Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 6/10/20

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Bandcamp Picks of the Week is back and better than ever

Bandcamp Picks Lamp

Lamp / The Bilinda Butchers – BLUE / GIRLFRIEND SPLIT

Genre: Indie Pop

Favorite Tracks: N/A

In need of some soothing vibes last night, I hit YouTube with the ol’ “Japanese City Pop compilation” search. After the standard run of “Plastic Love”s and Casiopea and MEMORIES IN BEACH HOUSE, however, I was sent the way of BLUE / GIRLFRIEND, a split from previously unheard-of Japanese underground icons Lamp and The Bilinda Butchers, who I’ve been passingly familiar with through their work on Meishi Smile’s Zoom Lens label. A match made in Heaven, the YouTube algorithm can rest easy knowing it served the purpose purported on the tin (for once). Lamp’s side of things immediately arrests the attention, “Blue” kicking off with bright, popping keyboard notes that sound like they waltzed off of Light in the Attic’s famous City Pop compilation, dream pop production sensibility, and a guitar riff that would have fit right in on American Football’s LP2. From there the track entirely delivers on the proof of concept, with the joint vocals from Kaori Sakakibara and Yusuke Nagai delicately intersecting and informing the presence of the other, Yusuke’s comfortably sturdy alto lightly accented with Kaori’s lilting reveries. Picking up steam as it moves along, the most impressive part ends up being the steadfast jazz pop sensibilities that work their way into the mix, the end sounding like a ‘90s fusion effort you wouldn’t have guessed from the more wide-eyed stargazing suggested at the top. “Girlfriend” from The Bilinda Butchers is certainly no slouch either, a nostalgia-drenched ode to a, well, girlfriend, at the precipice of a relationship potentially splitting apart due to distance; it’s left up to the listener to determine whether it’s physical or emotional. Butchers’ earlier shoegaze influence is largely left by the wayside here, the guitar lines just as loping and rose-colored, but with a clear and biting twang that evokes less gothic cuts from The Cure, Beach House, and Sweet Trip in equal measure. Grounded by a light chillwave production backbone and some sweetly earnest musings that’ll have anyone recalling the high school years (“Me and you were friends the day you said that band everyone thought was gay really meant the world to you”), it’s the perfect follow-up to “Blue” and firmly establishes BLUE / GIRLFRIEND as a one-two punch of a split. Listen to “Blue” here and “Girlfriend” here. [Thomas Seraydarian]

Bandcamp Picks Penrose

Various Artists – PENROSE RECORDS VOL. 1

Genre: Soul, Funk, Doo-Wop

Favorite Tracks: N/A

Daptone Records have long been a powerful purveyor of nostalgia, highlighting artists whose music perfectly captures far-off eras of funk, soul, and R&B; mainstays like Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, and Lee Fields were synonymous with a vintage sound that Daptone would go on to turn into a cottage industry for the last 20 years. And while the label has often hitched its wagon to artists who lived through those distant musical memories, the label’s new imprint, Penrose Records, looks to turn an eye to younger, emerging talent. With a mission to mostly focus on Southern California, where Daptone co-founder Bosco Mann’s studio is located, the first released series of singles are a true treat, a time capsule of soul cuts so fresh you would assume they were unearthed by Light in the Attic rather than young, exciting new talent. It’s a delightful mix of manufactured nostalgia, the flourished doo wop crooning of Los Yesterdays finding a perfect home next to the rhythmic dub bounce of The Altons or the casual ballading of Thee Sinseers. Throw in some smokey lounge R&B from Thee Sacred Souls and two dynamic looks from Jason Joshua (the brassy, urgently trilling waver of “Language of Love” is a peak on the compilation) and you have an instantly satisfying sampler of some of music’s most exciting modern soul. Flag some of these artists, because if the larger Daptone co-sign means anything, they’re a younger generation’s next Sharon Jones or Charles Bradley. Grab a copy of PENROSE RECORDS VOL. 1 on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

Music Roundup 6/9/20

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