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 Palms, Reptaliens, and more, so check them out below.
5. Terre Battre — TB2
French artist Terre Battre’s music is hard to categorize, but they’re doing some interesting things on TB2. The electronic-leaning release kicks off with “Parchemin,” a Phoenix-like instrumental, then transitions into “Dans le visible,” a dose of ambient spoken word/hip-hop. Terre Battre deserves credit for not avoiding risk. TB2 an album that might not grab you right away, but it’s definitely one that deserves some thought.
4. Thomas Thomas — Thomas Thomas
Calgary four-piece Thomas Thomas have achieved a balance between garage rock and ’50s pop, combining a bit of the guitar sensibilities of the former with the melodies of the latter. That’s evidenced on songs like “Gracious Host,” which has a bit of a tough edge around its catchy sing-along hooks. Importantly, it’s music that sounds like it would be a hoot live, which is key for any emerging band.
3. Zoo Animal — Naive Enough
The latest from Minneapolis’s Zoo Animal is only a three-song effort, but all three tracks are super strong. It begins with the title track, which is punchier that most of its folk contemporaries. From there, the release gets into “1986 Model,” which features gentle indie rock with a whisper of grunge, and it closes with the Neil Young-lite alt-country of “Soon.”
2. Reptaliens — VALIS
Music has always borrowed from its forefathers, and it succeeds when it can put a contemporary spin on familiar sounds. That’s what the Portland indie pop band Reptaliens have done here, as they’ve taken moods from the ’60s. They deliver breezy, Real Estate-informed pop rock on “Venetian Blinds,” and they give the listener room to breathe and reflect on songs like the wide open “Baby Come Home.”
1. The Palms — Televised Daydream
On the new project from the Los Angeles group, they show they know what it takes for indie pop/rock to work in 2019: It’s punchy, it’s well-produced, and it’s catchy. The album kicks off with the single “Maybe Tomorrow,” which has verses you can groove to, some dense production, and a catchy hook to sing along with. The rest of the record lives up to its intro, and brings in some new elements to the table, probably more so than you’d expect out of most six-track efforts. (Also, if you’re in California, they might be playing near you very soon.)