Hello and welcome to FTA’s list of what we are excited for this Bandcamp Friday, aka every music nerds favorite day! A bunch of us weighed in on what we’ve been into lately and we’ve got plenty of goodies old and new for you to dig into over a wide range of genres. But don’t take our word for it, dive into these tracks/albums and judge for yourself. Feel free to let us know what you think and tell us your suggestions.
Kate Hoos- Editor In Chief
Color Tongue– Sprouts. On the last day of a recent trip to the UK, I took the bus from Cardiff heading east bound to the airport and listened to this album front to back twice over, then dove into more of the Brooklyn based jangly indie/dream/psych pop foursome’s assorted singles; before I knew it the entire ride to the airport was done and I had barely noticed because I was transfixed. With a knack for the poppy and the experimental, they’ve tapped into something really magical, hitting moments of whimsy and sprite, which certainly improved my mood for when I found out my flight home was delayed.
Eat My Fear– New Era. The internet and specifically social media sucks a lot of the time, but it has become an almost unavoidable thing in today’s world. I tolerate it most of the time but then there are the times you discover the good shit and find things that previously would have been harder to access. Enter the Berlin based queer, feminist hardcore band, Eat My Fear, who I found on ye olde Instagram a few years ago and have been following ever since. They released their latest album, the fiery New Era a few months ago, which they describe as “Fast hardcore, aggressive, political and full of love!” I don’t know about anyone else but I need a whole lot of all of that in my life. (I’d also love an Eat My Fear show in NYC; here’s hoping 2023 sees my wish granted.)
Meatwave– Malign Hex. One of the first comments on the Chicago based band’s Bandcamp comes from someone named Jack Kelly who says “they never miss” and I’m inclined to agree, Jack. This is their brand new album, released just two weeks ago, and it nails everything this band is so good at—anxious vocals, driving bass, clever guitar and rock solid drumming. I hadn’t listened to them a lot prior to seeing them live earlier this year opening for PLOSIVS (see pics), but they blew me away that night so I fixed that mistake and got a lot more familiar with their music in a hurry. They’ve described themselves as “punk band trying to not always be a punk band” and I’ve felt that rings true as I’ve become now very familiar with their catalog, there’s a lot of indie and shoegaze peeking out in their sound and you can’t really pin it down to just one thing. Which is a-okay in my book.
Melkbelly– Nothing Valley. Even more love for Chicago with this, Melkbelly’s glorious 2017 debut full length. Described as “fusing dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket,” it has always reminded me of The Breeders meets Hella meets a wild animal. And I mean that lovingly. I’ve been digging this one again lately, it’s a classic.
Middle-Aged Queers– Shout at the Hetero. This is the just released brand new album from the queercore band of my dreams who have been one of my favorite discoveries of 2022. I’ll repeat what I said in our September Bandcamp list because it still rings very true: Never has a band name felt closer to who I am. Proving us punx over 40 are still fun and dare I say flirty, this group hails from the Bay Area and has all the hallmarks of the classic Lookout! pop punk sound that I was obsessed with in the mid 90s (complete with a Green Day Kerplunk flower spoof t-shirt). And speaking of their merch, I’ve also very much enjoyed sporting my Golden Girls themed “go fuck yourself” MAQ shirt around town.
This new album feels a bit darker than their previous release, with the band confirming this fact, sharing that it was “written and recorded during the lockdown phase of the pandemic, our sophomore album takes a much darker turn than our debut release.” While that may be the case, the album still slays and it still fits perfectly within their body of work, the Insomniac to Kerplunk or Dookie if you will. Queer AF, sassy AF, punk AF. You all already know this middle aged queer can’t get enough.
Chantal- Contributing Writer
The Blankket– Be Your Own Boss. A now defunt project of Steve Kado that served as “a laboratory for performance ideas considered too weird for other musical projects,” The Blankket released a noisy, weird EP of Bruce Springteen covers in 2007, and you can still find it on Bandcamp.
