Review of The Tacks S/T

Band: The Tacks

Label: Dust Up Records

Home Base: Christchurch, New Zealand

https://thetacksband.bandcamp.com/album/s-t

https://www.facebook.com/thetacksband/

The TacksThe Tacks is more than a Goth band. They’re a loud, dark, Goth, post-punk band from Christchurch, New Zealand. This five-piece is raw. The self-titled album that was released in early April is riddled with angst and passion. The driving drums and the lo-fi tone mixed with an incredible female punk-rock vocals establish something familiar while creating something unique.

I stumbled upon The Tacks on Bandcamp and was elated to find their album in the top six bestsellers under the Goth category. I gave their song “Merivale” a listen and fell in love with it pretty hard. The EP has four songs and is less than 10 minutes long. Each song is a fast-paced rocker that will get those angsty fires lit within you.

I can imagine being at their show, thrashing and sweating with the crowd, shouting the lyrics along with the band. I remember going to shows like that when I was younger and healed from mosh pits faster. I remember the thrill of being in the middle of everyone, being pushed around like the crowd was a giant wave pool. The terror I’d feel falling over only to find unexpected kindnesses all around me as people pulled me back to my feet. Those were the time’s shows were the most fun. When I didn’t know what to expect from the band but knew it would be a night to remember forever. As I listened to this EP, I got to live in that nostalgic thought.

Some favorite tracks

How Many Times– This song starts with a bang as group vocals shout “How many times?” The energy stays high throughout as a story is told about being let down by someone and wondering how many times they’ll get caught up in their own life only to let others down. Group vocals sing every chorus to emphasize each word and make it impactful. It’s a short song, but it’s oozing with familiarity.

Merivale– If you go to The Tacks’ page, this will be the first track that you hear. It’s a banger. This song has the most post-punk feel with tinnier guitar tones and chord changes that tug on your heartstrings. The chorus has group vocals and is very much a punk chorus, but there are other elements involved. For example, between overdrive and distortion as guitar effects, there’s a chorus pedal that gives it more old-school Goth vibes. Once again, this song isn’t a big-time investment, but it’s very fun and filled to the rim with energy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this entire EP. It reminded me of punk bands I loved as a teenager like The Distillers and X. There were just enough post-punk and Goth influences to make me excited and really look forward to this band’s future.

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Katy’s “End Of Days” Playlist (Vol. 3)

A week from this last Friday was the second day Bandcamp waived their artist fees. Since then, there’s been a burst of new music posted that ranges from one-off projects bred from quarantine boredom to albums that have been in the works for the last year.  Some artists have re-released old albums that were never released digitally while others have chosen archived songs that aren’t new but haven’t been released before.

I’m pretty much saying Bandcamp is rad right now.

There is so much great music out and more coming out every day. It was hard to pinpoint my top favorites, but I’ve spent the last day narrowing my latest playlist to my top six favorite new releases.

Mogwai

ZEROZEROZERO

Scotland, UK

https://mogwai.bandcamp.com/album/zerozerozero

Mogwai

I’ve always been taken aback by Mogwai’s soundscapes. There’s a vastness in their music that can create such a sad, lonely feeling in my gut. It’s crazy how without words, they can say something so well that it brings tears to my eyes. ZEROZEROZERO is the score to the show on Amazon Prime with the same name exploring the inner workings of the cocaine trade. This album gives the story light as it creates action and tension with massive builds and soundscapes.

Favorite Track: Fears of Metal

X

Alphabetland 

Los Angeles, CA

https://xtheband.bandcamp.com/album/alphabetland

Alphabetland

When X announced last January that they were going to be releasing a new album, the punk scene stirred. What would the first album release in 27 years by an iconic punk band be like? Great news, everyone! It’s awesome. X spent the last 18 months writing and recording 11 new tracks that are relevant and hype to hear. When the band hit the scene in 1977, they quickly become prolific for their unique sound. Duel vocals, an homage to multiple rock genres at once, ripping guitars, and attitude. That’s X. This album was released on April 22, 2020.

Favorite Track: Water & Wine

Vlimmer

Pulmo 

Königs Wusterhausen, Germany

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pulmo

Vlimmer

Vlimmer is a music-making machine! This album is dark and ambient with a drive behind it. Though it’s utterly haunting instrumentally and vocally, it’s breathtakingly beautiful simultaneously. Instrumentally, you’ll hear sounds that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand, but then there are these huge vocals and harmonies that hypnotize you. There’s chaos built into the structure of the songs that give you that feeling of tension without pushing you to discomfort.  This album was released on May 1, 2020.

