Bandcamp Picks of the Week 1/17/18

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

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Broken Bow

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Genre: Bluegrass, Blackened Folk

Favorite Tracks: “Rats,” “Occam’s Razor,” “Sin Sueno”

Fort Collin-based blackened folk and bluegrass outfit Broken Bow are a gritty and wonderful alternative to the somewhat formulaic music belonging to those respective genres existing on the Bandcamp platform. With a lead vocalist that delivers snarled vocals that resemble that of a hermit who has a penchant for five packs a day, the album has a grime-covered grooviness to it. Broken Bow balances the tonality of the vocals quite well, skirting the line between cartoon-like and sinister. He doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously, yet offers a cutting emotional delivery like on the track “Rats.” The stripped-back instrumentation, including a wash board, creates a rough-around-the-edges tone that paints the picture of being crowded around a campfire. Near the tail end of the song, the singer’s throat-shredding vocals give the track a fantastic urgency. “Sin Sueno,” despite its lack of vocals, was my favorite piece from the album, foregoing DESOLATION’s aggressive and energetic sound to take a minimalist and relaxed approach to its instrumentation. The interlude’s simple acoustic guitar harmonies have a great deal of emotion to them, growing slowly into a passionate and rhythmic conclusion. Broken Bow’s DESOLATION serves as a fascinating melting pot, drawing influence on some elements of metal, folk, and bluegrass, and mixing them all together creates a new beast entirely. The bite provided sets this apart from other contemporaries. You can listen to it here. [Will Turmon]

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Margaret

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Margaret Tracteur – S/T

Genre: Bluegrass, Folk

Favorite Tracks: “L’hiver est long chez vous,” “Lil’ lonesome drinker me,” “Count Backwards.”

Margaret Tracteur’s S/T debut is breezy and mirthful thanks to her deft marriage of punchy bluegrass arrangements and sundry vocals, both cadence and language-wise. Tracteur weaves in her French-Canadian roots on several of the tracks to bring in even more texture to the horseshoe-stamped, whiskey-stained yarns she spins. The album’s instrumentation sustains a balance between intimate and grandiose, reminiscent of vaudeville show tunes where the resources were used to their fullest theatrical effect. On “Le Train de minuit,” everything frolics, from her voice, to the twangy banjo, to the jangly ukulele. Sometimes they illuminate the emotions that Tracteur’s holding back, like the violin on “Count backwards” that croons and cries while Tracteur sings stolid and sure. Sometimes they’re utilized for staging whatever sad-sack storytelling she’s about to relate, like the buzzy, whining trumpet on the intros of “C’est p’tête ben ton chien” andLil’ lonesome drinker me,” and Tracteur keeps their appearance fleeting for the best as she latches onto her dignity: “I may be drunk and awkward / but you realize someday / that through my gibberish and my tears /  I’ll be honest all the way.” Tracteur is a master composer in a sense. She knows that immersion is just as easily obtainable with such a modest setup; there’s no need for epic proportions to put you right alongside her in an empty saloon or a sweeping desert land, tumbleweeds and all. You can listen to it here. [Nick Funess]

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