Friday, February 26, 2021
New Music: An array of excellent sounds to discover...

New Music: An array of excellent sounds to discover (and artists to support)

Bandcamp Day gives us the opportunity to clue you in on terrific releases, with proceeds going directly to musicians.


Here we are halfway through 2020, with so much to keep an attentive eye on that you might walk into the shower fully clothed. For real. That shit happened. Pretty much the only consistently good thing going is the monthly Bandcamp Fridays—this Friday, July 3, midnight to midnight PST, the platform is waiving its share of sales money to support artists impacted by Covid-19. We have some suggestions:

There is nothing quite like hearing beats-collagist Ras G ride James Brown’s funk-blues across the Nebula. “Doberman In the Cadillac” does just that. As a Black man or just a human being in general, you get instant connectedness in the funkiest, soulful encoded communicative way. 2020’s been such a shit show you ALMOST forget we lost this visionary last year on July 31. ‘Raw Fruit Vol. 5 & 6’ may be sold out in vinyl on Bandcamp, but go seek out some other titles on the platform if you’re into physical media, or tell your friends to get the digital. Seek out other stellar Rap G works.  It will make you feel good. Protected. And you’ll be helping his Shorter family. Get it here.

Comfort. That’s what gets evoked looking at the slipper convention happening on the cover art of this project. Madison Tapes seems to be in the cultural zeitgeist of the now, making music that is full of conversations overflowing. (Peep that new Theo Parrish “We Are Gorgeous Monsterrs” NOT on Bandcamp for context.) Come for the deconstructed, yet very “blunt” active R&B and stay for the attitude. Full of jokes, sick burns, and philosophy—as the daughter of hip-hop pioneer Grand Daddy I. U., Bey has been surrounded by music since childhood, and it shows. Greatness purrs underneath the come-and-go casualness. Get it here.

Ohmme, the Chicago duo made up of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, came up with a majority of Fantasize Your Ghost touring. It asks a lot of questions and could give a shit if it’s catchy while moving forward like a shark, dragging guitar drone along for the pursuit. This deeply talented duo is not swinging for the podhole glory of Spotify, more like the gnarly truth of Bandcamp. Jessi Roti of The Chicago Reader lays it all out succinctly: “The ten muscular tracks on Fantasize Your Ghost showcase the band’s intrepid spirit and clever control over their instruments, while their lyrics explore what it means and how it feels when you’ve become a stranger to the life you once knew. Meaningful relationships run their course and empty out; places and things you’ve built an identity around stop feeling significant. The album’s 40 minutes succinctly evoke the anger, clarity, pain, and joy that can come if you accept what comes next.” Get it here.

Music, trends, ideas, and voices all come at cha pretty damn quick these days. Christelle Bofale, the Austin-based singer-songwriter will absolutely redirect your mood—into a good one at that—within the span over a couple suspended notes. According to her Bandcamp bio: She’s the first US born kid in her family, the rich heritage of the Congo is deeply rooted in her upbringing and relationship with sounds. As a songwriter, she infuses hints of the Congo into various aspects of her music, bridging the musical influences of the diaspora with juxtaposed elements of indie rock, soul, and jazz respectively. “Origami Dreams,” a track from here debut EP Swim team, is the moment you never want to leave. Breathy, but still backed up with voice, brain, presence, arrangement. Just listen to it. Weightless guitar tangents and lush, aquatic soundscapes are a vital part of what embodies her work, which deserves discovery. Get it here.

Chaz Bundick’s Toro y Moi project and frequent collaborators Mattson 2 have covered “Ordinary Guy,” the closing track on Latin soul artist Joe Bataan’s 1967 debut Gypsy Woman. Proceeds go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “[Joe Bataan’s] music first caught my ear back in 2009 when Ryan Kattner of Man Man played it for me,” Toro y Moi said in a statement. “I was immediately hooked by Joe’s music because, to me, he represented the impossible—he felt so comfortable in his skin and he had so much confidence and appeal.” Get it here.

In addition to the cover, Toro y Moi released an instrumental version of his 2010 debut Causers of This.
The album, which was noted by critics at the time of its release to fit comfortably between Small Black, Washed Out, Gold Panda, Neon Indian, with a clear nod to producers like J Dilla and Flying Lotus, had a large impact on music in South Carolina, Bundick’s birthplace, over the decade following its release. The state had previously been known mainly for country and roots rock: Chaz changed all that. The city of Berkeley, California, where he currently reside, named June 27 “Chaz Bundick Day” in honor of Toro Y Moi’s contribution to arts and music in 2017. Causers of This caused a lot to happen. Get it here.

Fotonachine’s “BBoy,” an overflowing mood—optimism and elation by way of expansive synths, acid basslines, bubble gum keyboard play, and tripped up breakbeats, recently appeared on Josey Rebelle’s excellent Josey in Space mix compilation. A new release from the London producer—who’s mostly released music in the past as Photomachine—gets an opportunity to shine beyond just one dope track.

Part of the UK’s electronic music circuit for at least a decade, Fotomachine has focused much of his recent activity in recent years behind the scenes at Technicolour, the Ninja Tune imprint that he heads up.
(Octo Octa’s quintessential late ’90s feel of idealism EP, “For Lovers” from 2019 was released by Technicolor.) But when Fotomachine emerges to the forefront, subtle acknowledgments towards Derrick May get voiced. Shouts to Shawn Reynaldo, one of the best to do it for music journalism period, for alerting others about this solo joint. As he writes: “‘Fetish'” is one of the record’s clear standouts, a synthy, analog chugger whose smudgy sonics and confident strut remind me of fellow UK producer Funkineven. Get it here.

Anytime Lafawndah, aka Yasmine Dubois, decides to put art into the world, get in line. Put on your mask. It’s going to be worth the wait. Moreover, anytime an artist self-describes their upcoming project “torch songs for when it rains ash, creation ballads for when the earth turns inside out”…Shit. That’s a Bat-Signal in the sky. “You, at The End,” from upcoming The Fifth Season album sees Lafawndah collaborate with UK jazz musicians Theon Cross (tuba) andNathaniel Cross (trombone) for moody acoustic heady arrangements. The lyrics come from a Kate Tempest poem about a misfit harnessing immense, world-shattering powers. Indulge in these charming, fetching yarns. Doom can be oh so romantic. Get it here.

Created from watching the Uprising in 2020. We were lucky to have Museik reach out to us. Here are some thoughts about the song from the artist: “After watching the recent struggles of black people fighting for equality, I was reminded of my own journey as a Black man. After watching it all play out, I was tired, angry, and frustrated. I didn’t know what to say or do. I turned to my sampler to help me speak my mind. The emotional speeches by Killer Mike and Tamika Mallory spoke to me. They translate the energy felt by myself, and the millions of black people who have been discriminated against for years. The voice of Jane Elliot during her ‘Blue Eyes & Brown Eyes exercise,’ was a fitting way to end the track. She has done great work in highlighting the detrimental impact of racism. Their voices take a central role in ‘Justice Matters.’ All proceeds from the sale of this music will be donated to Black-affiliated charities. It’s everyone against racism. Black lives have always mattered. Justice, and equality, matters. Love, MUSEiK.” Get it here.

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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