Miguel Vela– Assorted Singles. I was handed a cassette containing many of these songs while working door at a show, and I’m happy I have a walkman again because these are fun, groovy dreampop tracks!
Noah Britton– I Love You. I caught Noah Britton at his birthday show recently, and I was impressed with his rich voice and his sincere folk-pop stylings. Truly this is some of the loveliest, most heartfelt songwriting I’ve heard in a while.
Edwina Hay- Contributing Photographer
billy woods x Messiah Musik– Church. woods released Aethiopes back in April, so I was very surprised (and thrilled) that he released another album entirely produced by Messiah Musik only a few months later.
Liars– Drum’s Not Dead. Liars third record is being re-released on vinyl by Mute on November 18th.
NNAMDÏ– Please Have A Seat. Chicago musician NNAMDÏ invites us to please have a seat with his latest release and I’m more than happy to accept this invitation.
open mike eagle– a tape called component system with the auto reverse. OME released his newest album two years after his last one and Phillip Mlynar wrote about this much better than I could.
Juliette Boulay- Contributing Photographer
Floatie– Voyage Out. I’m not into math rock, but really love this album by Floatie. It features fast riffs that you can never quite catch with your hands. It just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny if that thing played music and had great taste in guitar tones. I highly recommend this one to my fellow Alex G fans who love rock music with layers that run deep.
Jobber– Hell In A Cell. Jobber is a pro-wrestling themed post-grunge band new to Exploding in Sounds Records (home to Ovlov, Sour Widows, Pile, and many more). This EP has five super catchy tracks that take the listener back to 2008 in the best way. With a dynamic mixture of heavy riffs and a keyboard tone reminiscent of Motion City Soundtrack, I can’t stop listening to this one.
Kitchen– Town. The bedroom-iest of all bedroom pop, Town by Kitchen is quiet, eery, and feels like an old voice message kept from a lost lover. Filled with a lovely mixture of sonic textures, Kitchen really created something so familiar yet unique with this album. I want to draw lines to Kimya Dawson, modular chill hop, and shoegaze— but it’s so much more than that. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Through the Soil II– This 37-track compilation album acts as an amazing indie music sampler with everything from math rock to shoegaze. If you feel like you never have the time to find new music, Through the Soil II feels like a cheat code of an album. All proceeds go to the National Network of Abortion Funds, so be sure to check out individual bands that you like so you can support them, too.
Kate Bell- Contributing Writer
Attia Taylor– Space Ghost. I caught Attia Taylor’s live set during Radio Ravioli on WFMU this past month, and it was so good! This album released in July of this year, and Attia is also a writer, speaker, creative producer, and Editor in Chief of Womanly magazine (providing health information to women and non-binary people through literary and visual art). So basically she’s killing it on many fronts, and her music is sublime.
June McDoom– S/T. Again, big thanks to Olivia from WFMU’s Radio Ravioli for featuring yet another amazing live set this past month from June McDoom. Fantastic guitar work seeped in skilled atmospheric mixing and effects, and one of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard in a while. This gorgeous debut EP from June McDoom was released at the end of last month.
You Said Strange– Thousand Shadows Vol 1. I was introduced to You Said Strange a couple of weeks ago when I saw them open up for Slift at Elsewhere (AMAZING show, btw! See our coverage). They are from Giverny, France, and their music feels like 80s goth dipped in heavy psych. I like it!
Mike Borchardt- Contributing Writer
Beat Radio– Real Love. Singer-Songwriter Brian Sendrowitz writes heartfelt, literate pop songs and his latest release off Totally Real Records has a bit of punk wisdom mixed with anti-folk sensibilities.
Debbie Dopamine– Pets. Powerfully disarming, emotionally exposed, pink frosting and grungy guitars wrapped up in a sugar sour indie-pop spectrum of anger and sadness.
