Bandcamp Picks of the Week 5/18/16
Lake Michigan – GLEAMING
Genre: Lo-Fi Indie
Favorite Tracks: “Clissold Park 6am,” “Neon,” “Junk Food”
Now admittedly, this is a lo-fi indie cassette, so you probably can already surmise that it’s going to be fragile, intimate, you know the drill. However, the reason why I was so instantly gripped by Lake Michigan is the completely unexpected vocals that Chris Marks employs. Sounding like the most baritone of forest hermits, Chris Marks doesn’t so much as sing as mutter tangentially melodic phrases into the microphone. On its own it would be of tenuous enjoyment, but the dialectic it engenders with the expected bedroom fare of crooning Casio chords and softly plucked acoustic guitar creates a fascinating blend of styles and intent. In many ways, it’s refreshing to have the typical “twee” fare be left so far behind in the distance, as GLEAMING becomes far more of a contemporary of folk and rough country as a result. Hearing angst and profound sadness be delivered by the sonic equivalent of a grumpy octogenarian bear ends up being all the more powerful. You can check it out here.
Vektor – TERMINAL REDUX
Genre: Technical Thrash Metal
Favorite Tracks: “Charging the Void,” “LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease),” “Ultimate Artificer,” “Pillars of Sand”
Holy shit! This is one of those releases that should be wept for, as the unfortunate stigma anything labeled as “metal” possesses will detract listeners from indulging in what is definitively the best metal release of recent memory. An endlessly captivating 73-minute journey through unforgiving alien landscapes, Vektor exists at the perfect nexus between an innumerable variety of metal styles and schools of thought. Although firmly based in the headbanging onslaught of thrash, the “technical” label arrives in full force here, as David DiSanto and Erik Nelson treat us to soaring, virtuostic solo after solo. The drumming is complex and layered, bringing to mind the vaguely jazz-influenced predilections of the 90s tech-death scene, and the vocals are carry the appropriate levels of harsh aggression without pummeling the listener into unwilling submission. But far more impressive is the palpable scope of the album, fully earning the “progressive” label without losing itself in a mire of noodling, aimless pretension. As many are claiming on the internet, TERMINAL REDUX is reminiscent of Rush filtered through a labyrinthine thrash lens, and is by far one of the most captivating releases of 2016. You can check it out here.