ESSENTIAL RELEASES Essential Releases, February 16, 2024 By Bandcamp Daily Staff · February 16, 2024

What the Bandcamp Daily editors are listening to right now.

GRIN
Hush

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

Hush, the new album from GRIN (the German psych-doom power couple, as opposed to the Nils Lofgren-fronted ’70s rock band), is cosmonaut metal of the highest caliber. Moving in sync from sludgy, blackened beginning (“Hush”) to paranoid winding end (“Torre del serve”), Jan and Sabine Oberg open up a vast, vivid cosmos held together by menacing vocals, maze-like arrangements, and eccentric grooves (see the hand percussion on “Venom”). Hush‘s hallucinogenic atmosphere, combined with its sharp, focused songwriting, makes for a transportive heavy listening experience on par with Mastodon, Elder, and the rest — with a fraction of the personnel, natch.

Zoe Camp

Kevin Holliday
LADYBUG

Kevin Holliday begins his latest album, LADYBUG, at wit’s end: “Sometimes I fucking hate you,” he sings, before concluding, “I couldn’t be what you want me to be.” So far, breakup ballad 101. But Holliday doesn’t let himself off the hook that easily: as the sashaying funk of opener “BEST FRIEND/SWEET” nears its conclusion, Holliday cedes the spotlight to his ex, who fires back at him: “So…do you really hate me?” forcing him to admit, “Well, sometimes. But sometimes I hate myself.” That volley sets the tone for LADYBUG, a batch of crisp, bright R&B songs that explore the ups and downs of love, all handled with a personal touch. Holliday fills his songs with details that make them feel lived in. On album highlight “Little Yellow Bus”—which, with its warped 4-track acoustic guitar, recalls Headphone Masterpiece-era Cody ChesnuTT—Holliday dreams of using the titular vehicle to “go back in time/ and stop myself from loving you.” But the way he sings it, the choice of transportation seems specific—a kind of code between Holliday and the person he’s singing to. In and out in 29 minutes, the album doesn’t dawdle, but still finds room for disco-soul (“What You’re Looking For”), electro-funk (“Brown Eyes”), and loads more. It announces Holliday as a musical omnivore, whose nuanced view of love is complemented by an equally eclectic taste in music. It’s payoff after payoff, and makes you hope that with his next outing, Holliday sticks around for at least a few minutes longer.

J. Edward Keyes

Laryssa Kim
Contezza

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

On Contezza, Laryssa Kim’s voice comes and goes in waves—drifting up from beneath gauzy layers of electronics for a spell, then disappearing back down into them; vanishing for minutes at a time while foamy waves of synth lap gently at the shore, then materialzing suddenly, like a ghost in a dark room. This is apt: Contezza was conceived as “a ritual,” and the long ambient passages that separate Kim’s appearances feel designed to hypnotize. It works; Contezza moves like a dream, and Kim’s hushed delivery only contributes to the album’s air of mystery. On “Ma Chi Sei – Ascoso,” she tiptoes across a field of softly glowing synths, doling out words one tiny, pillowy syllable at a time; halfway through “Obsession – Indomita Mente” she runs her vocal track backward, creating a tangled, elastic string of syllables she suspends over open air, then plunges it into robotic effects and makes it to stagger around woozily amidst punchy bass rhythms. The atmospheric electronics and Kim’s spectral vocals make the whole thing feel strangely elusive—focusing intently on its various vaporous elements is like trying to reduce Monet’s Water Lilies to its individual brushstokes. Better to let the whole thing sweep you up at once.

J. Edward Keyes

Medicine
On The Bed

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Underappreciated noise rock stalwarts Medicine offer a grab bag Beatles covers with On the Bed, the tracklisting composed of familiar tunes, deep cuts, two solo tracks (from George and Ringo), and one 10-minute sound collage. Neither announcing itself as a covers record nor assembling songs based on any obvious (to me, anyway) concept, Medicine play with the listener’s nostalgia by subtly warping familiar songs in interesting ways. They add a hollowed out, gritty abrasiveness to more pop-forward tunes while respecting the innate psychedelia of a masterpiece like “She Said She Said,” the wild experimentalism of “Blue Jay Way.” The rare covers record that’s interesting enough to make you want to listen to music made by both bands involved.

Mariana Timony

Prize Horse
Under Sound

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

After making a fantastic first impression with 2022’s debut EP Welder, six tracks of fiery, post-hardcore-influenced indie, rising Minneapolis band Prize Horse are back with Under Sound, their first proper full-length. Contrasting the resonant tones and textural depth of shoegaze with the soft-spun dread of slowcore and emo, the trio—guitarist and vocalist Jake Beitel, bassist Olivia Johnson, and drummer Jon Brenner—make music that’s heavy enough to induce tinnitus, though not so heavy that your neighbors will file a noise complaint. “Your Time” and “Stone” are particularly convincing proofs-of-concept that will make any Cloakroom or Nothing fan swoon.

Zoe Camp

Shadow Show
Fantasy Now!

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Though doggedly unvarnished in the way of all Detroit rock bands (every song here, no matter how sunshine-y, would sound great in a bar) Fantasy Now from all-female trio Shadow Show is nevertheless a champagne bubble of sweetly retro sounds fizzed in cool girl glamour that generally prefers to be sleek over gritty. From the spooky girl group harmonizing (“The Madrigal”) and bubblegum-y jangle à la All Over the Place-era Bangles ( “Mystic Spiral” and “Clown Song”) to the bluesy and woozy (“Fell Into a Spell” and “Don’t Make Sense”) and the smiley and flowery (“Aunt Maizy” and “On A Cloud”), Fantasy Now keeps it glossy.

Mariana Timony
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