We’re a little late with our Bandcamp Picks of the Week, but that’s because we thought it would be appropriate to chime in on the day that Bandcamp is donating their profits to the ACLU. Enjoy some picks we’ve curated from Bandcamp’s larger roundup of underappreciated artists from countries affected by the travel ban and construction of the border wall.
Akvan – میراث
Favorite Tracks: N/A
Folk black metal follows a very tried and true formula. You take the native instruments from the musician’s home country, combine them with very standard black metal, and voila. The thing is, it’s a formula that can still be effective when executed correctly, and Iranian black metal artist Akvan absolutely knows how to execute. There’s a build and swell to these two tracks that is downright majestic, and it’s amazing how well something like the tar works in conjunction with black metal screaming. There’s something to heavy metal from repressed Middle Eastern countries that always has a special tinge to it, a little more bite in response to all the cultural frustrations. It’s a nice release of anger no matter where you’re currently inhabiting the globe, and well worth your nickels and dimes. You can hear it right here. [Carter Moon]
Gory – HERE IS A EP
Genre: Ambient House
Favorite Tracks: “ibm,” “z479”
A truly transportive project, little-known Sudanese producer Gory turns in a short and sweet compilation of melancholic house missives on HERE IS A EP. Tying in with the apocalyptic album cover, HERE IS A EP seems beamed in from a not-so-distant future, full of ghostly, pitch-shifted soul samples and glistening synth backdrops. There is a quiet sadness at play here, but that shouldn’t be allowed to detract from all of the navel-gazing, feet-shuffling beauty. Gory demonstrates a remarkable propensity for transcending the distance that separates Sudan from where this music is the most marketable, as any of the tracks here could be cherry-picked and dropped into one of the hottest house playlists in LA. A little bit of Meishi Smile, a little bit of Japanese uplifting trance, and heck, even a little bit of The Chainsmokers make HERE IS A EP an enjoyable listening experience that’s over all too soon. You can check it out here. [Thomas Seraydarian]
Omar Souleyman – HAFLAT GHARBIA: THE WESTERN CONCERTS
Favorite Tracks: “Mawal Hejez,” “Gazula/Shift Al Mani (I Saw Her),” “Lansob Sherek (I Will Make A Trap),” “Haram (Forbidden – I Signal, You Deny),” “Kaset Hanzel (Drinking from the Glass of Bitterness)”
Of all the examples of music transcending all barriers, Omar Souleyman may be the finest. A man of poise and precise vocals, Omar has been a personal favorite of Crossfader for years. The Syrian dabke artist is absolutely electrifying live, and is still a rump-shaking good time on the record. What is especially appealing about his music is its near universal appeal. Souleyman’s basis is as a wedding singer, and his ability to get people from all backgrounds moving is second to none. He also has some music videos that have to be seen to be believed. I really can’t think of a better artist to unite us all in these troubled times; give him and the ACLU your money right here. [Carter Moon]
SKOWLS – SPLOSH !!!!!
Favorite Tracks: “SCHISANDRA,” “ATIVAN,” “CORRALEJO REPOSADO,” “OUTER BANKS,” “BATHS IN THE DARK”
Buckle yer seatbelts and grab yer ankles, because we’ve got a wild one on our hands with SPLOSH !!!!!. It’s no secret that it’s not exactly the most pleasant time to be a denizen of this Earth, and nothing could be better for your angst and anxiety than letting SKOWLS wash it all out of your head with this chimera of electronic eccentricism. There are a schizophrenic grab-bag of influences here, including everything from glitch to industrial to digital hardcore to the instrumental antics of Clams Casino. SKOWLS continually demonstrate that they have more tricks up their sleeves than you can count, and the progression of the album from pants-shitting, noise-based insanity to a washed out trip through a digital jungle menagerie is something that’s fascinating to behold. If you can bear with some screams of static in your mixing, there’s something for every electronic fan on this sprawling collection of Somalian mischief-making You can check it out here. [Thomas Seraydarian]