10 albums to pick up on Bandcamp Friday

Botanist, Clipping., Hania Rani, Coil, Power Trip, Sun Ra, Hammock, Kelly Lee Owens, L.A. Witch, Roomful of Teeth, Bandcamp Friday

Bandcamp Friday Sept. 4, 2020. Clockwise from left: Botanist, Clipping., Hania Rani, Coil, Power Trip, Sun Ra, Hammock, Kelly Lee Owens, L.A. Witch and Roomful of Teeth.

If anyone has a unique opportunity to support independent music, it’s Bandcamp. But the Bandcamp Friday concept has taken that support to a new level. Over the past three months, the platform has waived its revenue share on some Fridays to support artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aug. 4 marks the fifth Bandcamp Friday.

The streaming platform has opened a floodgate of independent music. Countless artists depend on it and today presents a unique opportunity to support them.

I’ve compiled 10 releases that we’ve been enjoying. Give them a listen, and consider supporting these artists.

If you missed previous last Bandcamp Friday list, check them out here.

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Hania Rani, Home — Though this Polish artist uses the piano as her foundation, it’s only one facet of the artistry she presents on Home. Part singer-songwriter, part modern classical and part sensory exploration, this album is a robust display of Rani’s diverse approach. Her work could be compared to Yann Tiersen in that her folky exterior maintains a deep and ambitious undercurrent. From electro-acoustic soundscapes to heartfelt singing, Hania Rani continues to solidify herself as one of Eastern Europe’s most interesting up-and-comers.



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clipping., Visions of Bodies Being Burned — Oakland’s Daveed Diggs and company perfected horrorcore hip-hop last year with There Existed an Addiction to Blood, but apparently that was only half of the story clipping. wanted to tell. More than a collection of b-sides, Visions of Bodies Being Burned is effectively the rap equivalent of a slasher movie sequel: when in doubt, go for the jugular. If single “Say The Name” is any indication, this thing has more of a penchant for hard beats and deadly bars. This isn’t to say the group has toned things down; just that there will be more for traditional hip-hop fans to chew on than on the predecessor. Complete with immersive skits and terrifying noisiness, clipping. may need to do horrorcore forever after this.

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Botanist, Photosynthesis — It pays to carve out a niche too specific for any potential competition, and what’s more specific than nature-obsessed black metal with hammered dulcimers instead of guitars? It’s about as strange as you’d think, but Botanist’s progression from solo project to full band has proven how well this instrumentation works. Perhaps it’s because of the brittle timbre of classic black metal, but the dulcimers translate so naturally that an unsuspecting listener might not notice the difference right away. Still, the unique arrangements open up a plethora of atmospheric possibilities. The artwork alone clarifies Botanist’s fervent respect for nature, an interesting development of black metal’s classic trope of meditations in the depths of a forest.



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Kelly Lee Owens, Inner Song — This U.K. electro-pop artist has topped herself in terms of harmonic richness and detailed production. It has the inviting homeyness of bedroom pop, but Kelly Lee Owens‘ songwriting is far too intricate for that term. The way she layers her vocals makes it more like he’s playing another keyboard than singing. This allows Inner Song to effortlessly subvert expectations while sticking to a dreamy flow. Owens has no problem with letting her songs marinate in a house techno loop before the chorus starts, effectively blurring the lines between pop and pure electronic music.

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L.A. Witch, Play With Fire — This trio’s take on garage rock balances reverb-drenched spookiness and good-old-fashioned garage rock riffage. L.A. Witch has a solid combination of West Coast surf music, gloomy blues rock and proto-punk. The band grooves, crashes and bashes with impressive cohesion and catchy melody. While its aesthetic might bring occult rock to mind, L.A. Witch makes a point to shroud itself in various influences from throughout rock and roll’s long history. Play With Fire isn’t an album I can recommend to fans of particular subgenres. Basically, anyone who likes their rock music fiery, raw and hooky shouldn’t make the mistake of sleeping on this album.



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Roomful of Teeth and Michael Harrison, Just Constellations — Choral music often has the reputation for being traditional, but that’s just what Roomful of Teeth set out to change with its mind-altering tone poems. What the band has accomplished with Michael Harrison plays the perfect foil for the more direct and rhythmic The Ascendant. Just Constellations functions more as ambient music, with the eight-member choir using an impeccable chemistry and breath control to develop some immersive sound baths. In fact, the album could easily be described as “a capella ambience.” Roomful of Teeth continues to succeed in its efforts to revitalize choral music for the modern age.

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Sun Ra, A Fireside Chat With Lucifer — The lead single to the upcoming Sun Ra album might seem like a total curveball—but, after all, this is Sun Ra. His reputation within avant-garde jazz is impossible to overstate, so it’s best to approach anything he does knowing it’ll be a trip. “Nuclear War” is as much a jazz rap spiritual as it is a piano-and-drums jam, with expletive-laden bars coinciding with pristine chords and evolving grooves. Considering that the title track to this thing is 20 minutes long, this album will likely quench the thirst of fans old and new for imaginative cosmic jazz with an activist overtone.



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Hammock, Silencia — While mostly known as a post-rock band, Nashville’s Hammock has spent the past few years cozying up with pure, glacial euphoria. Silencia is more comparable to Eluvium than Explosions in the Sky, but the album’s directional, emotive impact could also be compared to Sigur Rós’ masterwork, Valtari. The attention to dynamics and melodic motifs allow these tracks to function as much more than one of the countless Bandcamp ambient projects. You’ll still find yourself humming along to these songs and contemplating life and its meaning as each crescendo comes to a head.

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Power Trip, Nightmare Logic — The new wave of thrash metal suffered a terrible loss on Aug. 24 with the passing of Power Trip frontman Riley Gale at 34 years old. His ferocious voice helped make this band the powerhouse the scene will always remember it as. It takes a special band for hardcore kids and metalheads to agree on the quality of its music. Whether the band played Bloodstock or This Is Hardcore, people would lose their minds during Power Trip’s entire set. Listening to any of the band’s music should get the point across, but Nightmare Logic seems to be the album that solidified them as the masters of what made crossover thrash metal great in the first place. It’s as good a time as any to open your wallet for these guys. If you already own Power Trip’s music, buy it again. Rest in power, Mr. Gale!



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Coil, Musick to Play in the Dark — In the dark corners of the U.K. underground lies a nexus of occultists, musicians and performance artists including Psychic TV, Current 93, Throbbing Gristle and, of course, Coil. This post-industrial collective has run the gamut of weird electronic music since its formation in 1982. It’s been 16 years since Coil broke up, and its albums remain white whales for fans of transient synth music and ritualistic atmospheres. Musick to Play in the Dark originally dropped in 1999, and has become one of many Coil albums resold for ridiculous prices. To have it re-pressed by Dais Records comes as a welcome surprise, and look no further than the foreboding drones and whispery glitches of “Are You Shivering” for a reminder of why Coil helped define U.K. experimental music as we know it today.

Follow Max Heilman at Twitter.com/madmaxx1995 and Instagram.com/maxlikessound.

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