Author Archives: Editorial

Album of the Day: Dent May, “Across the Multiverse”

In just one sentence on his new record Across The Multiverse, Los Angeles musician Dent May travels from Hollywood heroism to complete fatalism. Over a wash of bright piano, strings, and a delightful bass groove, May croons, “I’m gonna live forever until I’m dead!” This is, in seven words, the story of his remarkable new album: it’s about the indulgences of life and the inevitability of our destruction, buoyed by pillowy melodies and eclectic, retro sounds.

Originally from Mississippi, May moved to L.A. a few years ago. Across The Multiverse uses a rich sonic palette to explore the existential side of California glam: a collage of disco strings, crystalline guitars (with the occasional harmonized fuzz solo), and bright-eyed piano chording. Over the ‘80s pop thrum of “Picture On A Screen,” he ponders our affection for digitized incarnations of people we may never meet, while the echoey, barroom-piano shuffle of “90210” finds him adapting to his new West Coast home. “Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love” brings plucky funk riffing and a string-driven, stomp-and-clap boogie breakdown to the fore.

May wants to engage earnestly with cotton-candy poptimism just as much as he wants to poke holes in those same enticing, falsified structures—and in doing so, he weaves a playful, warm soundscape over which to ponder our mortality and loneliness. Throughout the record, we’re teased with the torturous hope that we might overcome our bleak realities. The magic of Across the Multiverse is that May doesn’t have any easy answers, but the pop hooks lure us in, inviting us to suss out these universal ambiguities right alongside him.

Luke Ottenhof

This Week’s Essential Releases: Synthwave, Hip-Hop, and Psych

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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.

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The Best Metal on Bandcamp: July 2017

best metal

Whenever a member of a beloved band dies, it seems to touch the entire metal scene, so when Jason McCash and J. Clyde Paradis of the cult Indianapolis doom trio The Gates of Slumber passed away within two years of one another, the community was devastated. Guitarist and vocalist Karl Simon soldiered on and formed Wretch, whose self-titled debut from last year is essential. Now Wretch is back with a name-your-price EP benefiting the Amy Winehouse Foundation and the Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition. That release is profiled below as a part of a busy month in metal on Bandcamp that also includes iconoclastic one-man black metal, a split release from two modern masters of death-encrusted funeral doom, and Motörhead-worshipping D-beat from a metalpunk hero.

[View the Best Metal on Bandcamp Archives]

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Hi Bias: Notable Cassette Releases on Bandcamp, July 2017

Hi Bias

Welcome to Hi Bias, a monthly column highlighting recent cassette releases on Bandcamp, and exploring the ideas behind them with the artists who made them. Rather than making sweeping generalizations about the “cassette comeback,” we prefer here simply to cover releases that may escape others’ radar due to their limited, cassette-focused availability. Continue reading

Silliness Wins Every Time: Kids’ Music for All Ages

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Illustration by Benjamin Rawson.

Bandcamp is an ever-expanding universe that spans all manner of musical and sound expression, but one particularly playful corner is reserved for the young at heart: kids’ music.

Although many famous musicians have dipped their toes in children’s music for an album or two (They Might Be Giants come immediately to mind), there is a rich array of independent artists on Bandcamp using the platform to upload music specifically created for enjoyment by youngsters—much of it happens to be great listening for adults, too.

Just like music for grown-ups, kids’ music on Bandcamp is diverse and wildly creative, ranging from rock ‘n’ roll ABCs and bilingual folk songs to lullabies for infants and narrative sing-a-longs that use handclaps and call-and-response to encourage interaction from the little ones. It’s also stylistically diverse; you’ll hear everything from Americana and jazz to pop to “kindie” rock, sometimes within the space of a single album (although you will find a lot more songs about animals and food).

Many of the children’s musicians on Bandcamp either played or still play “grown-up” music and came to this niche for a variety of reasons. Some began to play music for tots once they had children of their own, the point at which staying out until 2am began to lose its appeal. Others work with children in professional capacities, and found contemporary kids’ music lacking, so they decided to make their own. Sometimes, as with Sandra Velasquez of the Brooklyn-based Latin rock group Pistolera and her kids’ band Moona Luna, the project is simply the kids’ version of the grown-up band, modified for young ears. Continue reading