Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 7/6/2023


It’s our Bandcamp Picks of the Week, featuring Shady Bug’s winding up noise rock EP WHAT’S THE USE? and Gabbo’s wide breadth country twinged album CORN!

CORN album cover

Gabbo – CORN

Genre: Alt Country, Folktronica

Favorite Tracks: “To the country,” “Corn,” “Birthday”

Throughout their full-length debut, CORN, Gabbo’s beautifully layered vocals and twangy acoustic guitar lines present a psychedelic approach to mixing a product much greater than the sum of its parts. Despite a short run time of 27-minutes, their new record feels somewhat all-encompassing. Across nine tracks, CORN flows freely between expressions of indignation, nostalgia, and aimlessness. One of the most memorable lyrics from the title track, “I will wear my Mitski shirt like body armor,” hints at the album’s larger attempt to examine the ways in which we struggle to protect ourselves from an often harsh and unforgiving world.

The longest track on the record, “To the country,” finds resonance in a particular kind of lonesome vulnerability. The opening line of the song is one of the only on the album where Gabbo’s vocals aren’t layered. Having learned the language of the album, this production decision is as disarming and vulnerable as the lyric itself: “If you must know I blamed myself for such a long time.” The guitar is flat and Gabbo is alone with these emotions. As they progress the ambient noise builds, the vocals swell, and there is a new type of confidence pulsing through the vocalizations. However, there is no higher meaning or mantra to look to at the end of that journey. Rather, the record continually finds this earth-shattering catharsis in the most mundane: “I go to work and drive back home and really that’s it.”

The album often juxtaposes catharsis with the monotony of lived experience, and in doing so leaves the listener with an elevated sense of urgency and meaning in regard to the small details that make up one’s life. Gabbo’s debut, quite aptly named, feels like shucking an ear of corn: peeling back layer after layer to reveal the most vulnerable but astounding part of who they are. Find it on Bandcamp. [Zach Troyanovsky]

Shady Bug EP Cover

Shady Bug – WHAT’S THE USE?

Genre: Noise Pop

Favorite Tracks: “popsicle,” “lizard”

Shady Bug’s topsy-turvy melodies bend with a colorful cartoon logic. Each track on the Saint Louis band’s latest EP, WHAT’S THE USE?, fuses spacious, dog legged melodies with moments of explosive catharsis. The thick pitter patter of the rhythm section anchors the wind up guitar tones and Hannah Rainey’s narrow deadpanned delivery with those latter components shifting in and out of black and white and technicolor with hypnotic visual intensity. The mix moves between spacious, compact lo fi rock to fat, noisy, messy choruses and solos effortlessly. It takes no more than a cursory listen to flag that the band’s greatest strength is their ability to speed up and slow down—literally or figuratively— without losing any of the exaggerated vigor.

The highlight, a six and a half minute closer entitled “lizard,” finds the band using the extended time to perfectly detail all of this in a step-by-step fashion, with plodding, funky street strutting rhythms laying a base for sharp, trim guitar soloing and huge noise rock punctuation. The build from one moment to the next is more obvious (and in some ways satisfying) than elsewhere on the EP; “lizard” showcases on easy mode what the rest of the EP is doing at a high level, and being able to hear the musicianship stretched out pays massive dividends, particularly as a closer. You can check out the EP over on Exploding in Sound’s Bandcamp! [CJ Simonson]

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 6/29/2023

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