Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bandcamp Bonanza – Packing Up Basecamp

Bandcamp continues to impress me with its never ending options for discovery. I don’t know about you but I am an avid user of the mobile app since I am constantly on the move and the ease of access is undeniable. The latest updates to the app have improved significantly, not perfect, but in particular I have found myself browsing the daily bandcamp featured feed which shows up on the homepage when you open the app. You can also check it out via the New and Notable section on the bandcamp homepage. The picks are usually very diverse and span a multitude of styles, mostly outside my normal go-to hard rock and heavy stoner genres. Not only does this keep things fresh, but it’s a great way to get a different perspective. I figured I’d share some highlights I’ve stumbled across recently on the featured feed. They’re not all winners, but a different perspective is always refreshing.

Steven Boone – SoulLow
It was undeniable how soothing the sounds were when I decided to check out the featured album by Steven Boone. He appears to be a solo DJ artist of sorts with an impressive roster of material. Although I have only listened to the latest which I found on the featured bandcamp list, I have listened to it multiple times. It spans multiple styles from hip hop, soul, alternative rock, and light and airy blues.

SJOB Movement – Friendship Train
Who’d of ever thought I’d find myself actively checking out “Afrobeat” music? Well shit, if it wasn’t for my curiosity while scrolling the new and notable section on bandcamp and finding the reviews and notes appetizing I wouldn’t have been playing this album multiple times. Wow, this is very cool. Have I seen the light, or am I going crazy. My hard rock brethren may claim the latter, but you should see for yourself. It’s offered up on vinyl and I’ve been really into diversifying my collection with different styles. Sounds like they were a thing back in the day, now getting the modern treatment. I’m a sucker for releases seeing the light of day on vinyl today that were originally buried in the underground in the 60’s and 70’s.

Will Sessions – Deluxe
Taking a look at the cover art one might be led to believe this is another hard stoner Rawk and roll release with the vintage car on the cover which has been a staple in the rock and roll world for years. However, upon investigation this is some downright funk driven soul music. I loved it so much I added it to my vinyl collection. It’s hard to deny the parallels that soul and funk shares with rock and blues. I find myself thoroughly enjoying this stuff during certain moods, and stuff like this is great as a crowd pleaser during dinner nights at home, or over a glass of wine to set the mood with your partner.

Various Artists – Southwest Side Story: Vol. 19
Oh man I have gone mad, or I’m just honest. If you are in the mood for some straight up oldies from the 50’s check out this rad compilation. I’m not ashamed to say I can dig it.
“There are hundreds of bootlegs out there to sate the ravenous soulero set, and so often they incorporate songs in the vast Numero catalog. Rather than beat them, Numero joins them with our answer to the iconic East Side Story series. Eschewing our classic look and standard-bearing copious notes for sardonic artwork and impeccable selections, Numbero is proud to present a ‘bootleg’ you can be proud of (because it’s all licensed). This time we’ve set our sights on the most unique of soul cultures: the irreplicable melting pot of San Antonio. Included here are all songs never before issued other than in minuscule pressings on 45, never distributed outside of Bexar County limits.”

This one I haven’t even got a chance to hear fully as its not out yet, but reading up on the bandcamp feature article about it sounds worthy of attention.
“In a world of guitar players, James “Wooden Wand” Toth remains first and foremost a songwriter and lyricist. "Clipper Ship", however, presents a break in tradition: in attempting to emancipate himself from old habits, Toth wrote most of the songs on "Clipper Ship" 'music first,' adding lyrics later, a reversal of the tried and true method that has made him one of the most prolific and respected songwriters of his generation. The result is the most democratically-conceived, multi-layered, and musically sophisticated album in the vast Wooden Wand discography.”

Rays – Rays
What good is a feature without some rogue as fuck garage driven punk? Not as good as when you include one. I scanned this one a few weeks back and thought it was cool, especially since I don’t particularly listen to this raw punk routinely and that they were from Oakland which is semi-local in the grand scheme. If anything else it’s a reminder that this stuff still exists and is thriving depending on whose garage you are stumbling into.
“On RAYS’ debut album the band spins eleven tunes of wiry, urgent post-punk, one foot planted firmly in the nihilistic apathy of 70 & 80’s punk (Wire, Electric Eels, Pere Ubu, Eno, Television The Fall), Australian punk past & present (UV Race, Terry, Victims, Babeez), and the addictive strum of 80’s & 90’s New Zealand/Flying Nun pop; all of whom have found their own way to meld the ferocity & thuggery of punk with a singular melodic voice.”

Well that felt good. For the record, these are just a sampling of what I’ve enjoyed via the featured feed on the bandcamp app. Everyday there are a half a dozen new and notable albums recommended by the folks behind the scenes of bandcamp. Check it out if you have the app, or even on your desktop on the bandcamp homepage. Who knows you may just find an entire new approach and decide to pack your bags and head across the valley to an entire different camp. Although my tent is pitched in the rock and roll camp, clearly the campground spans full circle and welcomes and encourages diversity.

-The Huntsman

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