean waves upon a warm, sandy shore.
July 24, 2012
Dinosaurus Rex is easily one of my favorite Bandcamp discoveries of the year. Dan Bombard’s funky chillwave 2012 release, Pop Information, is a nearly flawless collection of beats and samples that make me simultaneously wanna get up and get down (you feel me?). In fact, all his albums — which can be downloaded for the price of your choosing — should be held up as the standard for the genre. They meld the juicy sounds of the 1970s-’80s with a modern glo-fi veneer, into something basically anybody can groove to in the right setting. For me, that setting is just about everywhere I go, all summer long. Find out what it is for you.
July 3, 2012
For the life of me, I can’t place specifically what the first song on The Hand in the Ocean‘s new EP reminds me of. The moment I started listening to “Road To I Am,” it felt like something familiar, in a very satisfying way. And it probably goes without saying that there is a banjo (because we all know how satisfied those things make me).
We Fished All Night and Caught the Day is a brief and impressive introduction from this Midwest trio. Lively yet subdued, the four-song EP pulls roots straight from the soil of Appalachian tradition and strings them onto their instruments. Best of all is the way their parts complement one another, banjo ceremoniously marries with acoustic guitar on every tune, while vocalist Nate Tapling’s voice comes tuned with the same tight-stringed, metallic quality of the banjo itself. Driven with a modest growl, his vocals deepen the authentic sound of the music, to the point where you picture the band playing these songs on the porch of an old waning cabin in the hills, adorned in matted beards and overalls loosely hanging over their union suits. But I guess plaid shirts in a basement works, too.
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