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 the latest from an unconventional Australian rapper and some experimental indie from North Carolina, so check them out below.
Dylan Ryan — We Disappear
The Los Angeles musician has some indie rock pedigree, as he counts acts like Cursive among his past collaborators. Ultimately, if you want rock, Dylan Ryan has got it, and in a number of ways. There’s the anthemic “Days Of Heaven,” the slowcore-leaning “Subtle Negotiations,” and the frenetic punk of “Santa Clara.”
Artemisia — Sweet Touch
Over the past few years, pop has gone in multiple new directions, and Montreal musician Sara Shields-Rivard has proven that she has a strong handle on most of them. The title track is a fine example of bass-heavy, Billie Eilish-style pop, while she sounds like a more hip-hop-indebted Lana Del Rey on “Never.”
3. Every Branch — Every Branch
Every Branch pulls out all the stops when it comes to producing dynamic, anthemic rock, and it works here to great effect. Album opener “Barb” kicks off with big drums before giving way to a huge, guitar-heavy hook that falls somewhere between Manchester Orchestra and Liam Gallagher. The group realizes the importance of loud and quiet moments contrasting and emphasizing each other, and they navigate that masterfully over the record’s six tracks.
2. Simo Soo — Pink Metal
Simo Soo is making waves in Australia, and it’s about time for the rapper to get some love elsewhere as well. He is especially viable now, in a time when rappers are free to get as experimental as ever. He’s certainly trying things: His music has shades of Death Grips and 100 Gecs, and the combination of genuinely catchy hip-hop and head-scratching sounds makes for an enveloping listen.
1. Maker Of The Bear — Lost In The Fever
Indie rock is a genre that’s full of risk-takers, so it’s hard to stand out as an innovator. You can’t say that North Carolina’s Maker Of The Bear aren’t pushing boundaries, though. “Day Breaks In” is led by piano and vintage U2-style guitar tones before booming drums take over in the track’s second half, while “Ghost In The Shade” starts in a near-ambient mode before shifting into a distortion-heavy post-rock climax. Maker Of The Bear are bringing fresh ideas to the table and executing on them tremendously, and that’s something not many bands can say.