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 Death Loves Veronica “Lucid Dream”

http://www.veronicacampbellofficial.com/

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/

Going to try something a little new for our review of the latest release of Death Loves Veronica. Katy and I are both big fans but both come from fairly different backgrounds. So we are going to do a duel review. Listening to the songs separately and not discussing. Then posting our thoughts here to feel this album through a couple lenses.

Overall Impressions:

Katy – I really enjoyed this album from beginning to end. The album is dynamic with different feelings associated with every song. Each track had its notable mentions, but a few really resonated with me in a long term way. Spending a bunch of time in my apartment makes me really appreciate albums that keep me wanting more. Death Loves Veronica is an amazing project that creates some of the best music for the timing of my life. This album was exactly what I needed and I’m so grateful it exists. 

 

Ken – I have been waiting for this record for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Veronica’s work for a while and she really took time with this one. It just bleeds soul and internal honesty. I think what left me so struck was how it had a powerful moody synth feel, but the vocals really showed her Texas style. I heard a real rich story teller feel of Dolly Parton or Patsy Cline. It fills a real void in the current scene and I found my mind often getting lost in the narrative of the songs. It has a moderate pace that grinds and builds and really throws a smokey spotlight on the journey and reflection.

 

What did it make us feel? :

Katy – Each song evoked a different kind of feeling, but overall I felt fulfilled. Some of the songs made me smile, others made me think deeply because the music or words felt relatable. I found myself gazing at the wall adjacent thinking of my teen years and how these songs feel just as relatable now as they would have then. 

Ken- I love the way Katy said it was related to her teenage years. For me I kept finding myself dwelling on a more mature voice reflecting on the wounds and lessons of the past carried with us into modern experience. I think it says a lot about a song writer when she can send an emotion and have the same basic concept touch different listeners through different lenses. These songs felt so solitary and sending communication across the world to someone lost. Obviously this hit hard in the modern world.

Blood King:

Katy- This song has layers. Blood King has a spooky vibe from the riff on the organ to the story being dictated vocally. Generally, the song has a very rock and roll feel to it, the kind that makes your feet move and your head bop despite being minimalistic musically. The first time I listened through it, that’s basically what I walked away feeling. Like, “Wow, that was a fun track!” Then I listened to the words closer and realized how incredibly dark the song is. 

Ken – I love the spooky organ on the opening. It really sets up this villainous character . Then the chorus kicks up the drums and torments the protagonist with a spectral voice telling us you can’t escape. Sizzingly buzzy guitars, I love the difference and range between the two vocal styles.

I Came Here For You:

Katy – This song is one of my favorites on the album. I don’t know how to feel when I listen to it. It’s very sexy in one regard, but once again has an overall feeling of creepiness. It’s almost like it’s the standpoint of the predator from Blood King instead of being from the standpoint of the victim. Once again, this song has a rock and roll feel to it that makes you move, but this track has a lot more mischief in its instrumentation. There’s a riff on a bass synth that gives the song more of a feeling or pursuit. The chorus is huge sounding and direct lyrically. Suddenly, you no longer feel like you’re quickly walking down a streetlight lit sidewalk, but in a people filled nightclub.

Ken- Hard agree Katy, this is such a jam. It’s slow and smokey. Those tiny pin prick finger taps crawl on your spine. This really has that sultry sexy soul to the vocals. This is a song of power, stalking, both a fear and admiration. I really heard a story, not of love, but of apprenticeship. I desire to touch danger, not to be with it, but to remake yourself with it’s aspect. That chorus is such a massive hit with the wall of sound on the guitar, but the tempo never increases. It leaves such a striking feeling of being stunned in your tracks.

Alone:

Katy – This is a slower ballad that revolves around lost, love. This is one of the tracks that makes me remember all those messy breakups from when I was younger. “I can’t dance all night without you.” I get that. I feel that. This song has an overall melancholy tone instrumentally with a heartbreaking chorus. Though it is somber, it’s still a pop song, so the synths add a little glee to the mix. Whether it’s the lyrics or the instrumentation, there’s something in this song to cling to and feel some kind of relatable feeling with. 

Ken- That snare is hitting so crisp. Veronica is using a airy and and distant voice in the intro. It really hits with a loveliness. The chorus line of “I can’t dance without you” is powerful and resonates something we have all felt. The forced facing of a memory which stings but also recalls the beauty of that moment. The background glitching static uses a cool sound effect to help add to the narrative. I love how much thought went into the composition of these songs. I am loving how in sync Katy and my take was here. I feel that speaks to how on target this song hits.

Witch:

Katy- “I am the witch, I will destroy you.” This song has me thinking of multiple movie plots that would all be very great and range from horror movies like “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” to a fierce empowerment flick about a woman done taking shit from some dude! Safe to say, this song gets me amped. It has a slower tempo but has huge synths and guitars making it anthemic. 

Ken- I really like the slow mystical groove on this one. Veronica does that wonderful sultry whisper, offset by a call back distorted voice to add broken glass edge. It has this cool LA almost Courtney Love feel, which for me is a huge compliment. I love Katy’s call out of how hard this hits for being a slow song. Use of dynamics to achieve a magical fireball to the face. Just dripping with bad ass feminine energy. This is a total last girl song.

Crushed:

Katy- This song is my favorite on the whole album. It’s so sad! The longing conveyed through this track is so impactful. The synths in the second verse wobble and create that tension and uneasiness, that discomfort… it’s the sounds of how I feel right now. This track also highlights how dynamically ranging this album is. Through most of this album, the songs are driving and poppy whereas this song has an almost lo-fi indie feel. Maybe it’s because most of the song revolves around a simple, but longing-sounding bassline. The things Veronica is saying are so simple and direct that they crush your heart. 

Ken- I knew right away why this was Katy’s favorite. Huge dreamy David Lynch vibes here. Almost a sinister surf shoegaze feel. Great transition at 1:30. The way the layers build here is so effective, just adding one piece at a time to keep the drive doing.

Closing thoughts?

Katy- I highly recommend this album. If you’ve been a follower of Death Loves Veronica, you should be excited. If you’re new to her work, check it out because it’s an incredible range of sound and influence. Death Loves Veronica has always been amazing at telling a story and really selling a scene and I’d debate this is the best landscape of those talents so far. Like I’ve said already, this was exactly what I needed right now. It’s not an album of the same thing over and over.  When the world feels like it’s falling apart, it’s reassuring to know that there’s anything to make it feel any better. Right now, there’s a ton of amazing art and music being made and we’re so incredibly lucky to be able to listen and share it. 

Ken- Hard agree, as someone who is already a fan of her work this album was my favorite so far front to back. It’s all the things she does well, done better. The concepts are direct and narrative. The vocals a slow drink of premium whiskey. More than anything though the way she uses a minimal amount of sounds to layer perfectly to add flesh and blood to the story of her words. I hear a lot of the soul power of a Chelsea Wolfe, with an electronic and intricate design. Doing more with less to tell the story of a journey to the past and back again.