Granite to Glass– S/T. Sad musics for punks who like acoustic guitars and beautiful strings. It’ll make you cry whether you want to or not.
Kissed by an Animal– I Don’t Have to Explain Myself to You. The quartet’s second full length (on Handstand Records/EWEL Records) is just as unapologetic as it sounds. As much Walkmen as they are Dead Milkmen, this time around the band seems to take a softer, cooler, more calculated approach to their post-punk stoner dream surf hybrid musicality.
Venus Twins– Raxis. Cutting through the atmosphere like a machete in the jungle, the new record veers into some real sludgy jams but with lightning attack. Only in the moments where there’s a brief lull, do you remember that you’re listening to just bass and drums. The rest of the time you’re hanging on for dear life as everything devolves into a wall of noise.
Nick AD- Contributing Writer
Guest Directors– Oh, to be Weightless in the Sky. Like many bands, Guest Directors went about recording and writing while COVID kept them from being the same room. This latest EP represents their return to in-person playing and the exuberance is evident. While retaining their signature brand of darker-edge indie rock and shoegaze, there is an irrepressible energy to the songs, no doubt brought to the fore by legendary Seattle producer, Jack Endino. Julie D’s vocals seem particularly immediate and rich. Guest Directors continue to carve out their own path within the dreampop milieu—more edgy than ethereal, there’s a sonic spookiness and rhythmic grit that separate them from many of their peers.
Marlowe– Marlowe 3. The third full-length installment of the collab between rapper Solemn Brigham and producer L’Orange is fun, funky, and infectious as fuck. L’Orange pulls from a variety of sources to create a colorful and groovy soundtrack to the distinctive flow of Brigham. Where L’Orange’s production is warm and spacious, Brigham’s higher-range, slightly twangy vocal style contrasts beautifully, allowing his quick wit and quicker wordplay to shine through.
Sunik Kim– Raid on the White Tiger Regiment. Taking its title from a revolutionary opera during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Kim expands on the Korean War origins of the original opera to offer a cacaphonous and chaotic dissertation on the intersection of that point in history, our current political and social existence, and the experience of immediate listening. Via the Notice Recordings Bandcamp page, Kim says: “The music is constructed with custom software I built with Max/MSP and SuperCollider that controls banks of free orchestral soundfonts at chaotic tempos.” It is at once deafening and soothing, noisy and melodic. A must-listen and one of the year’s best experimental releases.
Ray Rusinak- Contributing Photographer
Bim Skala Bim– Sonic Tonic. Having formed in 1986 in Boston, Bim Skala Bim are veteran stalwarts of the 1990’s third wave ska craze. But unlike their SoCal ska compatriots, they were never part of that cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirt crew which became synonymous with that scene and based their sound more on 2 Tone and the calypso rhythms of the West Indies vs the West Coast’s skate punk. Sonic Tonic is a UK only release out on Britain’s Specialized Records which came out last year. If you prefer your ska without the tom foolery of what became 1990’s popular third wave, then queue up Sonic Tonic and pull those Doc Martens out from the back of the closet and get ready to do some skanking.
Nora O’Connor– My Heart. Nora is a mainstay in the Chicago Americana scene but unless you’re paying serious attention, you probably don’t recognize her name all that much, if at all. But if you are paying attention, you might have seen her recently with Neko Case or The Decemberists, as she’s a touring member for both as a backup vocalist.
Her recently released solo album, My Heart, on Pravda Records, offers up a steady stream of relaxing peaceful tunes which will go perfectly while sipping on a hot beverage (or a sniffer of whiskey) by a warm fire on these autumn evenings.
Wild Pink– ILYSM. Hailing from Brooklyn, these guys create immersive sprawling dreamscapes much along the lines of War On Drugs. If that’s your thing this album is a thing of beauty to lose yourself in. If its not your thing I can see one being bored by it however. Oh, there are cameos from J. Mascis and Julien Baker amongst others for what it’s worth.