Saturday, August 5, 2017
Bandcamp Bonanza – Singled Out
Singles can be looked at a number of different ways in today’s digital age. Sometimes I think of them as a waste of space and that unless the band is putting out the single as physical product such as a 7-inch vinyl package, the digital single serves up little purpose as the listener can just as easily stream the entire record on any number of streaming platforms. Gone are the days of relying on the radio to expose you to a new band via the route of having a hit single to garner the mass attention. On bandcamp, I’ve seen the single a number of different ways. Today I’ve featured a few recent singles or teasers if you want to call them. Either way, the songs beckon a thirst for more and a temptation to pre-order the imminent full album.
First up we have the latest single ‘Superburn’ by a killer heavy psych band called Psychic Sun. I’m sure I’ve featured their last full length album ‘Death Rattle’ on the bonanza before but can’t quite remember. The song starts out with brooding fuzz drenching the speakers low and slow ready to torch the skin with a blistering vocal harmonies humming to the tune of Alice in Chains. The fuzzadelic riff sequence staggers between tripped out madness and high end melody as the song fades into obscurity nearing 5 minutes. Superburn gives the impression that Psychic Sun is on a mission to seduce a heavier audience with this single and surely begs for the hope of a future full length.
Staying true to the psychedelic spirit of Psychic Sun, let’s get lost in the new single by Canadian heavy psych lords ‘Biblical’ called ‘Mature Themes’. Biblical is a band that I hold in high regard and their last album ‘Monsoon Season’ topped my year end charts with its hazy combination of groovy stoner riffs and dreamy psychedelic shoegaze. I’ve had the pleasure of getting access to an early private stream of this new album and can confirm with confidence that it is going to melt your mind with an extreme overload of tripped out madness. ‘The City That Always Sleeps’ is up for preorder here and the single gives a good hint of what to expect on the new album as the music has indeed matured in the sense of traveling beyond the realm of sanity. Check out the video too if you really want to lose your shit.
Switching gears from the heavy hippy grooves and unbuckling down a dusty dirt road I’m recommending this brand new find I just stumbled upon. ‘Bucking the Tiger’ by a band called ‘Quarter Mile Thunder’ has won my heart with its dark and sultry Americana vibes. In fact, I preordered the album on wax based in part by hunch and in in full by the strength of the song available. The song has the spine tingling, hair raising tendency as the tremolo laden vocals lament to outlaw atmospherics. If you know me at all you do know that I have a sweet spot for this sort of alt-country/rock/Americana music. I am extremely excited to hear the whole album and can expect a vinyl package in the mail someday that I’ll surely forget is coming and be surprised.
Well hell, no sense in leaving the wagon trail of honky tonk dreams as there just so happens to be another twangy treasure to strum one too. That being the new single by LA rockers ‘Jesus Sons’ called ‘Livin’ Easy’. This is a true single format released on cassette tape and includes 2 songs off their upcoming full length ‘TRES’ due out this fall. Again, these guys let loose a doozy of an LP called Bring it on Home back in 2015, still available on wax, and are back with what sounds to be even more of a cattle driving affair. I have been tempted to grab the tape and will surely be kicking myself if I don’t as at the moment there are 8 left for a whopping $5 plus shipping. Check it out and break in your rope to lasso up the new one TRES out later this year.
Bringing it back home the last single for today’s feature comes from deep in the dunes of Russia from a killer band called ‘Lucifer in the Sky With Diamonds’. The new single, ‘Silent Echo’, is intense and continues on their high voltage progressive desert rock they’ve made a name for themselves with. The Red Fang resemblance remains intact this go around, and for fans of the genre I encourage you to scope these dudes out. Their last album ‘The Shining One’ was a bandcamp deep cut favorite of mine last year, and based on the new tease, the new one is going to surpass the high expectations awaiting.
Whether you love them or hate them, singles in today’s market certainly do get listened to. Whether the bands and/or labels are just trying to stick with tradition or the bands legitimately don’t have enough material written yet and want to get some buzz rolling, it’s hard to tell. One observation I’ve noticed is it seems I am much more accepting of a single if it’s part of an actual physical package such as a 2-song single on cassette or vinyl as compared to a single that is clearly just a song sitting within a full album visible to view on bandcamp. At that stage just release the whole album and give us some incentive to pre-order the full album. It’s obviously done and just rotting on the shelf in the meantime. But the most important part is to make sure the single(s) is representing who you are as a band and where you are going with the album. Nothing worse than hearing a single only to find out the full album sounds completely different. Not common, but I have seen it happen. In those cases, just wait until you are ready to release the full album and let her rip. Folks are making their way back to album listeners these days with the ease of streaming an album to preview before you buy. In order to compete with the competition you’ve got to join them and what better place to get acquainted than bandcamp.