Crate Digging is Uproxx Music’s monthly exploration of the depths of DIY music distribution platform Bandcamp, in an effort to unearth some hidden gem albums that just might find their spot among your favorites.
There’s a reason that certain artists define our culture: Their work is exciting, thought-provoking, fascinating, or just flat out fun. It’s important to recognize those who have risen to the top and appreciate what it is that got them there and how they manage to stay there. At the same time, however, it’s also valuable to understand the broader musical context. There’s a lot going on beyond the chart-toppers, and sometimes, some truly great work goes underappreciated. That’s why every month, I dig through DIY music distribution platform Bandcamp and share my favorite albums that hit the service over the past few weeks.
The best Bandcamp albums from this month include some wild Cleveland-sourced psychedelic rock and a quick collection of catchy pop tunes, so check them out below.
5. Lunch Duchess — Crying for Fun
“Feminist Baroque-grunge” isn’t a band description I’ve heard before, but that’s what the Minneapolis group Lunch Duchess says they are. Turns out it means that they’re good at combining disparate elements under one umbrella. For instance, album opener “Cry Pt. 11” oscillates between rocking sections and more indie-pop-informed verses, for a product that’s more cohesive than it may seem based on that recounting. Ultimately, the album should be considered indie rock, and some solid indie rock at that.
4. MetalBlack — Illusions
Non-appreciators of metal may see the genre as a single-faceted entity, but there’s really a lot than can be done within metal. Take a look at Russian group MetalBlack, for instance. They are fine purveyors of atmospheric black metal, meaning that the genre’s signature intensity isn’t tamed, but instead complemented with more ambient and/or softer elements. For example, opening track “Rays Of Darkness” has passages that are downright serene, and parts where ringing keyboards pierce through the song’s otherwise pitch-black foundation, but things like the growled vocals are a reminder that this still metal, and it’s pretty great.
3. Teddi Gold — Vol. 1 – EP
There are a ton of exciting voices in pop music right now, which makes it more of a challenge to stand out among the crowd. Los Angeles singer Teddi Gold has managed to do it on her new EP, though, especially with “Video Games.” The song addresses a problem that many memes before it have, as Gold sings in the first verse, “Super Smash Brothers, pull my head under the covers / I was cool with you playing now and then, now Zelda has become your only friend.” A far cry from the Lana Del Rey song of the same tune, the song is instead very much about gaming, all in a jaunty and catchy pop package.
2. Victus — EP 1
It’s important to take a moment to relax during times of stress, so let Victus be your guide on that journey. The dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie rock of the California act’s debut EP is an immensely well-rounded experience, like with “Broken Hearted.” There’s a forceful-yet-hypnotic punch in the background, all of which is enveloped by ambient atmospherics and big The Unforgettable Fire-style guitars. The EP is a comforting experience, and when Victus describes himself as making “chillllllll out music,” he probably could have added a few more L’s and remained accurate.
1. Zip-Zapp! — Zip-Zapp!
Psychedelic rock has a rich history, whether we’re talking about the original purveyors of the genre or contemporary acts who carry a similar torch. Cleveland’s Zip-Zapp! show tremendous comfort with the many moods of psych, which is perhaps best exemplified on lead single “Ronald Raygun.” The track begins with a flash bang of frenetic energy before settling into a number of different grooves, heading in a lot of different directions over the course of five-plus minutes. Zip-Zapp! is a group that can explore the psychedelic vastness without getting lost in it, which makes for an album that’s easy to get lost in yourself.