Lately, I have been wandering, perhaps digging is a better word, through Bandcamp’s ”New Arrivals,” which is always interesting, as well as trying to listen to at least a few of the new tracks publicists and artists send me via email. I say ”a few” because on an average day I receive about 200 emails focused on music, which on the surface sounds like a lot, but is modest compared to the amount others receive.
However, it does mean I don’t listen to the bulk of what I am sent, since I am not Superman. And that’s a shame simply because I know I’m missing beaucoup good music.
Some of the music below is from emails, while others are the result of rummaging through Bandcamp. One of my favorite genres to checkout is the doom category, along with dream-pop, pop-punk, and hip-hop. A large proportion of doom, unfortunately, sounds akin to Black Sabbath, which is understandable on one level, simply because of their massive impact on the genre.
So, for what it’s worth, this is some of the music I’ve been listening to this week.
Dear Seattle – “In My Head”
Indie-rock outfit Dear Seattle, who hail from Sydney, Australia, released a new single/music video a few days ago, called “In My Head.”
Made up of Brae Fisher, Jeremy Baker, Lachlan Simpson, and Josh McKay, Dear Seattle go together in 2013, followed by dropping two EPs and their 2019 debut album, Don’t Let Go. “In My Head” is the first new music from the band since Don’t Let Go.
Front man and guitarist Brae Fisher shares, “In My Head” is about stepping back into your regular life after a period of withdrawn reflection, walking around like a spectator to your own life. There’s a thin barrier of disconnection as you try to adjust and settle back into everyday interactions, which is just enough to make you notice the true absurdity of monotonous small talk and forced conversations. It’s a more nuanced and mature direction for us but still keeps the classic Dear Seattle sound with an emotionally charged singalong chorus and introspective verses, so it felt like the perfect song for us to return with.”
Brimming with gleaming, jangly guitars topped by Fisher’s voice, ranging from creamy melodicism to agitated angst-filled tones, the pop-punk-flavored melody threads the needle between pop and punk effortlessly.
Retriever – “Purple”
UK-based electro-pop/dream-pop band Retriever introduced the music video, “Purple,” about a week ago. Released via the French label Profil de Face, the song is from Retriever’s EP, Carnival Blues.
There’s not much gen on the band, except it seems they called it quits in 2015, and are now back. Of course, that’s just guesswork based on their Bandcamp page.
In any event, “Purple,” at once plush and voluptuous, rides a just-right indulgent rhythm topped by soft, velvety vocals.
Wolf Alice – ‘Blue Weekend’
An excellent album, Blue Weekend shows off the deluxe, ethereal voice of Ellie Rowsell, as well as the band’s dense waves of shimmering guitars, pushing out alternative/dream-pop savors.
New-Kingdoms – ‘GOD IS GAY’
I came across this album, God Is Gay, during one of my dives into Bandcamp’s ”New Arrivals,” under the ”doom metal” category. The title immediately catches your eye, yet its significance is open to conjecture.
After listening to the sample track, “MAFS,” I decided to give it hearing. It’s actually pretty good. Low-slung, deep harmonic structures give the songs a distant, hazy glow, like the dystopic remnants of WWIII.
The vocals drift on elusive layers of panting coloration, eschewing the routine Cookie Monster vocals associated with today’s doom music. Entry points include the aforementioned “MAFS,” along with “shitview,” “No. 2,” and “turning in his grave.”
Memory Driven – ‘QUALIA “B SIDES OF PAIN”
Led by Dennis Cornelius, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma progressive doom metal outfit Memory Driven dropped their album, QUALIA “B SIDES OF PAIN,” on June 10.
Rasping vocals, dark and portentous, give the lyrics sepulchral gloom, while thick, clotted guitars convey the residual energy of ozone smelling mists.
Highlights include “Y” with its black, thrumming intro, “I Am The Sun,” which conjures of up hints of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, only slurred with coagulated guitars, growling and rumbling, pumping out fountains of viscous textures.
Gospel of the Future – ‘Blowtorch Mankind’ EP
From the Olomouc Region of Czechia comes the doom/sludge band Gospel of the Future, who just released their Blowtorch Mankind EP on Bandcamp.
Only one track is available for listening, which means you have to purchase it if you want to hear the three inaccessible tracks. I understand the marketing concept behind this type of effort but question its advisability.
The available track is “The Ant Hill Kids,” traveling on harrowing guitars, tuned to drop F or drop G, projecting pulsating abysmal tones. I love the walloping chomp of the drums and smashing cymbals, giving the song titanic mass. Incandescent guitar work on the solo section provides a remote burning sensation.
BOY – “Fit Back In”
Swiss-German duo BOY release the single/music video, “Fit Back In,” a few days ago.
BOY features Valeska Steiner (vocals) and Sonja Glass (songwriter), and is their first new music sonce 2015’s We Were Here.
Steiner wrote the lyrics after the passing of her father and shares, “I feel so grateful for this song,” Steiner says, “because I really learned something for myself. I started writing it after my father passed, when I had this weird feeling that, in just one more week, a year would have gone by and somehow, I’d have to be magically over it and not feel so sad or lost. There are so many well-worn phrases we don’t really question, like ”Time heals everything,” but some things are just sad forever. I found comfort in acknowledging that, and at the same time I was able to see more and more clearly how, as time passes, it brings new life and new beauty and new things to look forward to.”
The song’s opening line reveals the universal feeling of separation endemic to human beings.
“Feeling like a stranger in my city and my skin / Nothing around here reminds me of anything.”