special edition: best of bandcamp
"Sometimes when I think 'the modern age is trash' the first thing I think as I'm coming to my senses is 'but hold up, Bandcamp'" - John Darnielle
|Mar 19, 2020|
hello and welcome to this surprise issue of the tusk is better than rumours newsletter! you’ve never heard from me on a thursday but these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures, like me writing one extra issue of my newsletter. you might’ve seen that bandcamp, the only online music service worth supporting, has waived their revenue share tomorrow, friday march 20, from midnight to midnight pst. as ceo ethan diamond sez, “for many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not.” because i have literally no other skill set than writing about music (and even that is dubious), i figured i’d do my part by recommending some albums that are available on bandcamp. there is no theme or anything, just good tunes that you should buy on friday so that these folks can pay rent and buy food and continue making good tunes.
france has one song. that’s right. it’s a good one, though—a motorik beat backing a long hurdy gurdy drone, like they’ve taken all the good parts of krautrock and compressed them into a small, but dense, sonic cube that you then get to inhabit. the idea is that they play this one song over and over, in different places, recording it in different ways. and wouldn’t you know it but it does sound strikingly different in each iteration. a personal favorite of mine is Do Den Haag Church, and this live album (they’re all live, i guess) in paris is a treat as well.
good shoegaze should be first and foremost LOUD like in this old maxell cassette ad:
lacing’s latest album Without certainly delivers on that score, with things like nice melodies and good musicianship to boot. some folks’ll tell ya that all shoegaze bands sound the same and some shoegaze fans’ll insist that’s not true. i say that all shoegaze bands do sound the same, and that that’s the point of shoegaze. still, within the samey world of shoegaze there are tiers: some bands are simply better at creating massive washes of reverb’d guitar. lacing is one of the best bands doing it right now.
if for whatever reason you’re not unsettled enough by this slow-trickle apocalypse that we’ve been eased into over the past month (/years), you might try this field recording album from wanda group. out of all the bright colors on the cover, i’d say the one most reminiscent of the music itself is the black of that ominous crow. you know the part in sci-fi movies where the crew lands in some godforsaken gooey alien swamp and the comic relief character says like “well at least tomorrow’s laundry day” the implication being that either the swamp is gross (kids version) or that they soiled themselves out of fright (adults version)? no? well anyway this would be good to use for the background of one of those scenes.
if terrifying swamps isn’t your thing then maybe a peaceful springtime glade is more up your alley. izabela dłużyk is a polish field recordist who is blind from birth, and as such has “always been particularly sensitive to sounds.” for her second release on jonáš gruska’s excellent lom label, dłużyk turns her expert ear to birdsong, running water, and the buzzing of insects. i’m not into meditation—i take my stress pure and uncut—but if you are, this is guaranteed relaxation in the vein of the old Environments series.
alright so literally as i was writing this up i went to twitter for another dose of hi-octane paranoia and dread and i saw that sarah hennies put up this new 16-minute track specifically for today’s bandcamp offer. i’m listening to it for the first time and i can say with about 95% confidence that it’s recommendable. if that number isn’t high enough for you or you want a longer piece i’d recommend last year’s Reservoir 1: Preservation with 100% confidence. this one here is field-recording-based but with an insistent helicopterish drone that feels very intentional; Reservoir is an improvised piece for piano and percussion performed by her group called meridian.
not to overwhelm you all with too much choice but i thought i’d also reiterate my recommendations from monday’s newsletter about editions mego’s grm reissues. there, i told you about:
future museums making beautiful meditative drones. i’d recommend Rosewater Ceremony which is about microdosing lsd.
the ‘80s goth revivalists single lash. you can’t go wrong with Providence which is about heavenly providence but also the rhode island town.
tv honest, who is in that constellation of folks too. listen to “he treat me mean” and tell me that ain’t a jam.
and claire rousay, who is like two degrees separated from those guys but she put out an album with more eaze who put out an album as long shadow duo with future museums. rousay’s music is upsettingly intimate which i reckon is the point. i’d recommend rehearsal / improvisations which is half-done but all the more interesting for it.
if you didn’t check those guys out on monday then check them out and buy their music on friday, march 20! actually that would be even better for them because they’d get more money!
ok that’s it. check out all these projects and send some money to some of them. and if you’re new to this newsletter take a gander at some earlier issues and sign up and tell a friend!