We’re all big fans of the more established acts out there, but some of the most exciting music being made today is produced by DIY artists and offered up for free listening on distant corners of the internet. On Bandcamping, we dig up a couple of gems, old or new, released and streaming for free on the online platform.
Niechec – Smierc w Miekkim Futerku
Artist: Niechęć Album: Śmierć w Miękkim Futerku Released: April 2012 Free To Download?: No Style: Heavy Jazz, Sax Freakouts For Fans Of: Colin Stetson, Flying Lotus, Boredoms
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Polish jazz outfit Niechęć’s debut, Śmierć w Miękkim Futerku (Death in a Soft Fur Coat,) is the eye-catching cover photo of an elderly, fur-clad woman smoking a cigar. Her intense stare pierces the smoke, eyeing the viewer quizzically, sizing him or her up like a hunter does with her quarry. Her face is marked with a deathly pallor, so much so that perhaps she is Death herself, wondering whether or not to take you with her.
The band’s name translates to “Reluctance,” but they seem anything but reluctant on Śmierć w Miękkim Futerku. Opener “After You” draws open the curtains on the album with an overture of cacophonic saxophone explosions, underscored by foreboding synth drones. This is followed by the jaunty but haunting “Taksowkarz,” which chugs along with frenetic urgency, as if trying to escape from something. Yet no matter where the album goes, the foreboding follows; Lady Death still stares at you from the cover. Even in the album’s down-tempo midsection it is impossible to escape. On the FlyLo-esque “Relaks Dub,” drums echo like distant gunfire, and synths growl up from the sonic abyss like slumbering demons, while “Prozak” lays dissonant saxophone improvisation over a lounge piano groove.
Whether being fast and frightened, or slow and haunted, the only reluctance that Niechęć exhibits is the reluctance to give in to old lady Death. Even after the record closes with the gloomy, apocalyptic eight-minute title track, she remains there, still staring, still contemplating, still puffing away at that cigar: Death, in a soft fur coat.
Choice Cuts: “Taksowkarz,” “Relaks Dub,” “Prozak”
–Harrison Suits Baer
Infinity Crush – Imprints, Outpatients
Artist: Infinity Crush Album: Imprints, Outpatients Released: October 2012 Free To Download?: Yes Style: Folk, Lo-Fi, Emo For Fans Of: Julie Doiron, Jesse Lacey
Teen Suicide announced a couple of weeks ago that their longtime friend Caroline White was joining them to add viola and vocals to their brand of existential lo-fi emo, but they failed to mention that White’s solo project had just dropped its debut release. Channeling the warmth of Julie Doiron’s pastoral folkiness through Macbook clicks and grotesquely personal lyrics, Imprints, Outpatients subverts the girl-with-pretty-voice-and-acoustic-guitar trope to produce something both achingly beautiful and cringe-inducing. Her voice is a patient coo but with lyrics like “lock the door and eat me out” there’s a sort of inherent sexual recoil present throughout. No matter how sincerely White might have meant these tracks, they’re so bare that any sincerity is obliterated in sparsity, resulting in five disorienting and haunting tracks that bely their less than ten minute running time in emotional weight. These sound like demos, no doubt, but they’re rewarding far beyond their fidelity and track closing clicks.