Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 8/15/19

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Bandcamp Picks of the Week are back and better than ever

Bandcamp Picks Happy Just

Happy Just To See You – S/T

Genre: Garage Rock, Alt Country

Favorite Tracks: “My Best Friend,” “Two Weeks Notice (Decline),” “Marbles”

The cover of Happy Just To See You’s self-titled debut finds a cowboy covering his eyes, shielding himself from something. The Boston country rockers are less concerned with what he’s avoiding and more interested why he’s avoiding it, offering a stream-of-conscious blend of cosmic country basement rock and focused storytelling that constantly exists on the edge of collapse. Evan Benoit’s exacerbated vocals on “Healthy Habits” fly at you with a degree of urgency right at the top, and the point is clear: The world is on fire, here are eight songs that quickly try to work through that fact. “Are you helping me out / or are you tearing me down?” he howls amid sliding guitars and tumbling drums, and it’s a fair question—when he later laments “I hate this brain that I’ve got / it just gets in the way / doesn’t solve much,” the paralyzing nature of being too in your own head becomes personified over crunchy, frollicing alt-country licks and feverish viola playing. The depressive episodes worked through the album (peak refrain “fall asleep on the couch again” on “At 29” is too relatable) are accompanied by a unique blend of Boston underground rock (think Vundabar) and messy cowpunk and the blend is deeply earnest and singular. Whether or not HAPPY JUST TO SEE YOU is enough to make the cowboy bring his hands away from his face is unclear, but it’s a cathartic 25-minute mind race that you feel good coming out of. Give HAPPY JUST TO SEE YOU a listen over on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

Bandcamp Picks TonyTony Molina – SONGS FROM SAN MATEO COUNTY

Genre: Power Pop

Favorite Tracks: “Can’t Find My Way,” “Don’t See the Point,” “I’m Not Down,” “Fallin’,” “Hard to Know,” “Separate Ways,” “Don’t See Me Now”

In a truly happy twist of fate, almost exactly a year ago, our beloved Music Editor CJ Simonson dished up Tony Molina’s 2018 effort KILL THE LIGHTS as a Bandcamp Pick of the Week: I guess we can officially count Tony Molina as a Favorite Artist of Merry-Go-Round Magazine, a rare and select honor few bands have received (and even fewer may appreciate). But regardless, for those lucky enough to be in the know of Molina’s streamlined capsules of bliss, SONGS FROM SAN MATEO COUNTY is a collection of unreleased and occasionally unfinished tracks from the cutting room floor that span from 2009 – 2015. Dishing out 14 songs in roughly 15 minutes, I’ve always appreciated Molina’s ear for the economical, and that’s certainly present at full-force here. Why beleaguer the point you make if it’s perfectly convincing the first time you make it? Molina’s masterful grasp on the appeal of Good Weezer’s propensity for blending earworm hooks with barely-restrained muscle and angst is truly something to behold in the era of THE TEAL ALBUM and its follow-up that shall not be named, and the fact that tracks such as “Word Around Town” and “Separate Ways” are able to contain evocative verses and some genuinely impressive guitar noodling in less than half the time it takes to heat up something in the microwave is… genius! I’d say I wish I would hear more from Molina, but the stronger flex is honestly what he’s offered here: blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hints of pop perfection that leave you wanting to experience it all again. Also, weirdly enough, but Tony Molina/Alex G collab when? Feel like they would actually make a lot of sense together. Give this a listen on Bandcamp. [Thomas Seraydarian]

Music Roundup 8/14/19

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