by EJ Coleman
As we prepare to leave Bandcamp Camp one last time, here is a fond farewell to a few of our favorite sub-genres who have carved their names in tent posts and dinner tables. Here are the indie pop, the labelmates, the podcast soundtracks, and the just plain weird.
Track: “So Sad, So Sad” (Aug. 2015)
Tags: rock, indie pop
Favorite Lyric: “it’s such a shame / even wind knocks me around / its not that i don’t try / its just that i’m better on the ground “
You probably wouldn’t believe it, what with the massive word count and everything, but for Bandcamp Camp last year we had to make a few sacrifices. VARSITY, and this song in particular, were one of those that just didn’t make the first cut. This year, though, there’s room for everyone! And so here they are.
This song sounds a little like what I would imagine it would feel like to be Nancy Drew in a dreamy Wes-Anderson-in-the-sixties way. It reminds me of Candypants, my favorite little-known defunct band, if they had had the same surfer quality as San Cisco—or, alternatively, last year’s The Goon Sax. You feel as though you could hold this song in the palm of your hand, like a puddle of mercury that’s edges slide around but never break.
Track: “Nerves” (Nov. 2016)
Artist: Forth Wanderers
Tags: San Francisco
Favorite Lyric: “I wish I’d wake up and sigh and realize / I’m wasting all my time”
At Electric Fetus on Record Store Day, I saw this while hiding in the CD section, i.e. the least populated part of the store. The album art caught my eye, but I didn’t do anything more than take a photo of it to Google later and then fail to do so. Then I read a Bandcamp Album of the Day, clicked on the label’s site, and saw that smooth minty green staring down at me. So at that point I had no choice but to listen. This song is pretty good, although a little too much like a lot of other bands for me to actively care, but I like this She & Her-esque melody.
Track: “Roswell” (Dec. 2016)
Artist: Griffin McElroy
Tags: podcast soundtrack
Favorite Lyric: N/A
I was really debating whether or not I could really include this. Technically I didn’t bookmark this on and forget about it, as is the grand tradition of Bandcamp Camp. Technically I’ve been listening to this podcast for months, have been a loyal follower of the people behind it for longer, and look for any and all opportunities to talk about the music of it in particular. Was it really a camper? Could I really pass it off as a member of my found flock, help it make friendship bracelets and do archery?
Then I remember that the rules are made up and the points don’t matter, and we’re all just out here chasing our bliss, so I’m doing it.
The Adventure Zone is a ridiculous and wonderful Dungeons & Dragons campaign piloted and played by the equally ridiculous and wonderful McElroy brothers and father. While the goofs are good and the plots even better, the part I look forward to most every other week is the music. Griffin McElroy, little brother, DM, and Forbes 30 Under 30 “media luminary”, crafts backing tracks for every adventure. While I do love the robotic Bowser’s Castle-esque songs of The Crystal Kingdom, and nothing gets me motivated like “Wonderland – Round Three“, I think The Eleventh Hour is his best so far.
In an story arc about a pioneer town stuck in a time loop bubble by a magical, all-powerful relic that takes place solely in the listener’s mind, you really need to sell the atmosphere. The Eleventh Hour OST does that perfectly, blending the loops and tunes present in the other arcs with new instruments and sounds to fully transport you to this endless little town. For all that “The Diary of Sheriff Isaak” is technically and emotionally perfect (no spoilers but I literally cried when it started playing), “Paloma” is some kind of Nintendo sweetness incarnate, and “The Davy Lamp” is just absolutely lovely, “Roswell” is my favorite of the set. Named after our favorite genderless suit of armor deputy, “Roswell” has everything—banjos, excitement, intensity, and really cool beats. It is both your standard western town and your place where magic and lawlessness rule.
Track: “DYNAMIC MEDITATION” (Oct. 2013)
Tags: montréal, peter sagar, r&b/soul, groovy
Favorite Lyric: “What is this, a party? (All the time) / I thought that it was Tuesday (Every night)”
Narrated by what appears to be an instructor on actual dynamic meditation, and interrupted in parts by an angry voicemail, movie quotes, and reverse speech, this song feels like an episode of Twin Peaks put in a blender. Voices spin in and out of the melody, which is chill and chilling in equal parts. Listening to this feels like looking out the window of a house in a tornado only instead of cows and your evil neighbor it’s big band samples and an irate boyfriend yelling into his phone.
Tomorrow: parting words and recommendations.