This article previously appeared on Crossfader
Bandcamp Picks of the Week, as large and in charge as ever
(Sandy) Alex G – TRICK
Genre: Lo-Fi Indie, Singer/Songwriter
Favorite Tracks: “Change,” “Mary,” “Sarah,” “Kute,” “Forever,” “Animals”
(Sandy) Alex G has become an indisputable posterboy for the importance of the Bandcamp platform, owing his newly found mainstream success to the website, demonstrated by his accompaniment on Frank Ocean’s most recent tour and the mass appeal of his newest project, ROCKET. But he first came to my attention on his 2015 album, TRICK, a deliciously lo-fi collection of indie rock and folk-tinged tracks. Upon first listen, I was not instantly sold on TRICK’s standout nature until I fell upon one of the tracks featured on the tail end of the album, “Change.” Alex G forgoes the reverb-heavy guitars and instrumentation that is present on the rest of the record, instead picking up the mantle of an acoustically driven singer-songwriter track. He sings in the upper limits of his voice surprisingly well, delivering a collection of nostalgically sorrowful lyrics: “Remember when we took too much / I didn’t mind being your crutch / We loved you then/ It’s not the same / I don’t like how things change.” CHANGE has unofficially become a go-to “breakup” track for many I know, a testament to his success on creating a melancholy-fueled, heart-tugger of a piece. Another of TRICK’s standout tracks is “Sarah.” Like a handful of cuts from the album, Alex G sings from an almost antagonistic perspective towards the song’s titular character, intoning, “Every day / I’ll make promises that play / On Sarah’s heart / So I can watch her fall apart.” This subtly malicious side of Alex G’s songs set him apart from the droves of extremely saccharine bedroom artists that are a dime-a-dozen on Bandcamp. This touch of villainy notably contrasts with his cozy instrumentation, making it all the more memorable. Despite his newfound popularity, I still find myself returning to TRICK over Alex G’s more recent projects—it serves as an important piece within the story of Alex G’s success story as well as an undeniably unique collection of laid back, bedroom-woven tunes.
rAHHH – ONES
Favorite Tracks: “Ones,” “Clouds”
Much like the album cover adorning rAHHH’s ONES, the dancehall-inspired electronic beats are fluid and watery, with an undeniable groove to them. The synth-heavy leads, as seen on the titular track, “Ones,” almost feel inspired by lo-fi hip-hop considering their relaxed nature, but never cross into muzak territory due to the Latin-derived drum work, which give it a peppy and vastly engaging energy. Instrumentally there seems to be influence from bands such as Whitest Boy Alive, and in a way, rAHHH serves as the instrumentally-driven counterpart. This can be seen on the track “Ends,” which begins with a buttery smooth bass lead that’s constantly prodded forward by a driving drum beat and a wandering piano. In addition, the track is heavily complemented by a subtle rainforest sample, setting the scene for a comfy and rainy Sunday afternoon. rAHHH isn’t afraid to indulge in synthesizers, such as on the track “Lexus Riddim,” which features wobbly synths that are reminiscent of early 2000s-era video games. The drum work is constructed in such a way that it seems acoustic in nature, creating a nice contrast to the electronic artifice on display, and is further enforced by the same concise bass work which dominates most of the EP’s short runtime. rAHHH’s ONES is a funky and relaxing dive into the world of dancehall through the lens of the internet, creating a new genre with roots established in the old.