Bandcamping: The 5 Best Underground Albums Of November 2017

Now that Taylor Swift’s Reputation has finally been released and the world is recovering from that seismic activity, let’s shake up our music libraries with something a bit more alternative, a bit more Bandcamp. This month’s Bandcamping features some high quality indie rock, some experimental Portuguese music, and more, so check it out:

5. Boavista by Gonçalo

Genre: electronic, alternative, classical
If you like: Hot Chip, I’m not sure

There’s a lot going on here: A lot of this record could almost be called classical or something like traditional Portuguese music, and yet, the highlights are when it gets more experimental and electronic, on songs like “Champagna.” The unexpected is what makes music fun.

4. Adore by Hayden Casey

Genre: indie pop, dream pop, electronic
If you like: Baths, The xx, Owl City

Anybody with a copy of Logic Pro can make a dream pop album, but a much smaller subset of those bedroom producers are actually doing it well. Hayden Casey is among those, as his debut record Adore is filled with lush textures and mellow vibes that are as relaxing as they are endearing.

3. Shock Out of Season by Friendship

Genre: indie rock
If you like: Phosphorescent

There’s something indefinable about album highlight “Skip To The Good Part,” something emotional that’s hard to explain. That’s the way emotions often are, I suppose, and I don’t know if it’s the Phosphorescent-lite instrumentation or the way singer Dan Wriggins’ voice actually cracks when he sings the heart-wrenching appeal of the hook, “But please don’t call it a night.” It won’t be recognized as such on year-end lists, but “Skip To The Good Part” is one of 2017’s special music moments.

2. Still, I Try by Fire is Motion

Genre: indie rock
If you like: Broken Social Scene, Manchester Orchestra, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

There’s something special about album opener “Yesterday’s Coffee.” It starts out sounding confident, especially with bells that work as a charming embellishment and not as a contrived grab at cutesy indie appeal. The song builds and calms down and builds and calms down and… it’s a ride, and it makes for quite the adventure. It’s anthemic indie rock that works Coldplay-level “oh-ohs” and melody into the mix without sounding that pop, and the only shame here is that Still, I Try is a five-track EP and not a full-length album.

1. Cash For Smiles by Mandala

Genre: indie rock, rock
If you like: Sleater-Kinney, Hop Along, Car Seat Headrest

Oh, where has the guitar solo gone? I mean one that really rips for more than just a couple bars. Mandala’s brand of high-octane indie rock, although not explicitly “guitar music,” really lets the instrument shine. The first two tracks, “David Brown” and “Washed Up,” end with some terrific guitar solos that run for a satisfying amount of time and with a gratifying amount of weight. That’s not even mentioning Morgan Fasanelli’s energetic vocals (for fans of Lady Lamb), and the band’s musicianship. This sophomore album is excellent.

Honorable Mentions

Hymns by American Goner
Genre: indie, folk
If you like: Father John Misty

Natural Light by Track and Field
Genre: indie rock, alternative rock
If you like: Bloc Party, Elbow

That’s all for November, but until next time, let us know in the comments which of these albums were your favorites, what we missed, and what we should look forward to. If you missed out on October,  check it out here (and the complete Bandcamping archives are  here).

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