bandcamp hunter

Best of 2012 - POP/INDIE/LO-FI

It’s been a big year for all things jangly and poppy, especially here in Melbourne. “The New Pop Underground” was the label given to the surge of guitar pop bands in our fair town as it seemed every week a new group popped up, armed with a hot little EP of songs that were often poignant, often funny, and always good. Of course, there were a million other wonderful “pop” and “indie"bands to surface on Bandcamp from around the globe but below are the ones I listened to and enjoyed the most. Often the term "slacker” is applied to these bands but I can tell you that whether it’s a solo bedroom artist or a full band, the artists featured here work harder than anyone I know, in any profession. So it’s not just their beautiful sunny tunes I thank them for, but also for the inspiration they’ve provided me through their goddamn hard yakka.

When Women Played Drums - White Birds

I recall being impressed by the initial White Birds release last year but I wasn’t prepared for the brilliance of this album. The project of one James Harvey from Pennsylvania (seemingly supported by a rotating cast of musicians), White Birds dip into a myriad of musical influences on “When Women Played Drums” to create an album that shines brightly on every track. Yes Harvey borrows-there are elements of doo wop, of soul, of garage rock, of nineties indie, of lo-fi folk-but the sonic bower he creates with these parts is so enchanting and so uniquely his own sound that the listener comes away feeling this is something fresh, new and quite vital. These White Birds are a terribly clever breed, and they have quite a song to sing.
Favourite tracks : Youths, Beehive, Veins Lined With Rust.

Summer Flake EP - Summer Flake 

After playing in a stack of great bands (Batrider, No Through Road), this was the debut solo release of Steph Crase and, man, it’s a beauty. There’s a laconic feel to these songs (I’m avoiding using “slack”) that swim by in lovely blur at times (“Inside Out”) though a perfectly placed buzzing guitar line is never far away. And oh those guitars. There’s a beautiful tone to the instruments throughout though the dance between the guitars and Crase's breathy vocals is a wonderful thing to behold, often recalling Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo. She’s a terrific songwriter to - these song have a real yearning, an authentic prettiness borne of finely crafted lyrics. I’m not even close to getting sick of these songs, doubt I ever will.
Favourite tracks : Run Run Run, The Wedding March (for Jess & Kynan), Inside Out.

I’ve got a friend called emily ferris - Courtney Barnett

Talk about hard working. Courtney Barnett had been playing around Melbourne for a while before this year but 2012 saw her playing more gigs than anyone I know, all on the back of this cracking EP. From the first listens and the initial gigs it was obvious these were songs that were both highly likeable and a little bit different than a lot of other guitar pop going around. Barnett likes to jam and these songs are never in hurry to adhere to any pop rules-see the extended “Are You Looking After Yourself?” and the circular, almost trance like feel to “Canned Tomatoes (whole)”. But she’s a music fan too and draws on her influnces to great effect- there’s country rock and roll here, there’s garage pop there, there’s Cobain and Dando hanging out having a Melbourne Bitter on the garden wall over there. Very much the sound of the suburbs we live in and the shit that goes on within them in 2012.

Favourite tracks : Are You Looking After Yourself?, Canned Tomatoes (whole), Lance Jr.

Wagga Wagga - Velcro

I carp on about honesty in songs a lot and if you know Curtis Wakeling you now these are honest songs. Not in a cathartic-blood on the tracks-crazy horse raw honesty kinda way, but in a “I got drunk and fell off my bike-awkward walk homes after a one night stand-getting high with my mates” sort of way. There’s a wistful longing to some tracks too - “Thawing Out” is a great little song about Melbourne's favourite subject and the vague nostalgia the changing of seasons provokes. The unassuming charm of these songs lays in Curtis’s simple lyrics and the simple sound-no bass, just Ocean Party cohorts Lachlan Denton on drums and the ubiquitous Snowy Nasdaq on guitar along with Curtis. So, less is certainly more here, but the irony in saying this is that the bands Curtis and the other members of Velcro are connected to have put out like 35 albums in 2012. I dug everything they did, but this was my favourite.

Favourite tracks : G&T, Thawing Out, Awkward Mornings.

Life-Size Deadbeats - The Gentle Stunts

Talk to Gentle Stunts main dude Cal McNamara about his band and he is unabashed in his biggest influence. Perhaps you can pick it. Have a listen ^. Yes, McNamara is a Guided By Voices devotee and proud of it. The GBV sound certainly permeates this album in the lo-fi production, obtuse lyrics and the contrast of noise and crisp guitar but McNamara is a fine songsmith in his own right, a Berlin native who at 20 years old has already produced two rather brilliant albums. I’m very fond of all the songs on this album; of their sweet harmonies and the unexpected twists and turns of their winding pop structures. Lose yourself in the payoff of “Hills in the Dark”, walk the streets at dusk while taking in the wistful (and Teenage Fanclub-esque) “Till You’re Often”, get drunk in your frontyard and dance with your friends while “Waving Rather Soon” blasts. This album wants to have a relationship with you. Don’t fight it.

Favourite tracks : Figments in Red, Tall Retrieve, A Past of Fast Lashings.

Other favourites

Wisdom Teeth - MPSO
Zingers | Milk Teddy
Pencil EP | Pencil
Laurentide - Campfires 

New Tastemakers

Can you smell that? It’s the smell of a fresh new batch of tastemakers.To feed your ears press here!

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Gold Flake Paint

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Jordan Beard

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Mayor Marwan

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JJ Baker

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The Venom Blog

Thank you and good night from Bandcamp Hunter.

Listen to this song while you read this, if you like.

Bandcamp Hunter began way back in the Melbourne spring of 2010. Much has changed in my life since then. People, cats, houses, jobs, study, beards…all have come and gone (and come back again in the case of beards), though many things remain the same. Music is still my great love and discovering new music still thrills me. Finding a band or singer/songwriter or synth alchemist who connects with you through their art is a beautiful thing. I feel privileged to have shared all of this music with you. To have consistently found that you seemed to dig it too has provided me with great joy. 

However. Time is the thing. 

These days I am in the second year of a degree studying wildlife and conservation biology. In the first year of study I found the juggling of study, work and blogging to be reasonably manageable but-as fellow students will concur-in second year things step up a bit. The load has intensified. As such I need to bring Bandcamp Hunter to a close. I don’t like saying it’s “dead”, it’s possible I’ll bring it back at some point. Anything Could Happen, you know.The phrase a friend and fellow sci fi geek recommend I use is “in stasis”. I’m not ruling out bringing BCH back from its deep space slumber in a year or five years or ten years, or a clone of me bringing it back in two hundred years, but for now it is entering that frosty compartment and being jettisoned to the outer reaches. I’ve considered scaling the site back and not posting as often but the thing is I spend a lot of time Bandcamp Hunting - too much. BCH has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me but I’ve also developed some bad habits while running it. I need to spend less time on the internet.

The site will remain up for you to browse the archives. 2098 posts in all, accumulated over 3.5 years. Not a bad knock. I still have 3927 links in draft! Some of these have been posted already but most will remain in their purgatorial state, perhaps to be unearthed some day by BCH MKII or in some other form. If you ever sent me music and I said I would post it but did not, I’m very sorry. Things get lost in the backlog and, plainly, I’m a forgetful old bugger. (While I’m here, a little advice to musicians about contacting blogs : do not send giant emails full of band bios, press releases and descriptions of the music. I find it a real turnoff and I know other bloggers do too. Just send the music. It’s all that matters. Also : make nice cover art! Not that hard with technology these days. It matters too).

There are far too many people to thank and acknowledge - by far the best aspect of running BCH has been meeting all the like-minded bloggers, music fans and musicians from around the globe. Your support and kind words have been what’s fuelled the BCH engine, providing me with great inspiration and enjoyment. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to meet a few of you in the flesh some day. I have plans to travel over the next couple of years and if you’re ever in Melbourne do look me up. I’ll be happy to show you our local music scene, which, I maintain, is one of the best in the world. I’ll keep active on the twitter and my email is over there in About. Also be sure to acquaint yourself with my Friends running wonderful blogs and labels if you haven’t already.

Seeing this is my last post I’ll share a couple of my highlights of running BCH with you. Last year myself and Matty Barker of Hawkmoth Records and Water Music organised a benefit gig for the sadly departed Jason Molina. We raised a bit of money for his hospital costs but more important was the positivity we generated from uniting in our love of one mans music and in the singing of his songs. It was a night when I realised the blog had moved far from its beginnings as a time killing endeavour to something much more. It was giving me the opportunity me to meet good people, to share in my appreciation of music with others, and to give something back to that music. It was a very special thing.

The other event that stands out to me was a message I received from Matt of Dream Sick not too long ago. He was appreciative of me featuring his music and revealed that BCH making his album Pick of The Week came at a time when the band was having some struggles. He suggested the BCH post was a shot in the arm for the band during a rocky period, providing some impetus to battle on. So I think it’s fitting that their amazing new album “Morkkis” be the final Bandcamp Hunter post. There isn’t really much more you can ask as a blogger than to play a part, however small, in contributing to a great band putting more music into the world.

I’m going on I know, but I feel I most definitely should acknowledge Bandcamp. When I began it was in its formative stages and has since become a tremendous outlet for a mind blowing range of music from around the world (as has Soundcloud, which I like a lot too). It has been a pleasure to grow my blog alongside Bandcamp; to ride their ever increasing wave, scouring the universe of music that has proliferated within its waters. They are good people with good ideas and a determination to provide digital music with the platform it deserves. Kudos friends. Keep those flames flickering.

To close I urge you to keep supporting the music you love. The world of music has changed completely over the last few years, I believe for the absolute better. The state of music is in the hands of you, the fan, and this is a very, very good thing. Record shops come and go, record labels come and go, blogs come and go, but there will always be people making innovative, challenging and beautiful music. And there will always be people that want to hear it. There are more opportunities now than ever for you to hear that music, though as of today there is one less avenue. But that’s not something to be sad about. Browse the library. Hunt Bandcamp yourself. Keep searching for music that lights up your life, do not settle for mediocrity. Buy that bands music, wear their t-shirts, go to their gigs, tell them they’re great, and sleep well knowing that you are doing something that makes our world a better place. 

Thank you, a million times thank you. I’ll see you on the open road.

JJ Baker

Tussle - Day Ravies

An album of sparkling gems from Sydney band that sit somewhere in the lovely space between dream pop and shoegaze. Great combination of corrosive guitar and pretty harmonies. Multiple singers and songwriters create intriguing variety in the bands sound though the overall atmosphere of Tussle is a positive one, of sun soaked good times in Sydney’s inner west. Highlights are the tight groove of Pinky, the pure organ fuelled joy of Jasmine and Staring Is Caring, the realisation of a fantasy I had about Ride and Low joining forces. Whether it be canyons of guitar noise or buoyant pop bliss, Day Ravies nail it with every moment of Tussle. No good bands in Sydney someone said? Someone’s a fool.

All Mind In The Cat House - Repo Man

Tough as boots, All Mind In The Cat House positively bristles with uncompromising energy and intelligent, scathing lyrics. Released on UK label Lava Thief, the album has the desolate atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic world, recalling the visuals of Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Holds a mirror up to modern life however, especially in the domestic discomfort of Oh Cecil and bustling social narrative of Endangered Agenda. Throwing Kinskis perhaps the finest moment, a song of potent power that best showcases the influence of The Fall and Wire. Sax wigout towards song’s end is an utter headfuck. Kicks hard this album. Feels like a thrashing, a real good thrashing.

Shades 10" - Barbiturates

Detached psychedelic album from Brisbane band, released on “unpopular music” label Lost Race. Captures the feeling of the lingering effects of hallucinogenics, of clarity returning though light is coloured differently, glass continuing its slight melt, particles continue their quiver. Element of sly humour underlies songs, especially the self hate of Look What The Internet Did To Us. Nice contrast between woozy guitar jams (Gone Done It, Rinona Wyder ) and inventive electronic meddling (One Too Young ). They Were Here suggests drug fuelled paranoia while album closer Double Happiness recalls the psych-electro mischief of Gremlins. Drop it, go deep, come down soft. Shades is a great trip.

Stoner Nights - Special Costello

Fits comfortably into no genre but the multifarious sounds on offer here are best described as “psychedelic”. A collection of “out takes and oddities from various sessions”, opening pairing of the breezy Tronic Slizz and emotional Ceiling Sway give way to dark krautrocky Rippus Noice Choice and distorted post punk of Ivory Wallet. The Canadian band are truly chameleonesque; each song- nay, moment- an unpredictable twist into wildly different sounds and styles. Han Solo a beautiful composition with its minimal drone stylings and flourishes of strings, then, finally, “Home Owner”, a meditative drift into deep psychedelic depths. Someone said that a sign of a good band is how good their outtakes are. Special Costello are an amazing band.

No Pizza No Peace - Lil Daggers

Unrelenting midnight menace from Florida psychedelic rock heavyweights. Recalls finest of late 60s psychedelic pioneers and more recent southern US psych revival though Lil’ Daggers set themselves apart with the restraint of their sound, never resorting to histrionics in creating the sinister atmosphere of these songs. After The Flood is instantly appealing with its smouldering rhythm and enticing, reverb laden vocals. Noise and feedback used nicely throughout to add texture to beautifully recorded songs. Terrifc grooves, best experienced in the self descriptive Jazz Tom with its skittering beats and melting organ parts. Stray Chank a grand conclusion, building to almost anthemic heights. A scything display of psychedelic mastery, available on tape through Beyond is Beyond Records.

You should also check out…

Morkkis - Dream Sick

Disconnect - TV Ghost

Black Lassie - Keep On Dancin’s

Bandcamp Hunter Album of the Year 2013

Think Tone - Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk

I can scarcely believe that I have limits, that I am outlined and defined. I feel myself to be dispersed in the atmosphere, thinking inside other creatures, living inside things beyond myself. - Clarice Lispector

It’s been a very formless year for me. This word has continually cropped up in my life, not just in my online endeavours but in my day to day experiences and, increasingly, in informing my own perspective on the world. I have always held the belief that the pursuit of definition is a futile one, that rules are crushing impositions, that there is a place for structure though mostly we must embrace uncertainty. This past year I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the beautiful ambiguity of many things while coming to understand that the rapid change of modern life is incredibly exciting; it should not be feared but celebrated. I believe this is why Think Tone resonated with me so, it seems to be a capturing of these notions. As elusive as they are. I think I called it a “paean to the formless” when I first considered it back in the middle of the year. As such it’s a difficult album to describe, even more so than most music. I’ve been flicking through quotes to inspire this reflection and have found a few that get close to what it is I appreciate about Think Tone.

Ah! these sounds and this motion Must enter my poems and say For me the unsayable in my life, My stubborn childish life that moves only Toward an eternal aspiration for vague things.

- Closing lines of “Ode” (1908) by Valery Larbaud, from The Poems of A. O. Barnabooth, translated by Ron Padgett and Bill Zavatsky

(With thanks to but does it float)

“Eternal aspiration for vague things”. Such words have a more profound effect on me than any religious passage I’ve encountered. It makes sense to gain inspiration the vague things, to not seek answers but to be driven by wonder. I don’t want sing along choruses. I want art that connects to untouched places. Ventures to unseen depths. Lifts new rocks at the bottom of the garden.

We have understood nothing of life until we have understood that it is one vast confusion. - Henry de Montherlant

The songs of Think Tone are not what I’d call “atmospheric” though they are evocative of something. Something ambiguous. Blissful inward journeys. Not harrowing introspections. These songs conjure an atmosphere of the inner landscape. Philosophy and science reach only so far, it’s art that captures the intangible experiences of waking - and dreaming - life.

Music, states of happiness, mythology, faces belabored by time, certain twilights and certain places try to tell us something, or have said something we should not have missed, or are about to say something; this imminence of revelation which does not occur is, perhaps, the aesthetic phenomenom. - Jorge Luis Borges

For me Think Tone achieves a rare combination of aesthetic beauty and subtle existential probing. And it does with hardly any words. Formless phrases. Distorted incantations. Bodiless voices intoning from a late afternoon winter haze, urging you to join you in their ceaseless drift.

“He felt himself pulled outward toward the whiteness, which spread as far as he could see, and which was a part of the darkness from which it glowed, of the clear and cloudless sky without height or depth. For an instant he felt himself go out of the body that sat motionless before the window; and as he felt himself slip away, everything-the flat whiteness, the trees, the tall columns, the night, the far stars-seemed incredibly tiny and far away, as if they were dwindling to a nothingness.” - Stoner, John Williams

I listen to it now, fill my house with it, and I have that feeling you have for music that you’ve come to adore. I don’t seek words to sing along with. I don’t want liner notes, packaging, or any superfluous distraction. Who Baby Birds Drink Milk are does not matter. It matters to be with this music. To be enveloped within its shapeshifting bliss. Think Tone asks questions, it probes, but it does not expect answers. What you draw from its vast formless field is entirely up to you.

To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness. ― The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

Bandcamp Hunter Mixtape #9 October - November 2012

Click here to download all files as a zip (339.2 MB)

Side A

1. Choke Me out Against the Wall - Extra Happy Ghost!!!

2. Rainbow’s Fall - Ciro Madd

3. Suburbs Mystery - Milk Teddy

4. Diamond Sleep - HAUNTED LEATHER 

5. Russia and Mongolia - Airling

6. Knots Unwind - Sarah Mary Chadwick

7. Unified - TANTRUMS

8. Contradicting My Arm - The Watermark High 

9. Keep the Cold Off Me - Burywood

10. Fast - Gum

11. Party Is Over - Snapline

12. The secret life of snails - Sleeping Machine

13. Dreams - Mars Water

14. Geist IX - Lately Kind of Yeah

15. Bon Wier, TX - Pandit

Side B

1. The Looming - Outlands


3. Cariñito - REYNOSA 

4. Spider Alert - Jacob Faurholt

5. Banner - Tyrannosaurus Dead

6. Vicious Cycle - Blackfeet Braves

7. Five Days Heavy Beach

8. Mumble - Atolls

9. Hypervoid - DIVING

10. In The Dam - Ciggie Witch

11. Constellation - Threads

12. Small Hours - Trjaeu

13. Son of Matthew - Pacific Strings

14. Heart of Gold Lion The Weak

15. Moons - VERMA

Bandcamp Hunter Song of The Year 2013

I light my cigarette, I see YOU there - Ensemble Economique

Black has depth.. you can go into it.. And you start seeing what you’re afraid of. You start seeing what you love, and it becomes like a dream.”

- David Lynch

You’re on the Californian coast but here it feels like a city of shadowy drones. In a room deep underground. Something flows under the door like smoke. Crawls to your leg and takes the shape of a hand. A voice of a man buried beneath the floorboard speaks. Those rattatat drums.

Bap bap!

Do not be disarmed by the beat, no matter how strong the pull. Alien guitars fill the air. Maybe it’s late. Maybe it’s the middle of the day. Here it’s forever midnight. Forms present themselves upon the walls. Faint projections of oriental art. Dragons. Rivers. Nāgas. Deep reds. Soft greens. A stifling feeling of claustrophobia gives way to the realisation that this is a dream world. A noir dream world. And it’s beautiful.

You flick the light switch. It doesn’t work. Maybe there was a light cord? You can’t remember the rules for lucid dreaming. You decide it’s not time to think. It’s time to sink. You can’t stop listening to the music. The nocturne of an electric wraith. The occasional flicker of a defunct cigarette lighter in the corner. Still the man talks from beneath the floor. Still you listen. Still you can barely see. You listen and you listen.

Bandcamp Hunter Album of the Year 2012

Western Transport - James Iriwn

“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel-it is, before all, to make you see.” 

Joseph Conrad

Rock and roll can save, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Those who scoff at the power of music simply haven’t been listening to the correct things. When an album comes along that gently places a key in your heart, turns it slowly, opens a reservoir of understanding and feelings that you thought had long gone, colours your world in the prettiest of colours, then you know you are listening to music of real power. Music produced by someone creating something magical, created by someone that deserves to be classed as something higher than an artist. James Irwin is magical.

I’ll admit it, it’s a rare thing these days for me to listen to a full album from beginning to end and truly appreciate every nuance, every subtlety. To appreciate the structuring and sequencing of songs that contribute to said album becoming a cohesive whole. An entire work, ten songs that fit together beautifully and offer something you can sit and listen to and become completely engaged with. A collection of songs that offer something new and fascinating with each listen. I probably don’t appreciate lyrics quite so much anymore either, I don’t obsessively analyse metaphors and messages in songs like I used to. Where these confessions are leading, of course, is to Western Transport. An album that reignited my love of well crafted lyrics and the album as an art from.

Thrown out on the burning road, 

where the wind was moving stones, 

blood pools around my throat, 

like river mud between my toes. 

Let it sink it in. Give it space.


You are on my mind. Are you in my body too? 

When the need goes away will the wanting stay? 

Will you sit seven days hanging on guilty dreams? 

Are you halfway here? Are you halfway to Mexico? 

There’s no way for me to do the quality of these songs justice outside of quoting the lyric. You can listen yourself and read, as these are lyrics that can be read and appreciated on a poetic level. What I can do is expand a little on how they make me feel and what are some of the ideas that lurk within their gently crushing haze.

The reflective quality of these songs from Iriwn are not navel gazing, are not overtly introspective, they are the concise capturing of a vague existential ache that lurks in us all. Music that captures the sad and beautiful feeling of gazing at a glorious sunset, of walking an empty street in the middle of a foggy night and considering it all and nothing at all. Of feeling brutal heartache and wishing it would be gone but understanding this is what we all endure, that this is being alive. “Hearts Like Old Cars” is one of the finest songs I’ve heard in a long, long time. It’s a seemingly simple metaphor that Iriwn uses yet-like the entire album-it is filled with a brilliant swirling depth. The hardening of the heart comes not from cholesterol or double down burgers, but is generated gradually from disappointment, from unrequited love, from too much of life.

Without you I’d be out on a prairie, under a plain blue sky 

with my steady eyes, steady mind, steady rolling, steady engine. I’d drive all night. 

Hearts like old cars, breaking down, breaking down. 

Everybody is haunted, and you cry and cry, never satisfied. Never satisfied.

The longing here is bittersweet and real but there is more to these songs than heartache borne of love gone wrong. These songs are from an artist that is looking at people, looking at how we live, considering how we all think and feel. It is songwriting that posses a power that I rarely find in music, a power usually found only in the greatest literature. 

Tie my friends down to their beds 

Tie my loves down to their beds 

Let these crazy birds fly from their heads 

Put me back in old orange town where we drink alone and go home 

Cause we are up in the middle of the night 

Ringing bells, shining searchlights 

The master asked for a word to pass, 

We don’t have it anymore 

They are words that stop me, that slow time and gently shift gears in my head to different places. To better places. There’s humour in these songs too, quite often I find myself smirking at some of the wonderful, strange imagery within the lyrics. The meandering, otherworldly "Anyone To Serve" is a softly flowing spring of enchanting words, backed by peculiar sounds that sound something like a passing of miniature steam ships.

Now you’re lying on a lion fur, telling me what you deserve. You wrap your lips around a blur of words, strangest thing I ever heard. 

How can anyone, listen to anyone, who’s got their luggage lying all around the room. Love somebody like a child would do. 

As if anybody’s blind with faith. As if there’s anyone to serve. 

Irwin alludes to big questions of faith here but the disarming humour of “How can anyone, listen to anyone, who’s got their luggage lying all around the room" is the work of an artist at play, of a supreme lyricist. Then there’s the (non) appearance of Alice…

Everyone this is Alice, Alice this is everyone. She came all the way from Baltimore with me, and the only one who can see her is me. 

Though they tell me she was never even there, I will carry clothes for Alice to wear, as if anybody’s blind with faith, as if there’s anyone to serve. 

