• Bandcamp Roundup: January 2016

This new monthly feature brought to you by Endless Trawling, the process whereby you’re happy to wade through fifty mediocre bands’ music cos you know there’s special stuff round some corner. Bandcamp is especially good for this: set up an account, buy a few albums and it’ll present you with a rabbit hole of similar artists and music fans you can spend days in. We went down there and this is what we brought back.

Waterfall Person – That’s Life!!! / Bug Byte / Waterfall Hits

2015’s best discovery is a young woman who lives in Melbourne, plays keyboards in her bedroom, and who’s released six and a half albums in the last eighteen months. The splurge of Waterfall Person stuff out there has painted one small corner of the internet at least in bright and excellent colours, and is a deep pool of wonder you should dive into ASAP: you’ll come out raving about healing powers and refracted sunshine (or just sport a big dopey grin). It’s the best music: totally without artifice songs that could only have come from one person, a rickety cascade of Casio wonkiness that’s all elbows and childlike simplicity. If The Space Lady grew up with MSN it could sound like this: something like ‘Everyday It’s The Same Waterfall’, with its keyboard effects button overload, internet speech samples as percussion, and detached vocals floating somewhere above, certainly feels like some strange outsider echo. ‘Coffee’ and ‘Waterfall Miracle’ have the catchiness of straight up international chart hits, off key vox and frog noises or not. There is a covers album available, with source material running from Jonathan Richman to Black Eyed Peas, and all the songs sound like God’s demo button. There’s no irony or zaniness here, just the best pop music to hug as tightly as you can, and tell everyone about.


Mozart – The Tick EP

January blues can officially get fucked thanks to ‘The Tick’, and its 14 minutes of gut-rupturing noise beauty. A pretty new Californian band consisting of ‘W├Ârmhole, Spoon, Idiot and Marissa’, Mozart make brutally careering hit and runs, dense attacks of two or three chord guitar churn with delirious, eviscerating vocals (from Marissa?) screamed all over and in between. They’re little bombs to make you feel alive – something like ‘WWBY’ is punk at the edge of sanity, the vocals flailing and collapsing and shredding themselves amongst the full throttle rubble. ‘The Embarrassment’ slows the pace to crawling, sounding like Flipper on slow drugs (i.e. great), while ‘The Monster’ shoehorns in five insanely good seconds of sax skronk right at its end. Mozart crash like No Babies, Vexx or AIDS Wolf, like you know they would destroy somewhere like Undertone or Roll For The Soul. 2015’s thrillingest, right here.


Gauche – Get Away With Gauche

Whatever floats your personal boat of course, but one of the best lines in music is the one that goes from Liliput to Erase Errata to Wetdog to Bellies and any other band that’s coated in pure itchy, post-punk sass. Washington, D.C.’s Gauche definitely grab that beacon, and debut tape ‘Get Away With’ is a brilliant seven-tracker that hovers in the tension between metronomic precision and angsty rattling. Vocals like madly melodic chants range from cool to urgent, guitar and keyboard add texture and don’t hang around, the rhythm section trucks on unstoppably… the mixture of shonkiness and steel is utterly perfect all the time, the song fragments so nagging and addictive, it’s almost like a machine designed for pleasure. You need this in your life.


Mint Field – Primeras Salidas EP

Knowledge of Mint Field’s residence in Tijuana, Mexico leaves you tempted to lapse into crap journalese, about how the sultry guitars mirror the desert heat shimmer and so on. Fact is, ‘Primeras Salidas’ is a beautiful EP of dream pop, one that mixes insistent post-punk with gothic blankness and lots of shoegaze pedal abuse. ‘El Otro Lugar’ opens with a little Joy Division-style guitar before unfolding into hazy, driving guitarscapes and cooing Liz Fraser-type falsetto, the bass keeping time in almost Krautrock fashion. ‘Petty Box’ has some icy Cocteaus/Bauhaus moves with a little excellently dead-eyed spoken word over the top. Songs slow down, speed up, blaze into light like the band are barely controlling them. An opaque and mysterious swirl that welcomes repeat listens, even if they let a boy sing on one song.


