On the first Friday of every month, Bandcamp waives their revenue share so all purchases go directly to supporting artists and labels who’ve been affected by the pandemic. Ears to Feed staffers select their recommendations for this month’s edition of Bandcamp Day.
Maxwell Cann, Editor-in-Chief
Indigo Sparke – Echo
Indigo Sparke’s debut album, Echo, is fraught with unreciprocated love, new age enchantment and a passionate performance laid bare for all to witness. Built on themes of self discovery and isolation, Sparke uses sparse instrumentals to evoke the pain felt from love’s tribulations. An endearing portrait of life’s most intimate moments, packaged to guide you through the turbulence of our times and quiet evenings alone.
Christopher Cann, Managing Editor
Rachika Nayar – Our Hands Against The Dusk
Rachika Nayar, a Brooklyn based composer, recently released her debut album Our Hands Against the Dusk and it’s repetitive loops and beautiful arrangements are perfect, mournful soundtracks that convey fatigue, melancholia and loss. The album blends organic and electronic sounds seamlessly. Between the synths and piano loops, there are violins, reverb soaked vocals and distant guitar arpeggios.
You’ll feel this record in your stomach first. Its power is enough to level you, but its reward comes in waves of euphoria. The instrumentals are reflections and abscrations of emotions and, as the listener, you are forced to regard these feelings. If you’re willing to stare into the infinite abyss, Our Hands Against the Dusk is a faithful companion.
The Menahan Street Band – The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band
After a ten-year gap, The Menahan Street Band returned triumphantly with the release of their third studio album, The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band on Daptone Records. The music collective’s signature instrumental sound that blends soul, rock and afrobeat remains as iconic and relevant as ever. The album is capped by an honorary vocal sample of the band’s late collaborator and friend, Charles Bradley. The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band is already a contender for the best instrumental album of the year.
Julian – Longing
The recent lo-fi dream pop EP, Longing by Philadelphia-based band Julian fills corners of a wall like paint drying; slowly and patiently at first, but the layers grow thicker and fulfill the completed work.
Fronted by singer-songwriter Julia Leiby, the band’s approach to the music mimics the softness of digging your face into warm, finished laundry. The mic and drums are muffled with what you can find around the house — perhaps a clean sock and a shirt, which balance each other out. The songs are short; a moment so limited that you’re always craving more.
Various Artists – Personal Moments Vol. 2 (Personal Records)
For the second edition of their Personal Moments compilation series, Personal Records assembled contributions from members of their shared communities in Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton. Over 15 songs, the digital mixtape covers a considerable span of sounds that includes vibey electronic pop (YlangYlang, JFM, Shiffra) and various forms of brain scrambling experimentation (NPNP, bBomit, Please).
For his offering as Skin Tone, sax player James Goddard explained how he “made an unhinged track featuring a data bent image of Chadwick Boseman and samples of a street fight.” Mira Martin-Gray also deserves special kudos for one of the year’s best song titles, calling out owners of expensive synth gear: “Who Needs A Eurorack When You’ve Got A Dish Rack?” If you’d like to hear some left-of-centre music and spend your Bandcamp Friday budget on an important cause, all proceeds will be donated to the Land Back Lane Legal Fund.
Mengers – Golly
If you are not aware yet, Mexico is going through a rock revolution at the moment. Bands all over the country are mixing garage punk tempos, psych rock sensibilities, stoner riffs, concealed melodies, noise and the occasional Neu! Creating some of the most exciting guitar music anywhere in the world.
Of special note are Mengers, relative newcomers who swear by their fuzz pedals. Their debut album Golly immerses itself in dirty yet kaleidoscopic music, which ranges from energetic barn burners like “Tiempos Suicidas” and “Celebra” to motorik trips through the mind like the title track and “Pantitlán.”
Thirdface – Do It With A Smile
Pandemic be damned. Led by one of a kind vocalist Kathryn Edwards, Nasheville hardcore band Thirdface are here to drag out all the empty-gesturing neckbeards from behind the blue tinted glare of their screens. With their blistering debut album Do It With A Smile – out today on Exploding In Sound Records – Thirdface provide the soundtrack for countless future headwalks and feet-first dives for a time when we can all get mangled in the mosh.
Rachika Nayer – Our Hands Against The Dusk
I’ve never regretted missing a show like I now regret skipping out on Laraaji at the Park Church Co-Op. At the time, I felt foolish for weighing seeing such an icon against a much-needed night of rest at home, but two years on, I’m actually kicking myself for missing a chance to see the opener Rachika Nayar, electronic composer and — if her stunning debut album Our Hands Against The Dusk is any indication — an ambient legend in the making.
Another winner for the dreamweavers over at NNA Tapes, the album’s expansive textural palette and heart-wrenching melodic sensibility propels it into a rare category of ambient. Far more than functional “relaxation music” or knob-twirling synthesizer fetishism, the gently unfurling landscapes that Nayar sculpts over these eight tracks feel like lived-in worlds, sites of tender confrontation with identity, community, and the notion of intimacy itself. Relax your shoulders, breathe deep and listen with care. Fingers crossed that we’ll all be seeing her live soon enough.
Jane Weaver – Flock
Driven by her innate instinct and a natural proclivity towards curiosity, Jane Weaver’s extensive discography provides a vast range of sounds for the listening ear. Collaborating with various artists over the years including Suzanne Ciani, Jarvis Cocker and Laetitia Sadier, Weaver broadens her scope of instrumental and songwriting capabilities to include a resilient backbone of experimental electronic and funk-fused pop in her latest album Flock. Tracks like “The Revolution of Super Visions” lay the ground for dance floor new wave pulses combined with airy and soaring vocals while single “Heartlow” is full of comforting and resonant melodies alongside Weaver’s bittersweet lyrics on the tragedies and tribulations of our modern world.