I find these lines so funny and fascinating. They are some of the final words of the album and they leave you confused, exuberant and utterly delighted. In these songs Irwin has created a work of art that can be returned to time and time again. An album that you can pick up like that old paper back you love so much and be transported, be given faith in life, be gently reassured that everything is ok and find affirmation that the world is-despite it all-a terribly beautiful place.

Don’t waste your mind. We die all the time. 

James Irwin

Other Bandcamp favourites from the first half of 2012

In the spirit of music discovery, here are 10 of my favourite Bandcamp releases from the first half of the year with none being a Pick of the Week or a mixtape contributor. Hope you find a new musical crush in here. In chronological order then, from oldest to newest:

Another top shelf release from Baltimore's Friends Records, Secret Mountains have got that smouldering shoegaze sound nailed - pounding rhythm, plenty of reverb and the amazing vocals of Kelly Laughlin combine to create a killer brace of psychedelic songs. Terrific sonic clarity to these songs, those guitars are towering. More please.

A startling debut from New Myths,the work of three girls from New York City. There’s great maturity and swagger to these songs, produced by the band themselves and veteran  Seth Glassman. Lower Dens are an apparent influence however New Myths forge their own distinct sound in these three songs-there’s a hardened post punk edge to the bands indie sound. Can’t help but feel this is a tantalising glimpse of something big.

This album continues to amaze, a display of supreme musicianship that’s wholly arresting. Released on the wonderful Three Lobed Recordings, these songs from Gunn-Truscinski Duo (guitarist Steve Gunn and percussionist John Truscinski) are absorbing musical journeys, winding psychedelic rock songs that explore various genres as the two improvise and build superb sonic structures. Deserves full attention at high volume.

It’s been a real thrill to discover eyes, wings and many other things this year and Napalm Beach was one my most anticpated releases. The album fully delivered, another stellar collection of cosmic psychedelic songs from the Dallas group. There’s an undercurrent of dread to the EWAMOT sound - hazy jams that float down ink black waters under a post apocalyptic sky. Blazing.

Lower Plenty seemed plenty surprised at the enthusiastic reaction to this EP-a heap of radio play and many a sold out gig-but they shouldn’t be. It doesn’t take much effort to become fond of this EP’s blend of bleary eyed folk pop and detached noise, the perfect soundtrack to the middle of a Melbourne year. There's something of sunny suburbia to the Lower Plenty sound that is (I hate this phrase but it's appropriate) uniquely Australian. A simple delight.

I intended writing an in depth review of this album but time conspired against me and in the end I decided I couldn’t do it justice anyway. This album from Canadian James Irwin speaks for itself as one of the finest singer songwriter albums to emerge in recent times. Irwin has a peculiar voice-sometimes sounding like M.Ward, sometimes like Skip Spence-and he applies some beautiful phrasing to his at times oblique lyrics. He can be poignant too-“Hearts Like Old Cars” is one of my favourite songs of the year, so sad and pretty. Irwin is a ghostly poet, no doubt, but it really is best for his words to speak for themselves : “It turns out you don’t know how to be poor. There’s only one way to learn. When you fall off the broken wheel, lie in the weeds and watch it burn.”

Another exciting discovery for me this year has been delving into the psychedelic semi-aquatic world of Panabrite (Norm Chambers). I loved the new album from Chambers though I was particularly intrigued by this collaboration with experimental musician Christian Richer. These are fascinating soundscapes that evoke images of the natural world through electronic and acoustic instrumentation, bubbling like a pixelated brook populated with so many shimmering holographic fish.

One of the real pleasures of running this blog for me is discovering a band and then watching their progress. Such is the case with Eidolons, a Portland band whose album from last year “Wolf Den” I was quite fond of. “China” is a progression from that album (superior production here) while sticking to the band strengths - smart indie pop with clever lyrics and infectious melodies. Cant wait to see what they do next,

I believe I found this album while at a point I sometimes find myself at with BCH - mindlessly hunting through Bandcamp and being totally disinterested in everything I find. The opening chords of this EP instantly hooked me and the drunken delivery of the slacker  lyrics had me sold. Great little lo-fi tunes from J, a mysterious cat from the Czech Republic. There’s such such a charming simplicity to these songs and I loved the touches of horn throughout. Plus it’s a free download.