Favorite Track: Phantompflug

Secret Shame

Dissolve b/w Pure

Asheville, NC

https://secretshame.bandcamp.com/album/dissolve-b-w-pure

SecretShame1

When I heard the song, “Dissolve” by Secret Shame, I felt refreshed and excited for more. I heard homage to bands I love like New Order. It literally felt like I was listening to a song by The Cure recorded for 33 1/3 rpm but played at 45 rpm.  This is the perfect cross of post-punk and goth rock. You can feel how much fun the band had creating this EP. It’s because of this that the music that creates a deeper connection with the audience. I’m very excited to hear the other half of this EP when it’s released June 5, 2020. 

Favorite Track: Dissolve

Tabloid TV Darlings

Demo EP 

Melbourne, Australia 

https://tabloidtvdarlings.bandcamp.com/

TabloidTVDarlings

In 2019, four 15-year-olds came together in Melbourne, Australia to form the rad indie-grunge band, Tabloid TV Darlings. The group is heavily inspired by ‘90s alternative rock, specifically grunge. The singer sounds almost exactly like Kurt Cobain, but the band has melodic feel with fuzzed-out guitars and cool vocal harmonies. This group of teenagers has me jealous of their songwriting ability and has me super excited for their future releases. This album was released on May 3, 2020.

Favorite Track: No. 1

Dummy

Dummy EP

Los Angeles, CA

https://notdummy.bandcamp.com/album/dummy-ep

Dummy

Dummy from Los Angelas, CA is a dreamy shoegaze band that echos the sounds of legendary groups like Kraftwerk, Stereolab, and Cluster. Their marriage of rock genres ranging from krautrock to post-punk is enough to give it a unique sound. They take a minimalistic approach to their work but build huge soundscapes within the composition. Each song has it’s own range that builds the album into somewhat of a cinematic-feeling piece overall. This album was released on May 1, 2020.

Favorite Track: Slacker Mask

I know I was a little late to the game by writing these days after Bandcamp waived it’s artist fees, but there’s still amazing music being released every day! There is so much to still be excited about on Bandcamp. Whatever support you can offer to your favorite new artists is always appreciated even if it’s only $5.

I’ve been hearing so much great music these last few weeks and look forward to the time when we’ll all be able to go to shows again and experience music together. Until then, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this segment of “Katy’s ‘End of Days’ Playlist”.

Review of Karl Kave’s album “We Are Sun”

KARLKAVE_WeAreSunAlbumCoverBand: Karl Kave

Album: We Are Sun

Label: Unsigned

Home Base: Zürich, Switzerland

Website: https://karlkave.bandcamp.com/

Karl Kave’s latest album is the perfect blend of lo-fi, garage, electronic beats, and post-punk. It’s vibes range from outlaw country to pogo punk, but it rocks the entire time. When I listened through, I was reminded of bands like The Exploited, The Cramps, Gap Dream, and Orville Peck.  I was also reminded of the original soundtrack of the show “Twin Peaks”. These albums are of my favorites.

The instrumentation ranges throughout from clean and almost sappily romantic-sounding to dark and bruiting. Vocally, all the songs have hints of darkness. It’s the way the vocals and instruments are mixed together and the effects added that drive the impact of the album to the next level. There are twists and turns throughout that make the album more fun the more you listen to it. 

KarlKave

Some favorite tracks

Dreaming– This song starts out and sounds like it will be a super sappy love song.  Once the lyrics come in, the story and it’s setting suddenly change. I’m a huge fan of relatable lyrics and this song has some that really resonate with me.

We Are Sun- I really enjoyed this song because it was so different and bluntly sad sounding in comparison to many of the others. The beat is really cool, like its made mostly from patting lets and clapping hands. This song is really minimalistic in comparison to the others with only vocals, a drum machine, light effects, and an acoustic guitar.

You Left My Heart in New York City- This song is a really great mash-up of indie and country. The lyrics are sad, they tell a story about heartbreak and the big let downs. The lyrics tell a vivid story, but the instrumentation pushes it along. The slow pace adds to the longing feeling the lyrics spell out and adds a heaviness to your heart that words can’t achieve.

Listening through this album made me really miss going to shows.  All I could think about while I listened through was how fun this show would be to see live. I could imagine it. Everyone dancing to songs like “Dreaming” and “Yesterday We’ll Be Dead” and then the crowd falls silent during the slower songs as to not miss a single word. I would love to be at that show.

I really enjoyed listening to this album. The ups and downs were paced perfectly. It was lo-fi, moody, romantic-sounding, and generally amazing. If you’re looking for something new and different that pays heavy homage to the post-punk, indie, goth, and outlaw country genres, then this is the album for you.   

