BANDCAMP NAVIGATOR Bandcamp Navigator, January 2024 By Robert Newsome · February 01, 2024

It’s time again for another trip through the Bandcamp tags, and we’re kicking everything off on a familiar street: a reissue of some loud, aggressive hardcore.

Grip on Reality

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7" Vinyl

It’s still viscerally thrilling to me when an “everything as fast as possible all of the time” hardcore/thrash band has a member that likes to do a little shredding before the heads-down full-speed assault gets going. Mere seconds into “Mold,” the first song on a 2022 EP from Milwaukee’s Curbsitter, the guitarist, credited only as KEVIN, throws down a cascading finger-tapping solo that leads straight into the full-tilt frenzy of the track’s main riff. On the frantic “Barnyard Animal” KEVIN plays a spiraling, off-kilter riff reminiscent of the early ’90s sound of All guitarist Stephen Egerton. If you like fast, loud music, you’re gonna love this.

We jump from Curbsitter to another artist based in #Milwaukee whose concerns are somewhat more other-worldly.


This release straddles the line between the dungeon synth and straight-up noise/power electronics. If you can make it through battle against the low rumble and piercing distorted shriek of this album’s opening track, a bountiful reward awaits as beneath the harsh exterior, there are some surprisingly pleasing melodies to be found. While the short, bludgeoning 1-2 punch of “1d8 Damage” and “Save Vs. Poison or Die” will definitely have you rolling a saving throw vs. ear damage if you’re listening with headphones at high volume, “Stories Around the Hearth” uses a brass synth voice in buzz and grime to replicate the murmuring interplay of stories of quests told in a rough stone tavern filled with adventurers. Like any good quest, MEGADUNGEON is a rewarding, though often difficult journey.

MEGADUNGEON’s use of #noise brings us back to that expansive territory, where our next featured artist’s idea of “noise” is more calming than abrasive.

Ibukun Sunday

Opening with the slowly shifting stratified pipe organ/glass harmonica voices of “A Purified Soul,” Divine brings in acoustic instruments for the flowing, intricate “ALO- With the Mind,” a composition that isn’t jazz but certainly hints at the elements of it. “Self Control” pairs minimalist twinkling high-pitched tones with a rumbling drone before “Root” ends the record with a quiet exercise of plucked and bowed strings over a floating synth bed. These are base descriptions of what to expect, but this remarkable record is one that truly needs to be experienced.

Ibukun Sunda is based in #Nigeria, a country with a rich and varied musical history. A sliver of that history is explored on our next featured release, a collection of Nigerian electronic music from the ’80s and ’90s.

Ayo Manuel

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Vinyl LP

The stylophone-like synth voice that provides the groove for “Song of Love,” the opening track on this compilation of works by Atijere, Nigeria’s Ayo Manuel is basically an aural glue trap. Before you know it, you’re trapped. By the time the horns show up, it’s too late. The music is centered around the funk/disco/boogie vibe, with tracks like the boisterous “Don’t Stop” creating an instant party. The later work is a bit more subdued and features richer production, but it’s still devoted to creating and reveling in a tight, deep groove; one that, in the case of “Gboro Mi Ro” creates a hypnotic effect when wrapped around the song’s choral backing vocals and driving percussion. Whether this collection serves as an introduction or a reminder for you, it’s clear that it’s an essential document of some outstanding material.

It’s easy to hear the #disco influence in Ayo Manuel’s work. In the case of our next artist, it’s been somewhat modified.


Everything is pushed to the limit on this demo from Indonesian one-person band VIET*VIET. Instruments fuzz out in the mix, there’s a ridiculous amount of echo on everything—it all feels like it could completely collapse at any moment. But these songs aren’t frantic. There’s a sense of nonchalance that’s probably due to the vocals. You’d expect a lot of yelling to be going on in this sort of thing, but that’s not the case. The closest we get is the Devo-esque vocal delivery on album closer “Don’t Wanna Be Like You.” Elsewhere, there’s a post-punk/proto-goth quality. The tension between that vocal delivery, the chaotic instrumentation, and the everything-in-the-red production method is a truly original sound and one that gets me very excited to see where VIET*VIET goes from here.

We’re staying in VIET*VIET’s hometown of #Yogyakarta to focus on one of Indonesia’s many black metal bands.

