Let’s talk a bit about “latent inhibition,” which is “how our observation of a familiar stimulus (e.g. something we see, hear, smell, feel or taste that we’ve had before) takes longer to acquire meaning than a new stimulus.” Basically, it means that our brains remember things they’ve experienced before, so it’s not like we’re experiencing them for the first time every time. This makes our lives easier to manage, and in terms of being a music fan, it means that music we already know (or music like it) is more comfortable.
But let’s leave our comfort zone. Most of this week’s Bandcamping picks walk more on the experimental side, but they’re also familiar enough where they won’t seem totally alien. Bottom line: They’re good, and it might take a bit more effort to get into them, but your future latent inhibition will thank you.
5. Sway EP by Toneaffair
Genre: electronic, house
If you like: deadmau5, Chromatics, Bad Company
This is what a solid headphone electronic record should be: consistent in rhythm, and engaging enough to notice but minimal enough to dissolve into the background. These four bass-heavy, 7-minute tracks are great for setting a mood, especially late at night when you’re restless and only have the energy to bob your head.
4. Put the Sun by Yellow Jacket Avenger
Genre: indie rock, alternative, experimental
If you like: Car Seat Headrest, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie
There are plenty of throwback-sounding bands, but it seems Yellow Jacket Avenger has hit a vein that most of them can’t find. He’s contemporary but vintage, which is not a rare feat in itself, but its target seems to be some sort of experimental look at ’80s “dad rock” that nobody else is really doing. Plus, have a killer sax solo on the album (in “On The Lam”) and I’m on board almost automatically.
3. Currents by Kult Eviction
Genre: indie rock, electronic
If you like: The xx, The Cure
It’s long been a belief of mine that female vocals are better suited than male vocals for airy, atmospheric, electronic-influenced indie rock. This might be a deep-seeded love for The xx talking, but regardless, the featured singers on Kult Eviction’s EP absolutely nail it (and we love you too, Harry Woulds).
2. Look Look by TUFT
Genre: indie rock
If you like: Yeasayer, Band of Horses, Sufjan Stevens
Emerging as an indie rock band today is kind of like being a single piece of hay in a haystack: You’re there and you might matter a little bit, but it’s hard to stand out. Tuft is clawing their way out of the stack, though, with their sound that’s familiar because it incorporates ideas from bands you already know and love, but that’s its own because they do it with a grace and comfort that only a good, stable band can.
1. VAS by VAS
Genre: indie rock, R&B, alternative
If you like: Frank Ocean, Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons
Lymbyc Systym’s Jared Bell once told me, “If you’re a band that’s within a genre that you didn’t create, it’s like, what does it even mean?” Just when it seems like VAS is doing one thing, the Memphis-based group turns around and subverts every expectation. It’s rock, it’s pop, it’s R&B, it’s hip-hop, it’s electronic… It’s VAS, and it means something.
And now for a couple records that we also liked:
Chris Renzema & the New Nature Choir by Chris Renzema & the New Nature Choir
Genre: indie folk, Christian
If you like: Mumford & Sons, Hillsong United
Technicolor by The Commercials
Genre: indie rock, blues, doo-wop
If you like: The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Ariel Pink
That’s all for now, but until next week, let us know in the comments which albums were your favorites, what we missed, and what we should look forward to. If you missed out on last week’s list, you can find it here (and the complete Bandcamping archives are here).