Review of Audrey Burne’s album “Audrey Burne”

AudreyBurne

Band: Audrey Burne

Album: Audrey Burne

Label: Unsigned

Home Base: Saginaw, Michigan

Website: https://audreyburne.bandcamp.com/

AudreyBurneFB2

I feel like I talk about this whole isolation thing a lot these days, but here I am again, about to tell you all something you already know. Times, like we’re living in right now, have been hard and it’s been impossible feeling in certain moments to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully, there’s still amazing art and music to keep things feeling a little lighter or less lonely.

One of the great albums to be released during the “end of days” that I’ve been stoked about is the self-titled album by Audrey Burne from Saginaw, MI. A lot of the albums I review are synth-based because I’m a nerd, but this album pays homage to many of my favorite sounds spanning the decades of alternative rock. It’s goth-rock with glam and angst. Vocally, there is some amazing story-telling going on, but be warned that these stories aren’t for the faint of heart.

AudreyBurneFB

Some favorite tracks

Sagittarius– This song is fast-paced and riddled with anger. The story going on here is one of frustration against a dirtbag person. Jacqui Hoyle’s voice is strong as she rapidly spits fire with her vocals.  The pictured is painted in a way that is so understandable and emotionally triggering because we all know someone like the person being described. Instrumentally, this track is very driving. The guitar and bass lines carry the track’s tension while still being a rock and roll song. The influence of this song is all over the place. Piece of it feels like they’re plucked from the ’80s while parts are hit with a fierce flare that’s brand new.

 

Colossus- This track is pretty rad from beginning to end. It starts with a catchy guitar riff that follows the bass line. Even as the vocals come in, the guitar and bass rip! The chorus has a catchy hook that will get stuck in your head all day. One of the big reasons I like this song so much and feel like it really stands out on the album is this wild little instrumental bridge that happens a little past the midway point in the track. It’s almost like the drum instrumental line in the song “Supernaut” by Black Sabbath, a personal favorite of mine. This little interlude is super noisy on the guitar while the drums remind the listener that they’re still listening to a rock album.

Mother of Tears– For those of you familiar with this band, you may have already heard this banger before. Initially, this track was released on a single in October of 2018 but has been remastered and re-released for this album better than ever. This track has a very classic goth-rock feel to it with waiting guitars and intricate bass. The vocals have a Davy Havoc feel which wraps the whole song up in a cool, unique package.

Overall, I really enjoyed this album. It’s unlike a lot of the things I’ve been listening to and is refreshing to hear. When the world is falling apart and everything feels like murky water, there’s nothing better for me than to hear an album featuring clear instruments and vocals performed by incredibly talented musicians.

If you’re into hype alternative rock with dark, witchy vibes, I highly recommend checking out this album.

Katy’s “End of Days” Playlist (Pt. 2)

Here’s my latest update on life. Like many people, this has been a rough patch. A lot of personal inventory has been had along with tough life evaluations, revelations, and epiphanies. It sucks. Luckily, I have had one thing in my life since I was a little kid that always helped me through the hard times. That thing is music. During this time, a lot of things have shut down. However, music keeps going and keeps getting better by the day.

When I was scrolling through Bandcamp today, I needed some new tunes to carry me through this week and the many moods it would surface. Some of this is brand new, some of it came out this month, some of it is just a preview of what’s to come. All of it’s great.

Nick Griffith

7 AM

Wombarra, Australia

https://nickgriffithmusic.bandcamp.com/album/7am

Nick Griffith_4_1_Review

This indie-rock, electro-pop, synth album is the definition of glee. The songs are fun with lots of quirky samples that seem to be centralized around generally peppy things. Griffith’s voice has a soothing sound to it. Not to say it’s angelic, but something about it feels familiar and refreshing. The music is incredible. It’s fast and in-your-face synth-pop with synthesized drums that incorporates romantic feels at points with unexpected instrumentation. Every track on this album had its own thing that made it stand out. 

Favorite Track: Riding On My Bike

Release Date: March 20, 2020

CHROMB!

Le livre des Merveilles

Lyon, France

https://chromb.bandcamp.com/album/le-livre-des-merveilles

Le livre des merveilles_4-1 Review

‘Le livre des Merveilles’ is absolutely insane. It’s every ounce of what you’d imagine a post-jazz, post-rock, avant-garde, power-pop album would be. You never know what to expect. Each track creates an entirely new landscape and mental image. Some tracks, like “Le livre des Merveilles” are shorter and have a poppier feel, almost like Stereolab.  While other tracks like “Le fleuve Brison” start a little more cosmic feeling and take their time building into hugeness. The album maintains is unpredictability throughout splashing in longer experimental interludes featuring instrumentation from synths to strings within the tracks. Also, there are a ton incredible vocal harmonies.

