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Bandcamping: The 5 Best Underground Albums of August 2017

Over the past however many installments of Bandcamping we’ve run in this space, we’ve highlighted a variety of different artists working in a bunch of genres, and all of them have made us bob our heads, close our eyes and relax, and sometimes just smile. That’s worked pretty well so far, we think, so let’s keep it up: Here are the five best underground albums we found on Bandcamp this month.

5. You Got To Start From Somewhere EP
by M.

Genre: hip-hop, alternative
If you like: DJ Shadow, Moby

Lithuanian producer M. has been working on this, his debut EP, for the past three years, and in that time, he’s come up with a bevy of engaging compositions. “A Chase In A Jazzy Jungle” kicks off the EP with a catchy sound collage, “Concentration” is some rhythmic house made for a night drive, and while the more straightforward hip-hop moments aren’t this album’s strong suit, they’re definitely worthwhile.

4. ELECTRIC SLEEP by Night Listener

Genre: synthwave, indie pop
If you like: SURVIVE, Hot Chip

After Drive, Stranger Things helped make synthwave a thing again, and now plenty of bands are adding to that paradigm. This album from Arkansas’ Night Listener leans into more indie electronic territory, though, driven more by vocals than ’80s horror movie aesthetics.

3. Anthropocene by Sam Humans

Genre: indie rock, indie folk, experimental
If you like: Beck, Iron & Wine, Father John Misty

This release from Hawaiian musician Sam Humans is tough to pin down. He wears a lot of different hats on this 8-track effort: Album opener “Gathering Light” is a twinkling crescendo party, “Breathe Into Me” is more straightforward acoustic folk, and “This World’s Gone Random” is a reggae-influenced experimental cut. There’s a lot to love here, especially for fans of track-by-track variety.

2. El Morán by Máscaras

Genre: rock, punk, psychedelic rock
If you like: The Mars Volta, The Grateful Dead, Primus

This instrumental EP only runs for about 15 minutes, so it wastes no time getting right to it with the thumping drive of title track “El Morán,” which lays down a killer groove propelled by the plucky and frenetic pace of the guitar. The rest of the psychedelic rock EP carries on with the same sense of adventure, and we’ll take as much as they want to give us.

1. Both Sides of the Ceiling by Duncan Fellows

Genre: indie rock
If you like: Grizzly Bear, Real Estate, Manchester Orchestra

Experimentalism is fantastic, but it’s also true that it’s not necessary for every band to reinvent the wheel. Similarly, Austin, Texas group Duncan Fellows hits a lot of familiar vibes — “Sleeper” has some Fleet Foxes-style vocal melodies, “Sway” exists in the same universe as Real Estate’s brand of chill — and they’re doing it so well that there’s no reason for them not to.

Honorable Mention

Floodplain by Danville
Genre: Americana, folk, country
If you like: The Allman Brothers Band, Wilco

That’s all for August, but until next time, let us know in the comments which of these albums were your favorites, what we missed, and what we should look forward to. If you missed out on July, check it out here (and the complete Bandcamping archives are here).

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