Tag Archives: Certified

Certified: French Vanilla’s Cathartic Dance-Punk

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

When the four-piece group French Vanilla first met around 2010, the queer punk scene in Los Angeles was flourishing. Acts like Sister Mantos, Little Debbie, Xina Xurner, and Big Bugs were creating space for traditionally marginalized voices, and building a welcoming community among like-minded bands. To the members of French Vanilla, it felt like a refuge from the “bro-y surf rock” that was en vogue in the wider L.A. underground. “Being able to see amazing performers who didn’t care at all about how many people were in the audience, but were [instead] confident in their work, was very inspiring,” recalls guitarist and bassist Ali Day. In love with the energy and inclusivity of that community, Day, vocalist Sally Spitz, saxophonist and bassist Daniel Trautfield, and drummer Greg Shilton soon decided to form a band of their own.

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Certified: Hatchie’s Swirling Dreampop is Built For Big Rooms


Photography by Tonje Thilesen

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

When it comes to interviews, every musician has a few topics that are off-limits. For Harriette Pilbeam, it’s trashing local pizza places. “Can I go off the record?” the 26-year-old Brisbane singer-songwriter who records as Hatchie earnestly asks, leaning in to dish the dirt. “We always try to get a lot of pizza when we’re here [in New York]. We got a lot of recommendations from people before we leave [home]—then we asked a native New Yorker, and they said, ‘Oh no, don’t go there!'”

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Certified: Dana Jean Phoenix, Synthwave’s Ascendant Superhero

 

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

A lot of synthwave musicians like to explore the idea of a “dystopian reality.” Not so Dana Jean Phoenix; the Toronto-based artist is more interested in bringing out the humanity in machines than lamenting the loss of our pre-internet years. She even named her keytar Jareth, and was devastated when he was briefly misplaced on tour in Europe earlier this year. “The airline lost him, and I felt like a part of me had been lost,” she says. “I hadn’t realized how important it had become to me. I feel like I’m flying when I’m playing Jareth—he is my superhero cape.”

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Certified: Johari Noelle Wants You to Remain True to Yourself

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

“If we’re having negative encounters, we protect ourselves,” Chicago singer Johari Noelle says. She’s explaining her song “Too Much,” a treatise on the ways we guard ourselves during contentious situations. “We don’t really confront the problem at hand, and sometimes we’re so paralyzed by it that we don’t say anything, so we’re confined. The song encourages the idea of healthy confrontation,” she explains. “Too Much” is the first single from Noelle’s five-song debut EP Things You Can’t Say Out Loud, a collection of restorative songs about remaining true to yourself.

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Certified: Pinch Points’ Speedy “Turbo-Punk” Questions the Norm

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

In 2017, when the numerous bands Adam Smith played in all decided to take a break at once, the Melbourne singer and guitarist found himself with a sudden pocket of downtime. He decided to use the extra hours to do something he truly enjoyed: form another band. He noticed a spare, ominous warning on the flatbed of a passing pickup truck—“pinch points”—and wondered, “What kind of music would ‘Pinch Points’ be?” The answer was a stack of short, jerky songs about ominous machinery.

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Certified: Damon Locks Sketches the Blueprint for a New Nation

Certified-Damon-Locks-1244.jpgCertified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

In 2014, Damon Locks was teaching art to prisoners at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois when Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, was gunned down by a white police officer. That incident set off a wave of local and national protests; it also set off something in Locks. He began researching the U.S. criminal justice system, which imprisons black men at a rate six times that of white men, and allows law enforcement officers to get away with murder.

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Certified: Spirit Adrift Forge Modern Arena Metal That’s Built to Last

Certified-Spirit Adrift-1244

Photography by Joey Maddon

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

Arena metal. It’s a vivid phrase in search of a practical meaning. Outside of a few hallowed names—Metallica, Maiden, Priest—nobody playing heavy music can actually fill an arena these days. That makes the relentless, Sisyphean drive of Spirit Adrift’s Nate Garrett all the more inspiring.

“You can use the word ‘arena,’” Garrett says in response to a sheepish suggestion that Spirit Adrift’s third album, Divided by Darkness, sounds like it should be performed in huge rooms. “Hell yeah.”

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Certified: On “LEGACY! LEGACY!” Jamila Woods Comes Into Her Own

 

Certified Jamilla Woods

Photography by Sarah Joyce

Certified is a new series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

Jamila Woods likes to surround herself with artifacts of the recent past. A meticulous researcher of black artistry, Woods devours these artifacts—filmed interviews of Jean-Michel Basquiat found in the recesses of YouTube, or the collected writing of Zora Neale Hurston—repetitiously, then studies them for nuance and relevant bits of wisdom. 

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