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.
Bandcamp’s status as an indie incubator isn’t much of a secret, as acts like Car Seat Headrest and Soccer Mommy have built fan bases on the site and parlayed it into something greater. With a platform as accessible as this, though, there’s going to be a great volume of new music hitting the site on the regular, so there are bound to be artists who don’t get as much shine as they might deserve.
Boy, somebody should really go through those albums and find the hidden gems… hey, I’ll do it! I dove into Bandcamp’s murky depths to see what on the site was worth listening to this month, and it turns out that there were plenty of great sounds to go around. With that in mind, now seems like a good time to step checking Kanye West’s Twitter for a minute and see what else is happening in the big wide world of music, so let’s!
5. Martin A. Nilsen — Friendly Fire
You can’t just layer some reverb-saturated synths on top of each other and call it ambient music. Well, you can, but it probably won’t be that good. There’s finesse to it, to finding the right textures and musical ideas to have floating among each other to form something coherent and interesting in a genre that is often neither. Norwegian musician Martin A. Nilsen gets it: Tracks like “Dreamstate” feel like they’re going somewhere without being too jostling, which is characteristic of Friendly Fire, an album that doesn’t sacrifice musicality for minimalism.
4. Ed Reed — These Aren’t the Joys You’re Looking For…
Courtney Barnett has established herself as a premier slacker rocker over the past few years, and now fellow Australian countryman Ed Reed is stepping up to flesh out the Aussie relaxed vibe army. On his new EP, he embraces ’90s-influenced shoegaze sounds while incorporating folky psychedelic sounds like those of Kurt Vile. What results is tracks like EP opener “It’s Gone South (I’m Outta Here),” an infinitely chilled out number that builds and swells into a swirl of guitar, organ, and airy vocals over the course of five blissed-out minutes.
3. Launder — Pink Cloud
There’s some legit indie rock pedigree here to draw you in: John Cudlip’s new Launder EP features guitar from Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV and production by Day Wave’s Jackson Phillips. Based on those collaborators, it’s right to expect jangly and atmospheric indie rock, and that’s precisely what’s happening here. EP opener “Wonder” lulls you into a relaxed state with its walls of distorted guitar, which is well served over the rest of the EP which satisfyingly falls into a similar groove.
2. TVRQUOISE — 99¢ Dreams
You’re just asking for unfair Chvrches comparisons by using “v” as a vowel in your artist name, and while TVRQUOISE doesn’t tread the same creative grounds as the Scottish group, there are some similarities. Most key is that both make interesting pop that’s just left of the mainstream, although TVRQUOISE is more indebted to dream pop and psychedelic music. The album-opening title track sets the tone, establishing an ethereal pop atmosphere, while “Island” could even pass as a modernized take on U2’s The Unforgettable Fire.
1. Feverbones — Dream Talk
Austin, Texas is well established as a creative hotbed by now, and Feverbones is a shining example of the city’s thriving music community. What Feverbones does well is keep multiple musical ideas sounding coherent under one umbrella. Dream Talk has reverb-heavy indie rock on album opener “It’s Hard to Look Away,” slightly garage-y surf rock on “Sight Inside,” and Phish-like jazzy explorations on “Rules.” It’s an album with a lot going, and it takes a strong and exciting band to manage all of this without losing focus.