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Bandcamping: Arm Yourself With Brash Hip-Hop And Soothing Americana

Here’s a little behind the scenes of how Bandcamping works: Once or twice a week, I browse 200 pages of new Bandcamp releases, weeding through them to find five worthy of prime Nerdist real estate. There are eight albums per page, meaning that I consider about 1,600 albums or more per week for Bandcamping, even if for many releases, “considering” amounts to little more than seeing the pedestrian cover art and glazing right over it.

Counting the Honorable Mentions I pick every week (there are usually about three or so), this means that about half of one percent of the albums on Bandcamp find their way onto this list. Sturgeon’s law states that “ninety percent of everything is crap,” and I bring that up not to demean the albums that don’t appear here, but to compliment the ones that do. Out of hundreds of options, the albums below rose to the top.

Good on you, musical people. Here are those aforementioned records:

5. BRKN RCRD by Ben Thompson

brkn rcrd

Genre: alternative hip-hop
If you like: Childish Gambino, Drake

There’s always a need for the brand of chill hip-hop that the Internet, Drake and vaporwave helped spawn, and BRKN RCRD fits that mold just fine. Heavy bass, trap-style percussion, laid-back rhymes: It’s all here, and it’s great.

4. Geometry by Mountain Projector

mountain projector

Genre: indie rock, dream pop, psychedelic pop
If you like: Vetiver, Nada Surf, The Clientele

The album page for this record does a lot of talking about metaphysical matters, and the laid back indie rock vibes certainly do provide the opportunity to lay back and think introspectively about being, knowing, time, space and whatever abstract concepts your mind can ponder.

3. For The Story EP by Aaron Dombey

aaron dombrey

Genre: indie folk, indie rock, singer-songwriter
If you like: Bon Iver, Jack Johnson

This sounds like standard singer-songwriter fare at first, but the electronic drums and horn embellishments give this release a voice that’s simultaneously familiar and adventurous. That could also be because Dombey’s vocal style is extraordinarily similar to Jack Johnson’s, but he does very non-Jack Johnson things instrumentally.

2. The Frequencies by The Frequencies

the frequencies

Genre: indie rock, pop rock
If you like: Wilco, early Coldplay, Pete Yorn

Sometimes, a gentle dose of Americana is all that’s necessary, and The Frequencies scratch that itch perfectly. They pull it off without trying too hard or getting in their own way, doing what many others have done before them and succeeding because earnest songwriting and soothing vocals.

1. SUI // RAP by youngster jiji

sui rap

Genre: alternative hip-hop, alternative, experimental
If you like: Tyler, The Creator, Death Grips, Yung Lean

Hip-hop seems to break new ground every day, and with that comes a wave of imitators doing their sanitized impression of the day’s new sound. That’s not youngster jiji, though, who brings a brash, aggressive and seemingly out-of-control energy to his contemporary compositions. It feels like each track could completely fall apart at any second, but jiji always manages to keep it together, the sharp turns slamming you against the car door and making you feel something every time.

Now, here are a couple albums that were also up for top-five consideration:

Honorable Mentions

Clear as Rain by Eamonn’s Daemons
Genre: indie rock
If you like: Father John Misty, Jack Johnson

A Room of One’s Own by Yuhan Su
Genre: jazz
If you like: vibraphone

That’s what we came across this week, but until next time, let us know in the comments which albums were your favorites, what we missed, and what we should look forward to. If you missed out on last week’s list, you can find it here (and the complete Bandcamping archives are here).

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