Tag Archives: Grouper

Album of the Day: Nivhek, “After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house”

 


Portland-based musician Liz Harris, best known for her work as Grouper, is perhaps most celebrated for her ability to draw deeply affecting emotional landscapes from haunting, minimal composition. Her 2008 LP, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, was a deft but typically understated combination of drone music and folk that, in retrospect, constitutes a landmark release for those respective scenes. By the time she had released 2014’s equally cryptic but instantly heartbreaking Ruins, Harris had deservedly found a broader audience beyond DIY communities, laying unexpected—and deserved—claim to one of the genre’s most powerful break-up albums.  Continue reading

Big Ups: Wicca Phase Springs Eternal Picks His Bandcamp Favorites

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal

Photo by George Douglas Peterson

Adam Mcllwee has spent the past decade, plus change, trafficking heart-songs—a job he’s damn well good at.

As the co-founder and co-frontman of beloved Pennsylvania emo outfit Tigers Jaw, the singer and guitarist played an instrumental role in garnering national interest in the late-aughts emo revival by galvanizing suburban ennui into catchy punk. Then, in 2013, he parted ways with the band and created Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, a mysterious “emotional trap” project formed on similarly sentimental but sonically dissimilar terms; to that end, he also founded Gothboiclique, the ragtag Los Angeles collective that fostered Lil Peep’s rise to fame. The meteoric success of the latter ensures that Mcllwee be wearing the “emo rap” label for years to come, for better or worse, but that doesn’t bother him: “People are gonna call it what they’re gonna call it,” he jokes over the phone.

For Wicca Phase Springs Eternal’s inaugural album, Suffer On, Mcllwee swaps the trunk-rattling arrangements of his past work in favor of a sparse, folk-tinged indie rock sound that recalls his Tiger Jaw days, by way of Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, and the Microphones. Its creation entailed a considerable deal of outside listening, or as Mcllwee puts it, “studying”—especially poring over Bandcamp. Here are some of his favorite releases on the site. Continue reading

The Best Albums of 2018: #40 – 21

best of 2018 40-21Let’s be honest for a second: No one clicks on these lists for the introduction. I don’t blame them! This is usually just the place where some routine throat-clearing goes, before we get to the main event. It’s also the place where I confess to the amount of anxiety involved with putting together a list like this—last year, I said, “Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available.” Guess what? That’s still true in 2018. That said, the albums that made the cut, to us, represent the breadth and scope of the many worlds available to discover on Bandcamp, and feel like the best musical summation of the last 12 months. When we make this list, we’re not only trying to assess the year’s best music, we’re also trying to tell the story of 2018, album by album, song by song. As always, being a part of Bandcamp Daily in 2018 was a true joy; we took a look at Extratone, the world’s fastest musical genre, got familiar with the New Face of Death Metal, and spent time with artists like Yugen Blakrok, Suzanne Ciani, and Kamaal Williams. Once again, the world of music is bigger than any one list can possibly contain, so consider this a starting point on the neverending journey to discovering new sounds, new scenes, and new voices. Alright, that’s enough throat-clearing. Let’s get to the list.

—J. Edward Keyes, Editorial Director

Best of 2018 Schedule:
December 10: #100 – 81
December 11: #80 – 61
December 12: #60 – 41
December 13: #40 – 21
December 14: #20 – 1

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Kranky Celebrates 25 Years of Independence—and Patient Listening

Kranky

What does it take for an independent record label to survive for a quarter-century? Joel Leoschke, the co-founder of independent stalwart Kranky, has the answer. “Well, a lot of work, of course,” he observes, “but also stubbornness, and a refusal to be sidelined or distracted from the core job of disseminating and promoting sounds we feel deserve wider attention.”

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Album of the Day: Roy Montgomery, “Suffuse”

Hating your own singing voice might be an issue for some solo artists. However, New Zealand’s Roy Montgomery has managed to create a sense of character so distinct via his droning, churning, echoing layers of guitars that the shimmering dream world he creates often sings louder than any voice could. On his latest album, Suffuse, he brings in a series of collaborators—Liz Harris of Grouper, Circuit Des Yeux’s Haley Fohr, Julianna Barwick, She Keeps Bees, Purple Pilgrims, and Katie Von Schleicher—to sing lead vocals. Continue reading

This Week’s Essential Releases: Indie Rock, Avant-Garde, Americana, and More

7 essential

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

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Album of the Day: Grouper, “Grid of Points”

Last September, Liz Harris, aka Grouper, granted a rare interview. Discussing her strong opinions about the spaces in which she chooses to perform, Harris said, “noise can be a perfect murmur in the background almost like another layer of tape hiss.” The interview, conducted by e-mail over the course of a few months, wasn’t for some big-name magazine; it’s tucked away on the blog page for Love Lion, the tape label run by Emily Elhaj (Angel OlsenImplodes). The conversation is as perfectly furtive as the music that Harris has created over the past 13 years.

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