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.
It’s the last BC Friday of the year and we’ve had a bunch of great lists over the last several months which you can check out for plenty of inspiration on variety of tunes for you to explore. Check them out here: April, May, June, September, October and November.
Kate Hoos- Editor In Chief
Feces– Black Mold. Need a little sludge in your life? Then Feces has you covered with Black Mold, their 2019 EP that perfectly blends noise, sludge and grunge. Gross bodily secretions and hazards to breathing aside, this is some Bleach era shit and I can most definitely get behind that. (One of Kurt Cobain’s early pre-Nirvana bands was called Fecal Matter, so it tracks influence wise.) My favorite track is the closer, “Brown Cloud,” it’ll dig right inside your brain with its mesmerizing Sting Ray bass line and gang vocals. It may or may not also be about shit (but true to form, the lyrics are muddy and my old battered ear drums can’t quite make them out).
Rotten Blossom– Let’s Hang Out.I hate you! You’re so mean! Piece of shit! You’re so mean! We are heading into the winter months and I live in NYC so those two things right there are making me extra cranky lately. But all you really need to make you feel better when you’re cold and packed in like sardines in a subway car is some bratty fucking punk rock. This now defunct band (I think anyway) from Honolulu has that in spades, blending riot grrrl attitude with zippy hardcore shreds and I’m here for it.
Teen Mortgage– Life/Death. The riffs are heavy and hypnotic, and pack more than a healthy dose of grungey surfy psych which for me, has been a huge theme for my 2022. This 5 song EP was released in 2019 and the band recently released a new single so hopefully more new tuneage is on the horizon for them soon.
Billy Faith- Contributing Writer
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties– We Don’t Have Each Other. Wonder Years vocalist Dan Campbell’s side project, a concept band. This first album begins the fictional story of lead singer West, with lyrics as detailed and potent as a novel and emo folk music that sounds like it’s coming out of a small, bare apartment across from the Neutral Milk Hotel.
Annalibera– Nevermind I Love You. In this dark debut from the Des Moines band, Anna Gebhardt and company combine influences ranging from shoegaze to 90s electro pop, and Americana church music to Enya, creating a midwest indie rock appropriate for sitting in the pitch black fields of Iowa at night, seeing the blinking lights of the windmills in unison that look like an alien invasion.
Kero Kero Bonito– Bonito Graduation. On the second album by the pop trio, they streamline their J-Pop and hyper pop influences to create a one of the most stunning, well produced, and re-listenable pop albums in recent memory, all while providing subtle tongue and cheek criticism of collegiate and post-grad society. Add in the lyrics in both English and Japanese and you have an album that is truly unlike anything else.
Scratchy Blanket– Something For Everyone. Shannon Keating fronts the Pittsburgh band whose infectious emo indie guitar pop perfectly invokes the feeling of being in the room depicted on the album cover, complete with sleeping cat and all.
Diskette Park– Hypomnesia. 80’s influenced synthwave, perfect for neon lights and night driving. Get it on cassette!
Lil Sluggers– Bells Below. Billing themselves as “theatrical art rock” this album has more than a little alt-country flair, and is a rollicking good time.
Psyche– All Things Pass Into The Night. This 10th anniversary edition of the original EP from the legendary band includes new tracks and remixes and will have all the goths dancing in the club.
Kate Bell- Contributing Writer
Big Joanie– Back Home. If you don’t know about the Black feminist punk band Big Joanie, it’s time to get acquainted. Released last month on Kill Rock Stars, Back Home is their first full-length release since 2018’s Sistahs (which is also fantastic). This superstar trio has been rocking the London DIY scene since 2013, and they will be on tour in the United States this spring. I got my tickets already for their show at Union Pool, and I suggest you do the same.
Smiling Beth– A Piano Walks Home Alone at Night. My band had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Smiling Beth a couple of weeks ago, and she was so original and refreshing. Beautiful voice, rippling keys and electronic looping, and Bjork-esque experimental energy. Jean Delkaste (aka Smiling Beth) recently moved to NYC from LA, and right now is playing solo (she formerly had a full band back in California). This avant-goth gay piano demon is truly unique.
Savak– Human Error/Human Delight. The same night I discovered Smiling Beth, I also finally got to see Savak live! These indie rock heavy hitters released a new album, Human Error/Human Delight, in April of this year, and later this month will release Error/Delight which features remixes of the album created by other musicians (such as Mogwai and Dan Friel).
Weeping Icon– Ocelli. I was among the fortunate to be at the EP release show that Weeping Icon played at Alphaville a couple of weeks ago (see my review) Ocelli builds on the band’s exciting first self-titled release from 2019, and brings more of their pleasing political noise punk. You can check out Mike Borchardt’s FTA review of Ocellihere.
