Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 5/24/2024

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It’s our Bandcamp Picks of the Week, featuring the summery shoegaze of Blushing’s SUGARCOAT and the celebratory finishing move that is Excuse Me Who Are You?’s DOUBLE BIND!

Blushing Album Cover

Blushing – SUGARCOAT

Genre: Shoegaze, Dream Pop

Favorite Tracks: “Tamagotchi,” “Seafoam,” “Sugarcoat,” “Charms”

Austin, Texas dream rockers Blushing are the right band for this current moment of shoegaze. While the sonic pinnings of the genre have been scrambled and rearranged to become a catchall so many times as to have lost all meaning in 2024, hypnotic, gray-skied textures tend to endure. Yet, three albums in, Blushing’s sound has continued to emerge as boldly maximalist and dizzyingly fun. Songs like “Pressure” or “Control” may have put them on the map half-a-decade ago when the genre felt less immediately omnipresent, but on their latest, SUGARCOAT, the energy is fittingly vibrant—often a display of almost synthy, technicolored ‘80s mall pop by way of Cocteau Twins. That cherry-colored funk comes across in the soaring soloing of montage “Seafoam,” the sweetly echoing bounce of “Fizz,” and the end credit cooing of “Charms.”

While it’s not entirely new for Blushing to be appropriately blurring the line between dream pop and shoegaze, their previous work often featured a heavy, intentional drive to it—you can hear the cloudy pop sensibilities on a number of POSSESSIONS songs, including the deliciously lush (ha!) Miki Berenyi-assisted cut “Blame,” but the potential explosiveness remained. The listlessness of SUGARCOAT, from the drifting open of “Tamagotchi” or the quiet, astral humming of the title track, give it a fresh, sunny vibe that in its best moments captures the spirit of HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS—while most bands right now are trying to sound like Slowdive or Ride, Liz Fraser, Simon Raymonde, and Robin Guthrie’s quintessential magic has felt unattainable. Good on Blushing for, well, sugarcoating their sound, because the result is a shoegaze record that feels right in time for summer. Cop it on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

Double Bind Album Cover

Excuse Me Who Are You? – DOUBLE BIND

Genre: Emo Rock

Favorite Tracks: “Maybe That Truck Hit Me… And This Is All A Dream…,” “Double Bind,” “Let’s End All of This”

Satoshi Kon’s PERFECT BLUE is a film beloved across generations. In it, pop idol Mima Kirigoe struggles to retain her identity as she matures and switches careers, believing herself to be haunted by an “other self” with evil intentions. Its popularity amongst film buffs and anime fans alike is no fluke; in life, everyone sorts through their experiences and traits to become the person they want to be, and everyone has a side to themselves that they’d choose not to show to the world.

It’s not a surprise that the film resonates with Madison emo rockers Excuse Me Who Are You? On their debut album, DOUBLE BIND, they confront this “other self” over the course of 18 minutes while simultaneously working through the loss of a loved one and the ending of a relationship. They have some help along the way, with a feature list that makes the album feel like a celebration of DIY emo as a whole: Wisconsin artists Tiny Voices and Endswell, Montana 8-bit emo pop act hey, ily, and Tyler Stodghill of Iowa’s emo act Stars Hollow all lend their talents. Stodghill’s inclusion in particular is fitting, as Excuse Me Who Are You? have seemed to take some influence from Stars Hollow’s particular brand of mathy guitar work—a high compliment, as guitarist Stuart Benjamin’s leads are technical and impressive while being, more importantly, melodically riveting. Bassist Jackson Pertzborn’s parts will have you bouncing on the tips of your toes, while drummer Hayden Johnson plays off this virtuosity with a lively synergy. In the middle of this organized chaos, vocalist Kyle Kinney tears through confessionals with a relentless scream. All throughout there are a dozen winks for the dorks and dweebs in the listenership, from PERFECT BLUE samples and track name references to the PERSONA 5stylized album art. As Kinney and the crew take on their other selves, they invite you to take a stand yourself.

DIY emo, as a scene, is a gathering of people who wear the intensity of their feelings as a badge. DOUBLE BIND is the kind of album that reminds me what a comfort this open-heartedness can be. Rather than wallow in the misery of the self, Excuse Me Who Are You? blows it up in a PERSONA style all-out group finishing move. Looking cool, EMWAY! Check them out on Bandcamp. [Jaden Amjadi]

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