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Bandcamping: The Best Underground Albums of July

Those of you who have been keeping up with Bandcamping know that we recently made the decision to streamline it by reducing its frequency to a single monthly post for reasons we previously described by talking about pancakes.

The format of this space isn’t going to change aside from that, but I would like to point out that since the beginning of the column (January 2016), I’ve been maintaining a Soundcloud playlist of songs that have appeared in Bandcamping (currently 87 songs deep). Since this column is now going to produce fewer music recommendations overall, I’ll be adding songs to the monthly Soundcloud playlists that didn’t make the cut for whatever reason, that reason usually being because they were singles which weren’t part of a strong album or were just released independently.

If that interests you, check it out here, and oh yeah, here are this month’s best underground albums as seen on Bandcamp:

5. Too Much of a Good Thing by Seasaw


Genre: indie pop, alternative
If you like: Hot Chip, Noah & The Whale, Tegan & Sara

Seasaw hails from Madison, Wisconsin, but musically, they’re all over the map. They can produce pretty indie folk ditties like album opener “Folklore,” then they’ll hit you with a bizarre alternative track like “Waiting Song,” and then you’ll get indie rock filtered through a Sega Genesis from “Into The White.” The duo hits a bunch of extremes, and they don’t pull any punches while doing so.

4. Abyssinia by Mos Generator


Genre: metal, hard rock
If you like: Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, Baroness

We know that Ozzy Osbourne is still alive, but it feels like at least part of the Black Sabbath frontman was reincarnated in frontman Tony Reed. The sludgy, old-school metal sound of Mos Generator is also perfectly content in being behind the times, because the early ’70s, when Sabbath and similar groups were taking off and defining metal for future generations, was a beautifully brutal era.

3. Golden Light/Aeolus by Holy Monitor

holy monitor

Genre: krautrock, psychedelic rock
If you like: Neu!, DIIV

For those unfamiliar with krautrock, it’s a German form of rock that began in the late ’60s that’s characterized by its motorik drum beats. Its best-known purveyors include Neu!, Kraftwerk, and Can, and now Holy Monitor is grabbing the torch and bringing it into modern day. It’s somewhat ambient in its repetitiveness, like a more analogue version of trance music, so it’s perfect to close your eyes and drift away to.

2. Imaginary Life by T R A C E S

traces imaginary life

Genre: shoegaze, dream pop
If you like: Beach House, My Bloody Valentine

Shoegaze and dream pop are closely related in that they both take advantage of reverb to create immersive atmospheres, but it seems like bands haven’t quite found a way to produce a sound that can settle in both camps, that’s both based on guitar pedal distortions and ethereal synthesizers. The Montreal-based T R A C E S are about as close to achieving this balance as anybody else has gotten, and the yield is an inviting record that can sound as punishing or as sweet as you want it to.

1. Famous Men by Magnolian


Genre: folk, indie rock
If you like: The National, Bon Iver

Magnolian, the project of Mongolian musician Dulguun Bayasgalan, is reminiscent of, to use a point of reference nobody will understand, Japanese ambient folk duo Kicell, but draws influence from more Western-styled acts like The National, Tom Waits, and Paul Simon. There’s an adventurous delicacy here: Magnolian tries a lot of different things without sounding like he’s ever leaving his comfort zone on his tremendously fun debut EP.

Honorable Mentions

Good Things Will Happen by Soft Corporate
Genre: indie rock, alternative rock, dream pop
If you like: Coldplay, OneRepublic

Faulty Inner Dialogue by Kid Canaveral
Genre: indie rock, dream pop, shoegaze
If you like: Angels & Airwaves

That’s all for today, but until next month, 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 the last post, check it out here (and the complete Bandcamping archives are here).

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