Kevin McGann- Contributing Photographer
Disq– Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet. Recently covered by FTA at their Baby’s All Right gig (see pics), this Wisconsin based band expands on their 2020 debut album. Whether its strumming along to a 60’s sounding pop jam, or rocking out to a 90’s indie vibe, or throwing some electronics/sound effects into the mix, Desperately Imagining finds Disq pushing themselves further and the album is all the better for it.
Jockstrap– I Love You Jennifer B. Fun, eclectic, dizzying (in the best way) debut by UK duo Jockstrap. Fellow music/theater graduates, Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye, bring the drama on a diverse set of tracks that at times recall Bjork’s body of work which can waiver between accessible and inaccessible and sometimes within the same track.
Sorry – Anywhere But Here. North London’s Sorry released their sophomore album last month. “Tell Me” is a standout— it’s a stark look at post-breakups and builds from its quiet intro to a densely layered conclusion between guitar, synth, and vocal trade-off between Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen. Where Human League was exuberantly asking “Don’t you want me, baby?” nearly 40 years ago, Sorry’s response is a more despondent, “Tell me where the sun will go down, I’ve been standing here on my own.”
Mike Borchardt- Contributing Writer
Dead Stars– Their entire catalog. The band is back. Maybe? We think. The fuzz rockers just played a show at the new Main Drag (see our coverage) which was their first time together on stage since before the pandemic. We hope this means there’s new stuff down the pike, but for now binge on their entire back catalog which is bursting catchy grunge-pop goodies.
Dead Tooth– Sporty Boy.Trash Casual heroes’ frantic ripper of a track to follow up their “Pig Pile” masterpiece from earlier this year. Read my full review here.
LaPeche– Blood in the Water. We recently covered their new single “Slight” (read here) but their 2021 LP Blood in the Water from New Granada Records is a nearly perfect record and spends a lot of time on our turntable at home.
Nevva– Fer Sher. One of our favorite records by one of our favorite bands. This punk rock trio slaps. Slaps hard. Nevva 4 eva!!
Fritz– Pastel. I recall when I first heard Pastel back in February 2021, thinking that I had discovered my first top ten album of the year (2021). A coming of age album by a 20 year old female from Newcastle, the lyric content theoretically shouldn’t have resonated with this old New York dude at all, but sonically, from the opening reverb heavy guitar strumming and the pounding thumping of the drums on “Sweetie,” I was immediately hooked.
The album is shoegazey but not quite shoegaze. It’s also dream poppy but likewise, not quite. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose but Tilly Murphy’s (FRITZ is pretty much her project) vocals are presented way low in the mix which I kind of like about the album, being as I said earlier, its the music and instrumentation which I truly love about this album anyway.
Unfortunately we haven’t gotten any new material from FRITZ in 2022, nor have we been blessed with them visiting our shores. But with that being said, Pastel has crushed the test of time and still more than stands up after almost 2 years of enjoyment.
Ghum– Bitter. GHUM hails from London and Bitter is their debut full length. Having released a pair of EP’s, The Coldest Fire and GHUM prior to pandemic, the subsequent lockdown didn’t do these women any favors in terms of getting their name out there. What it did was allow them to seriously hone their craft and sound. Bitter is, to say the least, a massive album. Massive in sonic terms not necessarily size, clocking in at just under 40 minutes. Lead vocalist, Laura Guerrero reminds me of PJ Harvey from the early 90’s. Originally from Spain she alternates singing in both English and Spanish. She also, stylistically, brings to mind a little bit of Jehnny Beth from the first Savages album. And as long as I’m bringing up Savages, this band reminds me a lot of that Savages feel. Upon first listen, the dark, subversive grit which I originally felt with Silence Yourself is exactly what I felt while listening to a song like “Shallow” from this LP. With its swirling guitar lines cascading into a whirlwind of angst, guitarist JoJo Khor emits a direct throwback to the understated yet mesmerizing melodic noodling which we came to love from Gemma Thompson.
One other thing, as I was listening to Bitter, I found myself turning up the volume on every song to the point that I was maxed out by the time it was over. It’s one of those albums which you wish you had an 11 on your volume control for.
Indie pop greats Bad Bad Hats have announced a special edition of their debut EP, It Hurts, that will coincide with the tenth anniversary of the album on 1/27/23. The new edition compiles the five songs from the original release, now remastered, along with the demo versions of the songs as well. It will also be the first time this release is available on vinyl. Pre-orders are available now.