Mayonggo Seto
Sun Amatek Aji

Mayonggo Seto have really tightened up since their 2011 demo. Those three songs from 12 years ago were good, but a few tweaks to guitar tone and a greater willingness to experiment with sonic textures have elevated Mayonggo Seto’s output. Atmospheric passages featuring clean electric guitar are cleverly used to establish mood before mononymic drummer Purnama kicks everything into high gear. It may be black metal blasphemy to suggest that Mayonggo Seto is influenced by death metal, but you can definitely sense some of the latter genre’s palette as a base coat beneath the blackness. Check out the intro to “Panglemesing Brojo” where the gravelly screech of vocalist Iron Ballunk floats over chant-like backing vocals and a guitar that starts clean, adds distortion, and about 90 seconds in launches into the expected black metal fury.

No surprise to see the #black metal tag at the bottom of the page. What is surprising, though, is where it’s going to lead us.

Flower Ranger
Sagani Profani

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This collection of pop nuggets from Austin’s Flower Ranger is bright, whimsical, and incredibly catchy. Despite being content to laze in the mid-tempo area, Sagani Profani creates an air of excitement through the sheer amount of joy it provides. Although at times reminiscent of Floridian synthesist Euglossine (especially the bubbly, watery bass sound of the latter’s 2014 debut), Flower Ranger adheres more closely to traditional pop structures. There are numerous influences apparent here—jazz, Les Baxter–style “exotica,” a little bit of ’70s adult contemporary, groove-centric funk (see the oddly titled “?????? ??????? ??????”). Then there’s “The Gnome,” a gentle, flowing affair that oddly reminds me of “May I” from Into Another’s 1994 album Seemless.

The #power pop tag is way more apt for Flower Ranger’s work than the black metal tag that brought us here.

Count Lenny

There’s something infinitely appealing about Count Lenny’s straightforward approach. This is pop punk, but more in the Tony Molina/Ovens or Jeff Rosenstock vein than the early ’90s sound associated with that descriptor. There’s lots of distortion coupled with a sneering, sometimes tongue-in-cheek delivery. It doesn’t hurt that Count Lenny augments the scratchy guitars with the occasional synth/organ melody, recalling the more aggressive side of The Rentals or even the less overtly comedic work of Reggie and the Full Effect. A secret weapon are the near-angelic backing vocals of Katie Hardiman, a touch only employed on 6 of the 19 tracks but always welcome when they show up. These songs pack a punch, and, like all good pop songs should, stay bouncing around inside your head long after Count Lenny’s guitar buzz has faded from the speakers.

I’m still amazed by the amount of variety you can find in the bigger genre tags, including #pop punk, the one we’re using to move to our next featured release.

Alan Axl

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Mexican pop punk artist Alan Axl writes memorable songs that sound absolutely massive. The guitar tone is aural sandpaper, cutting through the mix and latching into whatever part of your brain stores away catchy riffs. The drums are resonant and aggressive without ever being overpowering, and, crucially, Axl knows how to use synths to augment his sound, bringing them out for the occasional chorus or intro, like the with a shimmering lead-in to the mid-tempo “Better (With Time),” elevating the wordless do-do-doo vocal line. After a few guitar-focused numbers, Axl lets those synths take center stage. Beginning with “Ugly Monsters,” Afterparty transforms into a mostly synth-pop album, proving that Axl’s talent for songwriting isn’t genre-dependent.

It’s kind of difficult for me to hear an explicit #R&B influence in Alan Axl’s work, but if the artist says it’s there, then I believe them. We’re using it to move to our final artist.

Moses Andrews III

“I need to rid this brain of all the harmful ideologies” says Moses Andrews III in the spoken word intro to his third album. What follows is an attempt to do that by laying his soul bare, confronting his shortcomings and mistakes. With a tight, talented band and his own soulful, expressive voice, Honestly. brings us along a journey of introspection and self exploration. It’s heady stuff, but there are still moments of beauty and elation to be found. The soaring chorus of “Changing” with its full horn section and backing chorus is enough to give even the most stoic listener chills. The emotionally direct, country-influenced closer “Sometimes I Wonder” wraps up Andrews’s journey with a plaintive ending that expresses hope for continued growth in the future.

Here is where we’ll end this trip. There’s still lots of musical ground to cover out there, and my sincere hope, as always, is that something you’ve heard here encourages you to dive in and do some exploring on your own.

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