Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 10/2/20

0

Dolly Valentine

Dolly Valentine – HOW TO BE GOOD

Genre: Pop Folk, Country

Favorite Tracks: “How To Be Good,” “Love Is Love,” “The Time Will Come”

It’s warming to begin to see the zoned-out pop country of GOLDEN HOUR or even Maggie Rogers’ early work trickle down effectively in the indie sphere, especially since its place in the larger pop culture already feels strange (see: Taylor Swift’s LOVER). Musicians Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti have transitioned their creative pursuits as Holy Golden into a new artist, Dolly Valentine, but the thesis for their previous band still stands on Valentine’s debut, HOW TO BE GOOD: “Blend euphoric dream-pop and ’90s alternative to create a style that evokes Dolly Parton backed by The xx.” Dolly Valentine is a country-first project, even if its aching guitars and blissful crooning is caked in more prominent cloudbusting indie pop overtones—the xx might go too far, but there’s an understated atmospheric whine that elevates the album beyond just conventional country. These are simple folk songs with titles like “Flowers on the Highway” or “Stupid Love Song,” and the haloing, spaced-out undertone of the production allow Valentine to exist very intentionally someplace between conventional pop country and establishment indie pop, a space Schott and Valenti never quite occupied consistently with Holy Golden. “How To Be Good” and “Stupid Love Song” especially pule with satisfying pop hooks, the kind of songwriting that quite frankly would suit Kacey Musgraves just fine post-GOLDEN HOUR, yet it’s still an album with a great Field Medic duet that was produced by Sarah Tudzin (Illuminati Hotties) and features Tim Keen (Ought) on drums; even if it escapes those indie bona fides for a moment on whistling ballads like “Stay Awhile” or stripped-down closer “These Lips Are Mine,” it always returns back to a satisfying middle ground. It makes sense that in order to embrace Dolly Parton’s influence truly, you have to simply make your own Dolly, and Valentine’s songs might not land with the seismic weight of Parton’s, but they feature an immediate ease and pleasantness that Schott and Valenti should be really proud of given they’re literally asking for the comparison. You can check out HOW TO BE GOOD over on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

[CJ Simonson]

Wax Chattels Cover

Wax Chattels – CLOT

Genre: Post Punk, Hardcore, Math

Favorite tracks: “Glue,” “Cede,” “Mindfulness,” “No Ties,” “Forever Married”

One of my favorite DIY shows I’ve ever been to was Wax Chattels live at the Bay Area house venue Oakland Secret. Tipped off about the show by Captured Tracks, I walked into the mostly deserted venue alone, bottle of dirt cheap Livingston white wine in hand. Following the creepy ambience cast by synth poppers Small Crimes, the Auckland, New Zealand trio took the stage for a set of brutal, Lightning Bolt-y whiplash post-punk. With their crisp, tucked-in shirts and low top Doc Martens, Wax Chattels projected the twee look of Captured Tracks labelmates like Mourn and Drahla. But with its music school technicality and pissed-the-hell-off key-mashing, the set’s foul attitude and flaming energy was more akin to California art metal staples like Nuvolascura and Deafheaven. 

Wax Chattels’ sophomore album is somehow even more brutal than their self-titled debut. While the band has never been afraid to kick on the overdrive pedal, their early work had the rough-hemmed edges of down-under staples like The Clean or The Bats. Their latest offering, CLOT, eschews the Flying Nun Records influence entirely and embraces the no wave sonics of Swans or Glenn Branca. The sun-in-your-eyes treble and dextrous blast beats of album opener “Glue” give way to 37 minutes of edge-of-your-seat rock music. Much like LA psych rock cowboys Prettiest Eyes, Wax Chattels somehow manage to melt faces twice as hard as their peers by using a keyboard instead of a guitar. The Taiwanese screams and crushed synth organ on “Cede” sound like how I would imagine it would feel to be a computer with a glass of water poured on it, and the high-octane crush of “Mindfulness” feels like the visceral joy of repeatedly bashing your head against a concrete wall. The record’s best moment, however, comes on the lead single “No Ties,” which marries Zach Hill-style drumming with the sweat-drenched big boy energy of post-genre punk acts like Protomartyr or Lithics. With lyrics about the difficulties of growing up as a first generation immigrant, the track manages to be one of the act’s most compelling songs to date, while also being one of their most engaging. As dissonance and chaos come back into vogue, Wax Chattels strike a commendable and approachable balance between wide-eyed terror and catwalk chic. Purchase CLOT on Bandcamp today. [Ted Davis]

Label Maker: Fire Talk

Previous article

Dime in the JQBX Featuring Zoon, Keep, topographies, and Condor Express

Next article

Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *