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If this month’s column were a dish, it would be a gussied-up meat and potatoes seasoned with polyrhythms, saxophones, and the avant-garde. Something to keep you on your toes. Send your Bandcamp discoveries to bandcamporanges@gmail.com.

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Metal and Metal-ish

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Wishfield -- Wishfield
April 12, 2019

Only a masochist wants to feel seasick, but Wishfield transform the sensation into something comforting on their self-titled debut. The album centers around the interplay of both fretless guitar and bass that swirl their way around dreamy black metal produced with a shoegaze influence; Deafheaven does occasionally come to mind. The vocals alternate between traditional shrieks and inventive cleans, the latter delivered with a drugged out drawl and a subtle pop influence. The music intentionally lacks abrasion and instead focuses on memorable checkpoints interlaced within the intricate songwriting, which occasionally transmits an Americana and blues vibe.

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Snooze -- Familiaris
March 29, 2019

Major key metal has seen a boom thanks to Astronoid, and Snooze follow in their footsteps with their jarring yet pleasant math metal concept album Familiaris. The Chicago group flirt with easycore backed by strong vocal harmonies often reminiscent of Weezer and Pattern Is Movement, which in turn carries a Beach Boys influence. The vocals drive the tracks and support fairly avant-garde compositions despite the overwhelming optimistic note choices. Snooze intends for the audience to consume the album as a single piece, closing and opening the album with finger snaps that could cycle continuously for repeated listens.

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The Lumberjack Feedback -- Mere Mortals
April 26, 2019

Mere Mortals isn’t here to lecture on the circle of fifths, but The Lumberback Feedback perform their instrumental caveman metal with the right balance of a stoner’s haze and Fight Club scowl. Led by two drummers who predominantly play in sync, the French five-piece play to their strengths with lots of head nodding and digestible riffs. I imagine this is how people want The Melvins to sound. Live, and especially with a few drinks, they could easily whip a crowd into a tribal frenzy.

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From the Petrified Forest -- Marzipan
April 13, 2019

Full disclosure: I used to play in From the Petrified Forest, and lone occupant Dan Sloan is still a good friend of mine, but I can objectively report that he writes tremendous music regardless of our connection. Three-song EP Marzipan balances space and dream-pop with post-metal leanings reminiscent of Jupiter sans vocals. It’s heavy and groovy but also carries a textbook. The chord resolutions continually blow my mind and are seemingly plucked from a higher thought process. If there were pop vocals on top of this, it would be all the rage.

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Cerce -- Live: Last Show, Boston
November 30, 2018

Some relationships stay good, no matter how much time passes between visits. Cerce existed for only two-years, from 2011 to 2013, but you wouldn’t know that from their 2018 reunion show. Gloriously captured with crisp production, the powerviolence/hardcore band from Boston move through the set as if they never stopped performing. It’s loud, serious, and fun, and makes you want to move with the spirit of classic hardcore and added elements of noise rock and experimental passages. Becca Cadalzo steals the show with vocals delivered like an animated poetry slam full of squeaks and histrionic squeals. These individuals share a passionate musical bond and after five-years they clearly have plenty more to say.

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Not Metal

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Pixvae -- Cali
April 5, 2019

Frustrated looking for that perfect party band who can appeal to music snobs and yoga moms? Your knight has arrived. Pixvae represents the merging of two worlds: Kouma, a French trio who provide sharp math rock, and Bambazú, who bring soaring Colombian soul and passion. That may sound like a recipe for wonky world music, but Cali rises well above the trite tag. The union combines two seemingly antagonistic worlds that work beautifully in tandem; without Kouma, the music loses its edge, and without Bambazú the edge has no sirens. The music directly challenges the listener with competing grooves that trigger multiple parts of the body. I urge you to provide enough space to experience the interplay between the percussive swirls and odd time repetition. In the end, you are powerless against its rhythmic spirit and musicality.

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Oort Smog -- Smeared Pulse Transfers
April 26, 2019

Jazz is a hard sell for a lot of folks, and Oort Smog don’t make it any easier. The spastic duo of saxophone and drums swell and dip in unison while flirting with free jazz, grind, and punk. Pop sensibilities lie behind the madness and they occasionally land on prog grooves and dancy passages. Ultimately, it’s the sound of two dudes with a lot of common interests having fun making music. Music of this nature requires a short run time and Smeared Pulse Transfers keeps it high and tight without sacrificing any of its rebellion.

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