Seven new albums to pick up on Bandcamp Friday

Bandcamp Friday, Zombi, Kamaal Williams, The Caretaker, Vein.FM, Master Boot Record, Nelson Dialect

Bandcamp Friday Aug. 7, 2020. Clockwise from left: Zombi, Kamaal Williams, The Caretaker, Vein.FM, Master Boot Record and Nelson Dialect.

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. 7 marks the arrival of 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

RIFF has compiled seven releases we’ve been enjoying. Give them a listen, and consider supporting the artists who made them this Bandcamp Friday.

If you missed previous last Bandcamp Friday list, click here!


Kamaal Williams, Wu HenKamaal Williams reinstates his masterful combination of pretty much every cool style of music coming out of the U.K. He calls it “wu funk,” and its etymology speaks for itself. Elements of nu-jazz, underground techno and abstract hip-hop find a place here, but Williams subverts the conventions of every genre from which he pulls. Wu Hen has a compelling balance of vibey mood music and complex arrangement. Williams has effectively built a bridge between listeners who just want some cool studying music and jazz-heads looking for some of the current scene’s best offerings. Now, if only he’d collaborate with Kendrick Lamar…


Zombi, 2020 — This Pittsburgh band dropped its first album 16 years ago. Now seems like the best time for its spacey take on desert rock. As tastemakers finally make their way through the realm of sludge, doom and stoner rock, the bands that’ve been holding it down this whole time are finally getting the support they deserve. Combining synth-laden psychedelia, dexterous guitar leads and rumbling bass, Steve Moore has the perfect partner in drummer A.E. Paterra. His nuanced grooves work wonders for this instrumental band, keeping things unpredictable, but fastened in tight. The album has various apocalyptic genres on lock, whether it’s prog-rock, darkwave or doom. But at its core, its immersive textures provide much needed escape from a tragic year.


The Caretaker, Everywhere at the end of time — “But Max, who’s got time to listen to a six-hour ambient piece based on samples of ballroom pop tunes from the 1930s?” First of all, don’t lie to me. We all know what 2020 has become. Second of all, this series is way more than a patience test. Sit in your room with the lights out and let James Leyland Kirby take you on a engrossing, harrowing journey through each stage of dementia. Everywhere at the end of time is literally the sound of the mind collapsing, and consciousness fading into oblivion. It’s beautifully devastating, certainly a worthy excursion in this time of isolation. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get lost in the proceedings.


Reverorum ib Malacht, Vad Är Inte Sju Huvud? — Pack it up, devil-worshiping edge-lords. The most impenetrable, uncompromising band in black metal is comprised of devout Catholics. For the uninitiated, Malacht began in the early 2000s with close ties to Swedish circles of anti-cosmic Satanism. They began to study Catholic texts for blasphemous purposes and, as fate would have it, ended up converting! Ironically, Malacht’s Catholic music is even less accessible. Vad Är Inte Sju Huvud? is 13 minutes longer than 2011’s Urkaos, making it the band’s longest and most comprehensive outing. It’s part religious ritual, part industrial ambient music, part avant-garde black metal and completely submerged in lo-fi filth. It’s the equivalent of trying to make out the details of Pieter Bruegel’s painting “Triumph of Death” through a thick fog. There’s a lot of reverence to uncover and compositions to appreciate beyond the imposing exterior of violent weirdness.


Master Boot Record, Virtuaverse​.​ost — It’s easy to think about music like this as a gimmick—especially after the whole “Nintendo-core” fiasco—but Victor Love has made synthesized metal music his mission. With a rich background in dark synthwave and point-and-click role-playing video games, his credibility is undeniable. What’s harder to understand is how easy it is to head-bang to this music. It’s 8-bit music made for getting whiplash! Love essentially forges a new path where industrial metal bands like Godflesh and Ministry left off. It’s entirely electronic, but it’s more metal than plenty of guitar shredders would like to admit. Maybe Kanye West was right when he dumped on guitar music!


Nelson Dialect & NuTone, Opal Mind — French producer NuTone and New York rapper Nelson Dialect bring out the best out of each other with this collaborative effort. It’s really cool to hear cold East Coast bars over a distinct sheen of European hip-hop and electronic production. Like DJ Shadow does with various American rappers, NuTone puts Dialect outside his usual vein without conflicting with his sonic personality. The beats remain dreamy and ambient, yet meticulous and well-executed. In the same way, the rapping balances hypnotic flow and relentless wordplay. It goes to show that verbose rappers don’t have to rely on obnoxious “spiritual miracle lyrical individual” platitudes, as Dialect packs an atmospheric, swagger-filled cadence with personality.

***, Old Data in a New Machine Vol. 1 — A name change and an increased electronic element might recall the path Code Orange took, but (formerly Vein) maintains its fusion of Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan. Unlike Code Orange, these guys have apparently dialed in their sample-laden tangent much quicker. This is apparent in the series of remixes, which reveal the true crossover potential between breakbeats and mathcore, but also in the four new tracks. These guys had begun playing with two DJs before the world shut down, so it’s fair to assume they could double down on this breakcore tendency without losing the nu-metal bounces, gnarly riff changes and mosh-ready beatdowns that so many loved about the 2018 album Errorzone.

Follow Max Heilman at and

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *