Bandcamp Picks of the Week 8/8/18

We’re back with another installment of Bandcamp Picks of the Week

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Helena Hauff

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Helena Hauff – QUALM

Genre: Industrial Techno

Favorite Tracks: “Barrow Boot Boys,” “Lifestyle Guru,” “Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg,” “It Was All Fields Around Here When I Was A Kid”

FUCK yes! In a genre that is most definitely becoming my shit, German techno standout Helena Hauff returns with her third full-length, QUALM, the first time we’ve heard from her since 2015. In sharp contrast to the blazing summer sun beating down, QUALM is a minimalist slice of arctic ass-shaking, entirely predicated on fuzzed-out pulses, pummelling grooves, and roiling, hypnotic synth lines transporting you to a grimy warehouse party of the dystopian future. A love letter to the claustrophobic, paranoid peals of acid house and the mechanical rigidity of ‘90s Detroit techno, Hauff still finds time to craft more playful and inquisitive cuts reminiscent of the 8-bit musings of Soichi Terada (“btdr-revisited”) and plenty of atmospheric ambient valleys before the next rush to the dance floor. But most interesting, perhaps, are some of the callbacks to the hefty industrial synthpop of The Knife, itself derived from Europe’s experiments with EBM in the ‘80s, which add sprinkles of melodic maximalism which act as toothsome centerpieces on which to anchor (“Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg,” “It Was All Fields Around Here When I Was A Kid”). A rich and varied electronic outing that stays fresh throughout without ever losing its allegiance to the groove, check out QUALM here. [Thomas Seraydarian]

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Tony Molina

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Tony Molina – KILL THE LIGHTS

Genre: Soft Power Pop

Favorite Tracks: “Nothing I Can Say,” “Wrong Town,” “Give He TakeS You,” “Before You Go,” “Outro”

There are two, count ‘em, two tracks on Tony Molina’s latest album, KILL THE LIGHTS, that are over two minutes in length. Imagine! Granted, one of them, “Look Inside Your Mind / Losin’ Touch,” does kind of feel like a shorter song with a nice, separated outro, but I digress. The length of Molina’s songs is frequently the most talked about element of his music, but for good reason; since 2014’s DISSED AND DISMISSED, he’s found ways to make one-minute tracks feel satisfying in a way few musicians can. These aren’t sketches. They’re not interludes. They don’t even begin to approach the feeling of something done halfway. Rather, they’re just supremely short but deeply fulfilling songs, and on KILL THE LIGHTS Molina has fully moved out of his early lo-fi recordings to something much more polished, which has only reinforced his genius. These tracks have the rock ‘n roll vibration of Jonathan Richman or the Modern Lovers, and the singer-songwriter ear of Simon & Garfunkel or Christopher Owens, but get to the point quickly. A 10-song project that runs at only 14 minutes, it’s a marvel to hear condensed guitar solos, whispering organs, and vocal arrangements transform themselves into something so weighty and pop friendly. The solos on “Nothing I Can Say” and “Give He Take You” in particular stand out as defined moments on a record that’s over as quickly as it started. Even as its smallness delights, KILL THE LIGHTS feels like a large yet necessary evolution for Molina. Check out Tony Molina’s work on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

Crossfader Staff

The good people of Crossfader Magazine.

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