It’s not intentional, but for whatever reason, every week of Bandcamping seems to have at least a loose theme. This time around, it’s a push-pull relationship between the more aggressive sounds of punk and metal with the smoother vibes of dream pop and ambient-influenced music. There’s not much middle ground this week, but it can be fun when life is extreme.
Speaking of extreme, here’s an extreme segue into this week’s top 5 albums:
5. Decent Criminal by Decent Criminal
Genre: punk, indie rock, alternative rock
If you like: The Men, Against Me!, The Walkmen
The California four-piece punk group is a fine example of what the genre should be: raucous but coherent, simple but melodic, aggressive but catchy. It’s definitely a sunnier version of punk, though, perhaps like Best Coast but louder. If you happen to be in the band’s neighborhood in February and March, they’re playing a few shows in the California area.
4. The Late Ambiance Mixtape by Seeka
If you like: Aesop Rock, J. Dilla, Blackalicious
What we have here is a compilation of collaborative tracks between Australian rapper Seeka and others. Despite that, the mixtape has a cohesion that feels more like an album than a collection, and we imagine it also serves well as an introduction to Australian underground hip-hop.
3. SWEET LEAVES Vol. I by Wild Savage
Genre: early metal, stoner rock
If you like: Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, Wolfmother
In case the cover art didn’t tip you off, this EP from the Michigan-based Wild Savages is by no means trying to hide the fact that it takes heavy inspiration from Black Sabbath. But guess what? Black Sabbath is awesome, and Wild Savages has a lot going on themselves. They play a perfectly sludgy brand of proto-metal that’s an adept tribute to the prior works that made it possible.
2. Rivalry by Sporting Life
Genre: indie rock, shoegaze, dream pop
If you like: Twin Shadow, The Smiths, early The Verve
This isn’t the same Sporting Life we included in our list of albums that flew under the radar in 2015. Instead, these guys are more on the britpop side of things, churning out ethereal and dreamy indie rock tunes that threaten to suck you into your headphones and keep you there until they’re through.
1. A Real Thing by Love the Unicorn
Genre: indie rock, dream pop
If you like: DIIV, Band of Horses, Lower Dens
You can argue the merits of dream pop all you want, but its influence on indie rock doesn’t seem to be wearing thin any time soon. Love The Unicorn’s A Real Thing is an atmospheric and engaging piece of work that doesn’t use its carefree and spacey vibe as an excuse to skimp on propulsive, quality songwriting.
And now, here are a few things that we also dug this week:
ZEBRA MAN by RMF
Genre: alternative, electronic, experimental
If you like: Hot Chip, weird stuff
Boy On The Rocks EP by Damsel
Genre: indie folk, folk pop
If you like: The Shins, Of Montreal
Windigo by Windigo
Genre: indie rock
If you like: Young The Giant, Portugal. The Man
That’s all for now, but while your waiting for our next installment, let us know in the comments which of our selected 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).