Bandcamp Picks of the Week 6/13/18

Bandcamp Picks of the Week, as large and in charge as ever

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Peggy Gou

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Peggy Gou – ONCE

Genre: Deep House

Favorite Tracks: N/A

Time to shut the fuck up and shake ya rump! For some inexplicable reason, this hasn’t fared nearly as well amongst online critical circles as it should have, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a reason why. A sleek, effortlessly cool after-hours romp, every track on ONCE confidently owns its separate mood. “It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)” evokes the roiling masses of an invite-only warehouse party, bolstered by its cohesive integration of crisp nu-disco callbacks and the groove-oriented Afro-House currently popular amongst the post-hipster set. Something for the purists, “Hundres Times” doubles-down on a stripped-back tour of the percussive low-end and uncompromising synth hits of acid house, while closer “Han Jan” is perhaps the most distinctive and charismatic, a curious bass lick leading us around a swirling dervish of enticing vocals courtesy of Gou herself, practically placing itself in an underground art gallery showing. Yes, I suppose there’s not really an overarching mood or theme attempted here, but it’s an EP, lighten up a little! Each and every cut demonstrates that Gou is a voice to pay attention to, and while I’m salivating at the mouth in anticipation of catching a live DJ set, there’s also the strong promise here of a rare electronic artist that could stay interesting throughout the runtime of a full-length. Do yourself a favor and check it out here. [Thomas Seraydarian]

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Pllush

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Genre: Indie Rock

Favorite Tracks: “Ortega,” “Big Train,” “3:45,” “Stuck to You,” “Okay,” “Shannon”

STRANGER TO THE PAIN is the rare 37-minute album that feels longer in a good way. San Francisco quartet Pllush have spent the last several years exploring lo-fi, shoegaze, and dream pop, but their debut delights in its ability to underpin many of the lessons they’ve learned from those genres and regurgitate the ideas into a colorful collection of fairly straightforward and occasionally mountainous rock songs. At times, STRANGER TO THE PAIN has a delicious snarl behind it, with rock songs that box harder and more violently than anticipated. The vocals manifest either in a dry drawl (“3:45,” “Syrup,” “Oretga”) or a broken coolness (“Restart,” “Okay,” “Shannon”), and singers Karli Helm and Eva Treadway recontextualize the band’s often blurry mix of bright rock and overcast gloom. The first three tracks are mammoth walls of sound, “Elliot” building into a full, cooing melody of guitars and drum clicks, and “Syrup” and “Ortega” carry the opening momentum into somewhat cynical but nonetheless huge, devolving kickass rock songs. All of this leads into loose, downtrodden break-ups with big choral finishes (“Big Train”), intense acoustic reveries (“Okay”), and warm, fulfilling conclusions (“Blue Room”). Never once during STRANGER TO THE PAIN does it occur that this would be the band’s debut. The production, with a special shout out to Dylan Lockey’s unsung but assured drum sound, is a perfect mix of poppy and hazy, navigating double-downs on the group’s hookier material, longer meandering orchestrations, and the occasional sonic detour (namely interlude “Sleeper Cab”) with a sense of genuine purpose that makes those 37 minutes stretch with a strange yet tight diversity. To say STRANGER TO THE PAIN took me by surprise would be an understatement, but let me rectify my preconceived misjudgment of its greatness by saying its one of the year’s best indie rock records. Go listen to it on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Karli Helm as the sole vocalist

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