The latest release from promising Brisbane label Lost Race Records is the psychedelic soundscapes of Caterpillar Hood, the side project of Cobwebbs. These hypnotic pieces are heavy with loops and distortion, at once disorientating and engaging. There’s something of Lee Noble to the pulsing drone and shimmering atmospherics of these tracks, seemingly borne of a dense hallucinogenic haze. Highly potent and terribly good.

Deserve - Weed

Long awaited full length from Vancouver scuzz lords delivers, and then some. Abandoned the lo-fi reflective moments of earlier EPs for all-out unhinged garage rock sound. A great mix of corrosive rock songs that purge and empower (Heal and A Few Healthy Years ) to go with songs that have a more melodic slouch like Silent Partner. Draws on 90s grunge in a totally non-shit wait. Early Dinosaur Jr and Mudhoney a touch stone. Oozes with exuberance and a love of noisy, noisy guitar music. Weed have grown into something great.

CRMNL HYGNE LP - Criminal Hygiene

Hardass garage rock with soul straight outta Los Angeles. Recalls mid 80s Replacements and Husker Dü in the best possible way. For serious. Andrew’s Song and Rearrange Me terrific rock songs. Yearning lyrics, great guitar parts, unabashed honesty. Full Lunar Eclipse another favourite, unwinds with infectious psychedelic jangle. Cover of Kangaroo utterly crushing, a beautiful tribute to Mr Chilton. Fists in the air. Let’s drink that twelve pack.

Thee Open Sex - Thee Open Sex

Heavy like a big heaving semi-trailer. Smouldering guitar parts and superb reverberating vocals from Rachel Weidner set ‘em apart from similar bands. Defiant, relentless rock and roll. Gets pretty cosmic at times (esp. I Do Not Know What) with expansive, swirling guitar wigouts but grounded by pounding rhythms and gritty rock sensibitlites. Great variety in just seven songs (Gimme Away super surfy fun, Light of Love crunchy stoner vibes), it’s a rich rock and roll brew. Drink deep.


Mighty debut from Melbourne three piece on Aarght Records. Three dudes making industrial strength distorto-rock. An unholy union of schizoid percussion and grinding waves of guitar noise. 10 minute centrepiece No Place For A Holiday an intense, stifling punk rock opus. Exhaustion are all about the tension. Put on several stunning gigs, one of the best bands at the Melbourne Music Week’s Swallowed By The Future. Perfectly suited to a cavernous underground setting. Frightening at times. Always thrilling. Always potent.

NOVO’S - The Gooch Palms

Impossibly good fun garage rock from Newcastle two piece. We Get By one of the great rock and roll anthems of the year. Rudely addictive. Hunter Street Mall my other favourite. Makes a day spent amidst urban main street mediocrity sound like just the best time ever. The Cramps are an obvious comparison but Gooch Palms have their own character going on - more minimal, more fun. Less hedonistic. Yet to see live. Will see them live. Touring Oz in March. That’ll be me, front and centre.

You should also check out…

Mess O’ Reds - Mess O’ Reds

Resurrection - Rayon Moon

Complicating Things - The Spinning Rooms

Bandcamp Hunter is now accepting donations

After nearly two years of Bandcamp Hunting I’ve decided to add a donate button to the site. I have a strong distaste for advertising so I think this is the best way for me to potentially earn a bit of money from a project that I’ve poured many, many hours into.
I was planning on holding this off until a long delayed redesign of the site later in the year but, hey, I’m a struggling student and I think my cat needs to go to the vet. The money will also help in funding a few oth

er musical projects I have planned in the coming year (ixnay on the ecordray abellay) and maybe even making a visit to some of my international friends that I’ve met through the site…
If you appreciate what BCH does please consider throwing a few dollars in the BCH tip jar by hitting the donate button. Thank you all for your ongoing support and suggestions, I look forward to many more days of BCHing.