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 under-appreciated. 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 a pair of examples of how to do harder rock, and some material on the opposite end of the spectrum, so check them out below.
X.Y. Spaces — Thanks
Harder rock-based genres can be traps for aggression without anything behind them, but Alabama group X.Y. Spaces work intrigue into the wall of force that is their newest release. Album opener “Thanks,” for example, features some Black Sabbath-ian guitar tones mixed with a touch of Rage Against The Machine and punishing post-hardcore. It doesn’t sound like a reinvention of the wheel, and it’s not, but there are some affected and perhaps not-so-obvious elements placed together for a terrific output.
Sally Haze — Dining Room EP
Chicago indie rocker Sally Hunt has dropped her first EP, and it’s brimming with lo-fi indie-rock potential. “Waiting” is like a bedroom post-punk version of The War On Drugs, while the more languid “A Swim In The Sun” is more in the vein of Beach House. The seeds of something really good are here, so it will be worth keeping tabs on Hunt and seeing what comes of it.
Casey Golden — II
Casey Golden is a master of mellow. Golden sings with a gentle and airy androgyny (in a similar territory as Silversun Pickups’ Brian Aubert, but used differently), the kind of voice that doesn’t come around that often, but is delightful when it does. His voice pairs beautifully with the alt-country and delicate folk tunes on his latest effort, a rewarding listen, especially so for listeners looking to unwind and enjoy a calm moment or two.
(As of this post, the full album does not seem to be available on Bandcamp, but it is streaming on Spotify.)
Relick — Lotta Noise
A host of premiere musical talent has come out of Texas in recent years, and now Relick are a firm part of that list. On the duo’s latest album, they show off their comfort in a variety of indie-rock environments, like on the thumping psychedelic rock on album opener “Powder Pink” and the dreamy alt-country ballad “Who I Am With You.” Amber Nicholson and Matt Hibbard wrote and produced the album, and there’s a lot of polish on both of those fronts.
Captain Cat — Pure Obedience
German group Captain Cat are enigmatic, able to switch between genres in a single song and not letting the seams show. Album opener “Dankwart,” for example, starts off sounding like surfy garage-pop with a post-punk rhythm before morphing into emo-influenced math-rock, then ultimately bringing all that together in the song’s final section. There are pleasant surprises like that all over this dense four-song effort, so repeat listens are rewarding.