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 very alternative pop from Devin Finch and a live performance electronic record from Jeremy Blake, so check them out below.
5. Minor Poet — The Good News
If it takes a brave man to slip a doo-wop section into a 2019 indie rock album opener, then Andrew Carter is as courageous as they come. That moment actually fits really well into “Tabula Rasa,” and it sets the precedent of Minor Poet playing with genres without losing a clear focus. “Bit Your Tongue / All Alone Now” features Casiotone keyboards and big rock solos in the same song, while “Nude Descending Staircase” caps off the album with airy indie rock with a big saxophone solo finish.
4. Kurt Travis — There’s A Place I Want To Take You
Sacramento indie rocker Kurt Travis proves on his latest effort that when it comes to catchy indie rock, he knows exactly what he’s doing. This is best exemplified by album highlight “Easy Peasy,” which has so many earworm parts to latch onto, whether it’s that guitar line, the harmonized backing vocals, or Travis’ big hooks. He’s a compelling vocalist and an even more fascinating songwriter, and one to keep an eye on.
3. Mini Trees — Steady Me
LA musician Lexi Vega has focused most of her efforts on drumming for others in recent years, but when she decided to move to the front of the stage as Mini Trees, it was a successful transition. Her new album is delightful alternative indie pop/rock inspired by dream pop and shoegaze, meaning that she keeps things in a relaxed but interesting space. She hits a variety of moods, too, like on the sunny title track or the more reverb-drenched “Thinking Of.”
2. Jeremy Blake — Soft Music To Do Nothing To
This album sounds great not knowing that it was all performed live, but once you have that information, it becomes even more impressive. Blake creates full and enveloping environments using a handful of analog and digital tools, and he’s a master of his craft. The album is often an ambient electronic space, like on the album-opening “Skimming,” but he mixes things up as well, like on the track immediately after that one, “Darkplace,” which is what it sounds like.
1. Devin Finch — Self-Titled
If you don’t love this one on first listen, that wouldn’t be terribly surprising. If it manages to click for you, though, it’s a fascinating experience. Devin Finch of Houston “electronic trash pop” duo Adultry Kidding incorporates influences from hip-hop, drum’n’bass, trip-hop, electronic, and yes, even pop, all to make loud music that demands to be played loudly. It’s a record best experienced with headphones, and one of the most weirdly alluring releases of the year so far.