They have also released a new animated lyric video for “Super America” which will give you a nice fix of some sweet indie pop gold. Watch below:
Tropical Fuck Storm just wrapped up their North American tour and now have announced a new 12″, Submersive Behaviour, due out 2/3/23 via Joyful Noise. Pre-orders are up now.
Submersive Behaviour collects three songs from their recent Moonburn EP, “Ann” (The Stooges cover), “Aspirin” (Slight Return Cover) and “Moonburn” as well as the addition of a new song “The Golden Ratio” and an epic 19 minute cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be).”
Band leader Gareth Liddiard pulled no punches when he described their version of the Hendrix song saying “Our version of ‘1983 (A Merman I Shall Turn To Be)’ is an attempt to right the recent wrongs perpetrated against Hendrix’s classic “Angel” by some idiot from One Direction doing a karaoke-style ‘tribute’ for Jimi’s 80th birthday” in reference to Zayn Malik’s recent cover of Hendrix. Art punk vs pop singer beef may be brewing here so be sure to grab your popcorn!
The band will return to the States for a West Coast run in early 2023 with Michael Beach as support. See below for dates:
1/19- San Diego, CA @ Casbah
1/20- Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
1/22- Las Vegas, NV @ TBA
1/23- Reno, NV @ Holland Project
1/24- Boise, ID @ Neurolux
1/26- Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
1/27-Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
1/28- Vancouver, BC @ Wise Hall and Lounge
1/31- San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
Tropical Fuck Storm at Music Hall of Williamsburg (photos by Kevin McGann)
I love Los Bitchos not only for their catchy as hell music, but for their love of all things cheeky. Following the hilarious trio of videos for the songs “Las Panteras”“Good to Go!” and “Pista (Fresh Start)” that were on their stellar debut Let The Festivities Begin!, the Bitchos are back to let the holiday festivities begin and are ready to stuff your stockings with a ridiculous (and awesome) 80s themed Christmas video for their holiday song, “Los Chrismos.”
The video sees the band skiing and prancing around a winter resort at Holiday time, trimming the tree and exchanging gifts before cutting to the foursome jazzercising on an over the top soundstage (aka green screen) and hamming it up with their instruments 80s MTV style. All complete with giant teased Aquanet hair, bright bold eye makeup, and all the jumpsuits, shoulder pads, metallic lamé fashions and Spandex you can imagine circa 1987.
Along with the video, they also have Christmas themed jumpers and a special edition of their debut album, Let The Festivities Begin!, which has been pressed on a limited run 180gram red/green/white vinyl and comes with a flexi picture disc featuring “Los Chrismos,” and its b-side “Tipp Tapp,” along with a sticker sheet; the package and shirts are available now via their Bandcamp page.
And while I personally have never been much of a fan of holiday music, “Los Chrismos” just might be the song to finally thaw this grinch out a bit because it is an ear worm which fits perfectly into their existing body of danceable work and will sure to be a hit at the club or the office holiday party.
Watch the video below and check out pics from a recent gig I caught in the UK.
The Natural Lines (ex Matt Pond PA) have announced their self titled debut album (3/24/23 Bella Union) which follows up their recent EP, First Five. Today they release the first single, “Monotony” along with a video, both of which feature celebrated comedian/actress/tv host Nikki Glaser in the role of an unconventional psychiatrist.
Commenting on the song and video, frontman Matt Pond said
“Over the last few years, I’ve tried to focus on my breathing—to try and be a better singer, to try and be a better person. But it’s hard to shit still and slow down when the world seems so unruly,” a relatable sentiment. He continues “‘Monotony’ is an anthem about the daily tightrope—searching for the right path between passion and apathy. All the while, I’ve been working with Nikki Glaser. Her fearlessness is contagious. Since she never hesitates to tell me what she really thinks, I thought it made perfect sense for Nikki to portray my therapist in the video”
This new music and the updated band name follows over two decades of releases by Pond as Matt Pond PA and sees him continuing to work with long time collaborator Chris Hansen as well as several other contributors. The song will feel familiar to fans of his past work, the lush instrumentation heightening the emotion of Pond’s lyrics/vocal delivery.
The Natural Lines will play two shows opening for Glaser on 1/27/23 at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT and 1/28 at Beacon Theater in NYC. Tickets are available here.
Looking for a good show in NYC? Well here you go! We’ve got a nice big list of what is going on this week, shows that we are excited about and want you to know about too, with plenty of live music from the local scene and national acts at bigger venues to choose from. This list is brought to you by our EIC Hoos along with our indefatigable live correspondent, Mike Borchardt (of the band Nihiloceros) who is in touch with the local Brooklyn/etc scene like no other. And we’ve got a sprinkling of live photos to get you in the mood for your show of choice too. Check back every Monday for updated listings on what is good for the week to come!