Favorite Track: Le fleuve Brison

Release Date: March 27, 2020

Blankenberge

More

Saint Petersburg, Russia

https://blankenberge.bandcamp.com/album/more

Blankenberge

If you’re in dire need of walls of sound with pop-rock vibes underneath, this is the album for you. Blankenberge has fused together shoegaze, dream-pop, and post-rock together in a way that is astonishing. The instrumentation is saturated in a way that hits you in big emotional waves. One of the guitars sounds super wet and surfy, while the other creates ambiance and space. The songs are still driving and sometimes really upbeat, borderline optimistic-sounding, without being overtly happy. The vocals are super saturated and act as more of an instrument than lyrics to sing along with. There are huge post-rock builds and unexpected rhythmic changes throughout that make each song increasingly interesting. Altogether, it’s really beautiful music that makes ya feel good.

Favorite track: Look Around

Release Date: April 10, 2020

ODDLY

Loaded EP

Kyoto, Japan

https://oddlyband.bandcamp.com/album/loaded-ep

Oddly

“ODDLY is a 3 piece rock band with no bassist. Why we don’t need bass? Cuz we’re louder than that.” I took that from their Bandcamp about section because I thought it was perfect. It perfectly describes who they are and kind of how they sound,. Don’t let their promise of loudness dissuade you. I mean, it’s pretty loud, but it’s intricate and fun with little happy vibes overall. There’s a classic, early 90’s alternative punk vibe to it with apathetic vocals riddled with angst. I love the call-and-response in songs like their featured track, “Loaded”. From beginning to end, this EP is everything it promised to be with its title.

Favorite Track: Loaded

Release Date: March 27, 2020

SPC ECO

4EP April EP

UK

https://spceco.bandcamp.com/album/4-ep-april-ep

SPCECO

SPC ECO consists of former Curve member Dean Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin. They’ve been doing this project actively since 2007 and have been putting out shorter EP’s the last few months. This EP is very fun and poppy with some really chill electronic songs and some really energetic songs. The dreaminess of this album is almost immeasurable. When you close your eyes and listen to tracks like, “Don’t Mind Me,” the mental scenery is so bright and positive. Other tracks, like my personal favorite, “Who We Are” have a more melancholy vibe to them with experimental textures and synth. This is an alum that you can get hypnotized by and utilize when you’re doing extended outside tasks like walking around, gardening, or driving.

Favorite Track: Who We Are

Release Date: April 1. 2020

Spring Reverb

It’s a Feeling She Don’t Believe In

Portland, Oregon

https://springreverb.bandcamp.com/album/its-a-feeling-she-dont-believe-in

SpringReverb

Okay, so this isn’t an album or an EP, it’s just a single. However, I’ve been obsessed, now listening to this track a dozen times. I can’t tell you what exactly I love about it so much. Is it the excessive use of spring reverb or that classic tone on the organ. I love the fact that it sounds like you’re listening to the track on a warped piece of vinyl. Something about it is so positive at the same time as being so haunting. It has every ounce of a happy day song when you’re driving down the street, wind in your hair, styling some huge fashionable sunglasses while still being ever so slightly unnerving. There’s nothing minor or negative about this jangle-pop track, which is something really great to be able to listen to and really enjoy right now. I can’t wait to hear more from this band.

Only Track: It’s A Felling She Don’t Believe In

Release Date: March 30, 2020

Once again, I hope you all enjoyed this installment of “Katy’s ‘End of Days’ Playlist”. I enjoyed making it. There’s a ton of amazing music coming out regardless of the world situation that can give us all a little comfort right now. Whether you’re into dark, heavy stuff or prefer things to be a little lighter right now, there’s something out there for you to enjoy. You just have to dig a little. Hopefully, these lists help steer you in the right direction.

Things are tough, but you better believe we’re tougher than this. Stay safe and healthy if you’re able to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Reach out to your friends and family and find something to occupy your mind so things don’t feel as dark. I’ve chosen to deep dive into Bandcamp and have found it to be a sanity-saving time consumer.

You are cared about even if it’s by someone or a group of people you’ve never met. We care about you. All of you. We want to help make this time bearable for people who aren’t used to being home all the time and severely want everyone to get through this with as little damage as possible, but we’re also here if you just need to talk to someone. Reach out. We love you all.