Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 10/2/19

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Bandcamp Picks of the Week is back and better than ever

Bandcamp Picks Monster Rally

Monster Rally – ADVENTURES ON THE FLOATING ISLAND

Genre: Hip Hop Exotica

Favorite Tracks: N/A

You need not know more than what the artwork tells you when it comes to Monster Rally’s records. A dizzying collage of tropicalia, this go-around featuring a toucan front and center, Ted Feighan fuses lo-fi beats and loops to a lush beach backdrop. A barrage of muted trumpets meet our ears on the opening track, “Menagerie,” a vintage jazz sound complete with white smoking jackets with mai tais in hand, that quickly zones out to Feighan’s hypnotic beat-making. ADVENTURES ON THE FLOATING ISLAND, like other albums in the producer’s Monster Rally catalog, fuses exotica with relaxed hip hop beats to create something that is absolutely as engaging as you the listener want it to be. Undoubtedly most of Feighan’s music gets lumped in with the  “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” crowd, and justifiably so as it would make for excellent listening in that regard, but even as something more engaged the music here is complex—about as perfect a form of lounge music as one could ask for in the modern era. The jazzier tracks with more swing to them tend to be the most exciting cuts on ADVENTURES ON THE FLOATING ISLAND, from that opening track to the vibey upticking sway of “Lazy Hibiscus” to the relaxed pulse that builds out the jazz guitar of “Chica Lodge.” It’s unquestionably a record most will put on in the background to chill out to, but it’s got enough detail and charm to it that it’s worthy of more. Give Monster Rally’s latest (as well as the rest of Feighan’s equally chillaxed discography) a listen over on Bandcamp.

Bandcamp Picks Shormey

Shormey – BOOGIE TAPE, VOL 1

Genre: Bedroom Disco

Favorite Tracks: “Cruise!,” “LA”

The loss of Daniel Johnston earlier this year was a particularly rough one. His tender DIY spirit radiates everywhere in today’s music and in particular in things covered in this Bandcamp-indebted column. I was thinking about that a lot listening to Shormey’s BOOGIE TAPE, VOL 1. The kind of perfectly cobbled-together bedroom pop, where each vocal take and guitar track and drum machine loop feel both meticulously overthought and simultaneously akimbo, loosely hung one over the next to make a vibey but intentioned work. Shormey’s four-track EP is the kind of thing that owes an immeasurable amount to the scene and sound Johnston helped shape, and what a perfect contribution in 2019 it is. I imagine Shormey existing as the decade-later companion to Beach House, rather than creating introverted and gloomy dream pop choosing instead to explore dimly lit dancefloors and the neon haze of late-night bodega signs. The effect from both Beach House’s self-titled release and Shormey’s work here is surprisingly similar sonically, even if both fit their respective musical landscapes perfectly; the spry bounce of the organ in “LA” and the heavy clapping thud of the beat on “Boogie Island” have a bright sway to them while decidedly avoiding the cheery happiness of modern pop—it’s an impressive sonic line to dance and it’s pulled off tremendously. Somewhere on these four tracks is a new late-night song to dance to; get familiar with Volume 1 so you’re prepared for more DIY bedroom disco on the impending Volume 2.

CJ Simonson
CJ Simonson is Merry-Go-Round's music editor. The only thing he knows for certain is that "I Can Feel The Fire" by Ronnie Wood is the greatest closing credits song never used in a Wes Anderson movie. Get on that, Wes.

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