By Jolie Klefeker
I've acquired a handful of bangers off Bandcamp over the past few weeks. They aren't the newest, but these are new to my MP3 library and hopefully to you as well.
Bloomington, Ind., duo Nice Try released their self-titled record back in 2016. And with all but one of the tracks clocking in at under two minutes, it's a bedroom, DIY pop record at heart, complete with minimal chord progressions and crushy lyrics. Sounding like something along the lines of a cuter P.S. Eliot or early Girlpool but with drums, Nice Try is perfectly imperfect, charmingly disheveled. "President" kicks things off with a lively pace and sleepy harmonies, both of which are kept up throughout the record. However, "Wet Willy" stands as my favorite on the record with the backup vocals mimicking somewhat of a dialogue along with the distorted, almost '90s guitar tone. Nice Try is cute, slacker pop. If you dig Frankie Cosmos or Snail Mail, you'll like this.
D.L.M.I.C. is the solo project of Mark Winter, who is somewhat of a weirdo punk legend and has been in bands like The Coneheads, CCTV and liquids. He's come out with quite a lot under this moniker, and it's all really hot stuff, so I'm not suggesting a specific track, I'm just suggesting him. The unbridled rip into insidious gentrification hipster culture on the track "Wicker Park" off his "November Cassingles" release is what really got me excited. I honestly wish that I could publish every lyric to you right now, as it reads like a report on what's currently happening in Denver and likely in every city. "Oh I'm so cliche / The city and my suburb are the fucking same / I'll move to Logan Square, shop in Wicker Park / American Apparel and latte art / Staying inside after it gets dark / I love the city, just not the poor parts.
" Hints of classic retro pop-rock seeps into an angry, modern sound, think toned-down Sheer Mag. Winter's voice sounds like that of a snotty, LA punk, dark and deeply sarcastic. The tracks "Fest Punk" and "I hope B.P. Explodes" are also real hits. This is my favorite thing I've heard in a really long time. Check it out.
Austin's Institute fuses anarchic punk with a dark, post-punk expanse, some moments hectic and slightly evil while others find a striking melody inside of the noise. Having all of their full-length releases on Sacred Bones, it's clear why things work — there's something slightly occult about Institute's music. There's always something intangible about it: It's creepy, it's overcast, but why is it so pretty? I think that's what is so attractive about their music. It's truly punk in ethos, not conforming to anything. They are truly men of mystery. They've got two great full-lengths out, "Subordination" being the most recent, coming out last summer. But 2015's "Catharsis" is just as intricate, slightly more upbeat and bright. For post-punk fanatics looking to go a little more in the hardcore direction, this is up your alley. For fans of Crisis or Lack of Knowledge.