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.
August was a big month for new music, with fresh releases from Ariana Grande, Interpol, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, and others. If you haven’t already, go and get caught up on those so you know what’s going on when the year-end lists start to pop up on a few months. Once you’re done with that, try broadening your horizons some with records that everybody isn’t talking about. Below, I’ve rounded up my favorite low-key releases that were released on Bandcamp, so give ’em a whirl and maybe you’ll really dig one (or all) of them.
5. Slothpaw — Sleep In
The cover art of a person in hazy bedroom is appropriate, because Sleep In makes you want to do just that, with its psychedelic, stoner atmospherics that earn those descriptors without being reductive. At the same time, there’s a deceptive energy here, like in the middle section of “Slothman Learns Division.”
4. Berkeley Arms — A Few Lagoons
Lo-fi isn’t easy to pull off; It’s usually either too low of a fi, or the aesthetic is just off. Berkeley Arms strikes the balance, though, with a new album that has intimate warmth, appropriate reverb, and a dreamlike quality in songs that actually go somewhere, like the highlight “Beach Bunker.”
3. Curling — Definitely Band
Curling boasts that they took a different approach to recording every song on their new album, and the result is indeed a diverse record. For example, there’s the emo-pop of album opener “Still Green,” the slowcore “Evaporation,” and the summery garage pop of “Love Song.”
2. Chiller — Chiller EP
Chiller is basically designed for the attention-deficit smartphone generation: The latest from the Pittsburgh group has six tracks and even fewer minutes of run time. They don’t have much time, and they don’t waste any of it, launching into energetic riffs at breakneck speed that pack a lot of intensity into songs that are often under a minute long.
1. Ultra Beauty — S/T
If Washington DC was trying to find its answer to Parquet Courts, it may have just that with Ultra Beauty. Both groups channel a jaunty alternative energy that’s as catchy as it is off-kilter. The highlight here is “Get Pure,” a punchy indie rocker that spends its latter half swimming in a Warpaint-like groove.