On the first Friday of every month since March 2020, local music platform Bandcamp has waived its fees to help support the many artists who have seen their livelihoods disrupted by the pandemic. Over the course of those twelve individual days, fans paid artists and labels over $40 million dollars, helping cover housing costs, foodstuffs, trips to the pharmacy, and much more. Just over 800,000 fans have participated.
Although vaccines are rolling out, we’re going to continue supporting Bandcamp Fridays here at 48hills with the next one set for May 7. While continuing to boost local talent, with this installment we’re looking forward, outward to the world at sounds deserving of your time and digital currency. Having a diverse personal soundtrack of new music is the building block of putting a global pandemic in your rearview.
Thank us later this summer, by attending your first live show. But for right now, enjoy our picks, add them to your shopping cart, and support these artists!
FOODMAN, “Hoshikuzu Tenboudai” (Hyperdub)
It was a couple of years ago that I stumbled upon a fascinating electronic music producer by the wonderful name of 食品まつり aka FOODMAN. Takahide Higuchi’s 2019 “ODOODO” EP, created on his laptop while at park benches, restaurant tables, and Japanese communal bathhouses, was a new form of footwork and juke, that was an exciting, weird, nonconformist collection of ideas that punch along without heavy percussive accents. Referred to as an ambassador of Japan’s experimental electronic music scene for a reason, he cooks up and employs rhythmic ambient, trap, slow-tempo house, and dub.
It takes guts to believe in your own style of crazy, FOODMAN has the authenticity to go with it.
His new album Yasuragi Land, which means “tranquility land” in Japanese, arrives in July on the Hyperdub label. This new project was inspired by the artist’s visits to the michinoeki—roadside stations—and Japanese public baths. “When I go to these places, I’m able to enjoy the atmosphere,” he says. “I wanted to create an honest album that combines the sound of guitar and percussion with the sense of peace and community I feel in here amidst the uncertainty of the future. Yasuragi Land is that place of tranquillity.”
Watch the video for the album’s first single, “Hoshikuzu Tenboudai,” above. Purchase single here.
SPELLLING, “Little Deer” (Sacred Bones)
SPELLLING, the project of Bay Area-based Chrystia Cabral, is back with a new single “Little Deer” from her new album The Turning Wheel, out June 25th on Sacred Bones. It is the follow-up to 2019’s Mazy Fly.
According to the artist The Turning Wheel, which was delayed by almost a year from its intended release date of September 2020, revolves around themes of human unity, the future, divine love, and the enigmatic ups and downs of being a part of this carnival called life. SPELLLING took on the ambitious task of orchestrating and self-producing an album that features an ensemble of 31 collaborating musicians. The resulting album incorporates a vast range of rich acoustic sounds that casts her work into vibrant new dimensions.
“‘Little Deer’ is definitely a thesis track,” explains SPELLLING. “I feel that way because it not only showcases the greatest range of instrumentation that is featured on the album, but also because it accomplishes this strong impression of theater that I was striving for with the album as a whole. I’m especially proud of the lyrics. The challenge with the lyric writing was being able to speak to really large concepts like karma, reincarnation, and the cycle of life without making the song sound burdened. I wanted the lyrics to match the grandeur of the instrumentation but still be easy to sing along to. I figured out a way to build the lyrics using a lot of abstract language that is still singable but odd in a way that I hope makes it memorable.”
You can listen and pre-order here.
The Steoples, “The Good News” (Stones Throw)
Call The Steoples, artists GB and Yeofi, friends for over 15 years, the type of forward-thinking soul music that remains timeless in sound and message. Their new single, with flamenco guitar and progressive synth accents, stands as an on-time, on-point booster shot for the psyche and spirit.
“The Good News, I can use It.”
The duo released their debut album Six Rocks on Stones Throw in 2017. Originally from rural England, Yeofi played with several UK-based bands before moving to Los Angeles. He has since collaborated with artists including Theo Parrish and DJ Spinna under the moniker A Race of Angels. Lookout for more music from this duo later in 2021.
Purchase the single here.
Jaimie Branch, “theme 001 (Live)” from FLY or DIE LIVE (International Anthem)
With roaring trumpet bellows and instinctual type orchestration, Fly or Die made Jaime Branch, the Chicago raised horn player now Brooklyn-based arranger and performer, an undeniable American jazz musician who had to be dealt with.
Meaning—you had to go see her live in order to understand what was really happening with this music amongst a new generation, not waiting for a torch to pass on to them.
Her screeching Fly or Die II: bird dogs of paradise record, was a dark and timely salacious call out of President Orange 45 and his fascist, racist, and xenophobic policies—one that would become a critically acclaimed record on all the lists you follow.
THAT is how she gets down. Which makes this live album, the project that kicked the door in, fundamental.
You can pre-order here.