Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 5/28/20


Bandcamp Picks of the Week is back and better than ever

Bandcamp Picks Blind Equation

Blind Equation – BORN TO DIE

Genre: Grindcore, Chiptune

Favorite Tracks: “BORN2DIE,” “TRSHMN,” “Life IV”

Way, way back when the concept of Bandcamp Picks of the Week was but a glint in the eye of former music editor Carter Moon, the idea of the section was to introduce you to releases that you would have never heard otherwise, a veritable smorgasbord of deep-cuts and oddities that we genuinely liked or were intrigued by. And while that ethos is still going strong today, I’d really like to hone in on the concept of introducing you to something you would have never heard otherwise, as Blind Equation’s have-to-hear-to-believe combination of grindcore and chiptune ties with Strawberry Hospital’s GRAVE CHIMERA as one of the most daring and inventive entries in heavy music from the past handful of years. If any TRUE heads are reading, yes, the mid-to-late-aughts had a very brief dalliance with a blog genre known as Nintendocore, but none of those bands went quite so hard or cohesively committed to the bit to the degree that Blind Equation does. Just listen to that opening vortex of chaos and malcontent on “TRSHMN,” deliciously juxtaposed with SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD: THE GAME-esque sequencers and trackers. Indeed, what’s the most impressive about BORN TO DIE is the fact that it took me a few listens to realize that there are absolutely no guitars on this record; the various 8-bit bleeps and bloops are abused and twisted to deliver pummeling, math-y grind intensity in manners that often evoke traditional riffage itself (“BORN2DIE,” “BXE666”) while still managing to highlight the uniquely glossy aural aesthetic that chiptune provides. While previous bands tiptoeing around this style always felt like clear delineations were made between the video game elements and the heavy elements, BORN TO DIE is simply the perfect emulsion, somehow managing to be whimsical and misanthropic, nostalgic and forward-thinking, beguiling and intimidating all at the same time. Topped off with an excellent album cover, a cocaine bump of a length, and the fact that it’s sure to turn the head of anyone you show it to one way or another? You have a winner on your hands. Check it out on Bandcamp. [Thomas Seraydarian]

Bandcamp Picks India Jordan

India Jordan – FOR YOU

Genre: House, UK Garage

Favorite Tracks: “I’m Waiting (Just 4 U),” “For You,” “Dear Nan King”

There’s no denying that FOR YOU is the most fun dance release of the year thus far. Kicking off at a breakneck pace, the second EP from UK upstart India Jordan is an infectious record of house, disco, breaks, jungle, garage, and more that would’ve been a mainstay in DJ sets across the festival circuit this summer. “For You,” “Dear Nan King,” and track-of-the-year candidate “I’m Waiting (Just 4 U),” are all incredibly addicting jams, tracks that elicit the uproarious joy of the dance floor that’ll have you longing for crowded clubs more than any other 2020 release. Jordan’s latest comes just barely a year after their debut EP, DNT STP MY LV, a similarly torrid affair that favors high BPMs and a penchant for soulful sampling. 2019 also saw two more releases, the sleek, speedy WARPER and the Finn collaboration H.U.R.L./ F.U.R.L., which were capped off by an excellent outing on the Resident Advisor podcast series. The mix was littered with Jordan’s own productions and made excellent use of the 80-minute allotment, maintaining peak-hour energy from start to finish.

While FOR YOU is an EP, it could just as easily be Jordan’s debut album; it’s an intensely personal record that elevates well beyond the standard fare of most extended plays. Like Octo Octa, India Jordan builds a compelling biography of self-discovery and identity, exploring the isolating feelings of long-distance relationships and the ways society excludes marginalized communities. The ease in which Jordan blends together so many genres and inspirations into such a concise narrative is amazing; the frenetic “Dear Nan King” and the probing “Emotional Melodical” would make for an odd pairing in most artists’ hands, but at no point does this record feel anything but correct. As FOR YOU winds down to a close, Jordan lifts a vocal excerpt from a BBC adaptation of TIPPING THE VELVET, a formative novel in their life: “There’s nothing wrong with me at all.” Give it a listen on Bandcamp. [Ryan Moloney]

Music Roundup 5/27/20

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