This Week’s Essential Releases: Art Punk, Celestial Jazz, and Hip-Hop

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.


As Acteurs, Brian Case (90 Day Men, Disappears) and sound engineer Jeremy Lemos (White/Light) do synth work that’s minimal, opaque, and discomforting. Rhythms rise snakelike; horror-movie stabs and ambience flicker and flash. Dry vocal repetition of phrases like “I’ma protect you like a gun, gun, gun” (“Corridor”) provide enough specificity and enough space to be truly menacing. This is terror through intimation, rather than through an oppressive or brutal aesthetic, music for a concrete dancefloor in hell. It’s very, very good. (This is also the first release on Case’s MILD VILNC label.)

Jes Skolnik

Ill CamilleHeirloom

Compton is on a roll these days. Following the highly-anticipated release of Kendrick Lamar’s fourth album, fellow Compton native Ill Camille is out with her own hotly-anticipated release, the long-gestating Heirloom. For its 16 tracks, the rapper pays homage to the grind, offering a nuanced take on her ancestry and how it relates to today. Though it took a while to arrive, Heirloom hits right on time.

Marcus J. Moore

Orval Carlos SibeliusOrdre Et Progres

For a certain type of jubilant guitar-driven French rock, I look to Born Bad Records. The Romainville, France-based label has a knack for gathering the best and breeziest of the French rock scene. On Ordre Et Progres, songs swell with the support of what seems like multiple orchestras to catapult a very good pop record to new heights. Though I can’t understand the nuances of the French lyrics, the melodies and vocals remind me of everything I love about Belle and Sebastian.

Ally-Jane Grossan

PerdidosLa Gente Esta Madita

Gnarly, noisy, blown-out deathrock with the very lightest surfy edge, hurtling at a burly hardcore pace through space and elbowing less-interesting comers out of its way. This Dallas group crouches in the small space left when groups like Christian Death and T.S.O.L. turned the corner from hardcore to goth, right at the transition, ground zero for deathrock; fewer groups than you’d expect explore that fascinating moment fully. This is a version fully updated for the 21st century.

Jes Skolnik

RobedoorNew Age Sewage

Over the course of 12 years and countless releases, the duo Robedoor have steadily carved out a space for themselves somewhere in a rock canyon, thousands of miles below the surface of the earth. There are countless of electronic-based acts that seem to reach skyward with their music, but Robedoor are hell-bent on going deeperNew Age Sewage furthers that mission, another gripping collection of shadowy, six-plus-minute epics that seem robotically engineered to unnerve. Synths shriek and boom, vocals wail in the background like agonized spirits, and the drums are mammoth and pulverizing. When we’ve finally ruined this earth and are forced to seek shelter below, Robedoor is the chilling music that will be playing as we make our descent.

J. Edward Keyes

Salami Rose Joe LouisZlaty Sauce Nephew

As she said in a recent interview with Bandcamp Weekly, Salami Rose Joe Louis is a nickname given to Lindsay Olsen at birth by her sister. The music on Zlaty Sauce Nephew is full of the same childlike wonder, imagination, and silliness. Silent-movie organs swell, marimbas twinkle and Louis’s voice—sounding eerily like Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier—tiptoes slowly between them. The charmingly-titled “Dorkiest Jam Since the Dawn of Time” is smoky jazz cabaret that gives way to throbbing soul, “Very Bizarre Waffles” juxtaposes clattering percussion with whispery vocals. There are 32 songs on Zlaty, and all of them are exceptional; celestial lounge and jazz that’s impossible to resist.

J. Edward Keyes

Back Catalogue:

Hawaiian ShirtEP

Coming from an L.A. band with the name Hawaiian T-Shirt, you might assume that this EP is four songs of surf rock. You would be wrong. This recently formed trio play arty, enthusiastic post-punk that rattles around in your ears and worms its way into your brain. Dancey opener “Chantelle” is the highlight, lifting off with a few well-placed B-52s-esque whoops from singer Ana Ayon as she demands to know “Have you met Chantelle?” This song is pure joy, and Hawaiian T-Shirt sound like a band enamored of their own existence, the evergreen enthusiasm of the amateur cutting through the tinny lo-fi production. “You are the best, the best, the best, the best,” Ayon exhorts over Tara Edwards’ pounding disco drums and Jermiah Page’s bouncing basslines. Instant ‘Like.’

Mariana Timony

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