ILL – ILL Song/Slithering Lizards

There’s obviously a lot to be angry about. Manchester’s ILL have been releasing excellent singles for a few years now, fusing some pretty understandable ire at society’s crappier aspects to fierce kraut-y post punk that’s in equal turns experimental, theatrical and madly gleeful. 2014’s ‘Housewives’ Trilogy’ EP is highly recommended, as is their cover of the Stooges’ ‘Cock In My Pocket’, while this here two tracker is their most untethered beast to date: ‘ILL Song’ revolves around a repeated three note organ riff, quickly spiralling in intensity via maniacally scraped guitar and delirious call and response chants and yells. NHS-fired fury and runs up and down the organ keys crash together into one big frenzied pile up. It’s ace. As is ‘Slithering Lizards’, a nine-minute horrorshow of queasy paranoia, more haunted fairground organ and tense-and-release dynamics, expanding and mutating like a North-Western ‘Sister Ray’, or Electrelane gone feral. Start queuing for this year’s debut album.


Molar – Demo

These bands appear like spores, flaring up with demos, choice support slots, maybe sticking around for an album eventually. Hope newbies Molar stick around anyway, and their scratchy London-with-Irish-accents songs spread and infect plenty of living spaces out there. These three demos are tough and earthy, direct garage-y hits that hide plenty of street smarts and knotty, resonant lyrics. There’s a kind of skeletal quality that recalls ace London punx Primetime, especially on ‘Courage Sandwich’ (both bands sharing a nice FU attitude to douchebags too), while downhill banger ‘Queens Of Summer’ shifts gears in the manner of Partyline, Allison Wolfe’s post-Bratmobile band of awesomeness. Molar kind of remind me of Great Lost Irish band Chicks too, another sign you should buy this demo right fucking now, then wait for more.


Who & The Fucks – Porous EP

Delicate finger-picked acoustic notes frolic under wisps of flute and, well no, this band are called Who & The Fucks aren’t they. There is a photocopied octopus on their EP cover. These Fucks are some way off the psycho noise detonation they could conceivably have been though: opener ‘Hamvalanche’ lays on trebled-out, almost rockabilly guitar, making a fine squall for, uh, Stonerella’s bratty, teenage yelp vocals. ‘Artemia”s half-paced garage drawl lurches into double-time flailing, mirroring the detached bar room ramble of the lyrics. There’s a diesel surf song that ends after 46 seconds, while ‘Strawberry 30’ ends with seven agonising minutes of amp buzz and random radio samples. ‘Porous’ feels like a splurge of half ideas and dicking around, scatty and scrappy, a bunch of kids trying on noisy guitar styles like a dressing up box and stomping around till they get bored. Trawling Bandcamp for hours and finding these weirdo types out there somewhere (Tulsa, Oklahoma in this case), is all that’s worth getting out of bed for some days (although you can also do this in bed to be fair).


Bad Canoes – S/T EP

Sporadically barfing up chunks onto Bandcamp since 2013, Bad Canoes may initially intrigue due to singer Marissa’s other life, as lead hollerer and guitar virtuoso in Philadelphia’s great Screaming Females, but this here racket is a different noise beast, ditching not just the guitar but all the other extraneous rubbish like solos, third verses and songs over three minutes too. Drums, bass and keyboards blurt out basic, Devo-ish hooks, while Marissa’s already imposing vocal style swells to Godzilla size, honking at great volume and scary levels of drill instructor intensity. There’s ribald lyrics and mangled humour in there somewhere too, and in the random moments of screaming and keyboard fisting they occasionally bring to mind Bristol’s misandrist power trio (and de facto best band in Britain) Towel. Kind of. Ninety second songs. Best not listened to when feeling fragile. Give them your money.


Aberlard – Seinwave 2000

It’s a chillwave version of the Seinfeld theme. It came out one year ago. Stop reading this now.


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