Welcome, valued readers, to another month of our esteemed Hidden Gems of Bandcamp feature. You may have noticed that it’s arrived a little early this year, and you would most certainly be correct in noticing that! In the spirit of giving, we’ve decided that this December we would treat you to not one, but TWO collections of wonderful new music to share with you, and, subsequently, for you to share with your loved ones.
So hold on to your butts, kids, and prepare yourselves for a thrill ride full of sad and energetic music to help get you through the holiday season. You can check out part I of our best December finds below.
P.S. In a twist for this half of our December list, a handful of these gems cost more than the usual $Free.99. We’ve punished our Bandcamp diggers accordingly, but you might want to dip into your holiday bonus this time around. (Just kidding, we know you didn’t get a bonus this year.)
1. Math the Band the Band
Let’s get this out of the way: Math the Band the Band is pretty much the same group as Math the Band, who we’ve previously covered on this site before. It’s kind of cheating to include them here. But who cares about rules when the music is so fun? Whereas Math the Band consisted of Kevin Steinhauser, with Justine Mainville, Math the Band the Band consists of a full seven person line up, effectively shifting the dynamics of the band’s sound, and boy-oh-boy is it a party. Imagine if Andrew WK joined Bomb the Music Industry! and performed an Anamanaguchi cover set. If that sounds like a blast to you, you’ll want to check out Math the Band the Band – The Album. Confused yet? Don’t worry, just have fun.
Recommended Track – “Didn’t Have Time to Think”
2. Dyke Drama
As exciting as it is that a band like G.L.O.S.S. has been gaining widespread recognition (even if the catalyst was not the most ideal situation), it’s no secret that their music isn’t exactly accessible to the masses. If you feel that way, perhaps it would pique your interest to know then that G.L.O.S.S. vocalist Sadie Switchblade also performs under the name Dyke Drama, producing music along the lines of middle-era Replacements or early Goo Goo Dolls (and if you’ve ever listened to any early Goo Goo Dolls records, you’d know that there are much worse things to be compared to). Dyke Drama only has a single EP, Tender Resignation, to their name right now, but it’s a damn good EP.
Recommended Track – “Crying in a Bathroom Stall”
3. Posture & the Grizzly
Hailing from Windham, CT, Posture & the Grizzly don’t really have many fucks to give. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about that boy with the Brand New shirt. They don’t give a fuck about Beck’s Mellow Gold. They might not even really give a fuck about themselves. But on their debut LP (mini-LP? Who gives a fuck.), Busch Hymns, one thing is clear: They do give a fuck about making great tunes. Or maybe they don’t give a fuck about that either, and they’re just good at it anyway. Either way, they’re worth your time even if you don’t think you give a fuck.
Recommended Track – “Modern Punk”
Boston is a city well known for its sports, but now be prepared to learn even more about Boston’s sports.. This three piece from Beantown are the type of band that I wish I had known about in high school. On their debut LP, demon daze, there are hints of influence from both emo’s heyday and early 2000’s punk rock, with the guitars arpeggiating all over the place and self-deprecating lyrics, and the vocals are delivered with a conversational shout and the songs are played with a high energy. The trio recently signed to Broken Rim Records, who have also handled releases by a diverse ranges of acts such as Turnover and Great Collapse, so you know they’re in good company.
Recommended Track – “Police//You’re Outta Here”
Do you like your punk fast and short, with a vocalist who is both gruff and nasal at the same time? Look no further than NYC’s Vanity. This duo-turned-full-band put out their debut LP, Vain in Life, late last year and play good old fashioned rock-n-roll inspired oi. It’s so bare bones that there’s nothing else to say about it. Just listen.
Recommended Track: “Fuck Right Off”
6. Kara’s Walk Home
If you’re in the mood for something completely different than street punk, Kara’s Walk Home might be more your speed. Formerly known as Akira Flip, this indie emo act’s debut album, I Don’t Want to Look at the Stars, is full of intricate compositions heavily driven by piano that often exceed 6 minutes (the album centerpiece, “Weekend! Party With Your Friends!” is a whopping 12 and a half minutes long). Couple that with vocals that alternate between a nasal whisper and an off-key warble and lyrics that express both sad feelings (“And I guess it wasn’t all that bad, I just gotta stop saying ‘sad’,”) and poetic imagery (“I never liked swimming but I like the idea that touching the Pacific is like touching the Earth”). The emo revival scene has been kicking it for awhile now, and Kara’s Walk Home might be the catalyst to take it to the next level.
Recommended Track – “Escape from the City”
7. Daddy Issues
Is there anything better than discovering a great new band only to discover that they’ve already broken up? Oh, you don’t like that? That’s too bad, because we’re about to acquaint you with Daddy Issues. This North Carolinian four piece dissolved earlier this year due to commitments outside of music, but not before they recorded Fuck Marry Kill, an 8 song (mini?) LP that’s equally snotty and laid-back. It’s the kind of album you’ll want to play obnoxiously loud on a windy day at the beach. Don’t be turned off by the $7 price, since the band broke up they’ve decided that 100% of proceeds from the album will go to Girls Rock NC. Plus, the music is well worth the price.
Recommended Track – “All My Girls”
8. PWR BTTM
PWR BTTM haven’t been around for a very long, but they’ve managed to gain momentum that some bands can only dream of. Formed at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (for you non-NY state readers, it’s not upstate NY but for simplicity’s sake we’ll say it is), this power duo have released a steady stream of glam-inspired garage tunes, including their split EP with fellow Bard band Jawbreaker Reunion, and their solid debut LP, Ugly Cherries.
Recommended track – “Serving Goffman”
What’s this, another band called SPORTS? You damn well know it. There’s more differences here than just the formatting of the band’s name. Whereas Boston’s sports. mixes 90’s twinkly emo with the sing-along shouting of early 2000’s pop punk, this SPORTS (hailing from Gambier, OH) utilizes fuzzy pop and catchy-as-hell melodies as their main vehicle. On their latest album, All of Something, they pair their musical combination with snazzy lyrics that will make you say “aww” and “oh damn, that’s some real shit” at the same time, creating a pop album that you don’t want to miss. If the $9 price tag is a bit too steep for you, you can still check out their previous material, most of which is available as a free download on Bandcamp.
Recommended Track – “Get Bummed Out”
10. The Spook School
Straight outta Edinburgh, Scotland, The Spook School are a lo-fi, not quite folk, kind of poppy, punk act. They rally against terrible things in the world while trying to keep their heads up, and they write catchy jams to do it. So basically, they’re like a Plan-It-X band (Just so you know, they were featured on the It Came from Plan-It-X 2014 compilation). They recently released their sophomore album, Try to Be Hopeful, earlier this year, and much like Against Me!, they prove that protest music can still be pleasing to the ear. Unfortunately, the entire record is not available to stream on Bandcamp, although you can still listen to the entire album here, and if you live outside of the UK and want to avoid shipping fees, you can check out the album on Amazon or the iTunes Store. (Links are to the US stores, sorry everyone else.)
Recommended track – “Burn Masculinity”
Missed any of our previous Hidden Gems of Bandcamp entries? You can get caught up on all the new and (mostly) free music here. And feel free to let us know some of your favorite Bandcamp discoveries in the comments!