Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 9/24/20

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Bandcamp Picks for the week of 9/24/20, featuring Teenage Halloween and waveform*!

Teenage Halloween Cover

Teenage Halloween – S/T

Genre: Punk, Power Pop

Favorite Tracks: “Stationary,” “SMH City,” “Clarity,” “Racehorse”

Teenage Halloween simply aren’t fucking around. The Asbury Park punk rockers’ sitcom length self-titled debut has a demanding, furious sense of immediacy to what is being said, and flies like a bat out of Hell to tell you. The 10 songs contain a bombardment of dizzying yet surgical barbs, explosive punk rock with heady hooks and smart songwriting. “Cordially excited for the draft to fucking happen,” Luke Henderiks yells as the melodic intro of “SMH City” quickly disapates, giving way to the witty bomb “and its self-sabotage to be all amongst men.” “We’ll just countdown the hours / and the pain just devours / abusing your power / marry me in a casket with flowers,” they howl later on the twinkly “Summer Money.” Henderiks’ songwriting and delivery recalls the the radicalized-yet-playful intensity of artists like Patrick Stickles, Jeff Rosenstock, or Laura Jane Grace, a middle ground between scuzzy, burnout pop punk and burn-it-all-down hardcore that satisfyingly lands with joyful passion. So much of 2020 has required each and every one of us to follow up collective mourning and anger with the positive reinforcement that a better world IS possible, that we all deserve better. TEENAGE HALLOWEEN is 23 minutes of feeling those highs and lows. The sentiment lands with gusto on rallying cry “Figwit,” where Henderiks cries “I am starving / for a world without ridicule / dreaming of a safer life” before driving the whole point home on a chorus that urges us all to get to work: “try hard, wake up, that’s all you can do.” It’s among the year’s best debut albums and contains some small sliver of hope, which feels essential. You can grab a copy of TEENAGE HALLOWEEN on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

waveform* album cover

waveform* – LAST ROOM

Genre: Alternative, Shoegaze

Favorite Tracks: “Tell You,” “Go to Bed,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Shooting Star,” “Spill,” “Blue Disaster”

With varied degrees of blurry imagery, vague presence, and rain-soaked sonics, Connecticut duo waveform* have proven that their albums only make as much sense as their covers. The duo’s 2018 debut LIBRARY featured a fuzzy lamp as its visage, and contained 24 minutes of inexplicable samples, detuned pianos, and pre-SUNG TONGS Animal Collective-y guitar strums. With their sophomore album SHOOTING STAR, a clearer picture came into view while melodies and structures began to peek through the band’s clearly thrifty production quality. On their latest, LAST ROOM, Jarett Denner and Dan Poppa present fans with a polished and memorable record whose lyrics and arrangements are as palpable as the dimly lit dining room on its cover. Evoking Gleemer more than it does early Alex G, they melodically pull from mid-aughts emo pop and dreamy distortion to present soundscapes that evoke the creepiness of a haunted New England forest or an abandoned carnival site. For the most part, waveform*’s previous music somehow sat comfortably alongside the work of like-minded artists like Milly and They Are Gutting A Body Of Water despite a reliance on light dynamics and a folky instrumental palette. On LAST ROOM, waveform* amp up the energy on tracks like “Shooting Star” and “Tell You.” Where their prior releases were akin to Dead Sullivan and split-album-collaborators Melaina Kol, LAST ROOM’s crashing cymbals and overdriven electric guitars recall the golden ages of DIIV and Silversun Pickups. Even the record’s lowest energy tracks “Go to Bed” and “Last Room” feel more intentional in their ambience, as acoustic guitars that would have once been drenched in bleary murk showcase newfound crystalline fidelity. As slowcore canonizes itself as indie rock’s next meme, waveform*’s artistic development proves that they are worth more than just a spot on the alex g iMpOsTeRs! Spotify playlist. Go check it out over on Bandcamp. [Ted Davis]

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