A weekly round up of the best (and strangest) action on Bandcamp from artists in and around Pittsburgh.
Asa Critterden – “Demo”
The debut recordings from spoken-word poet Asa Critterden offer a deeply intimate and personal look into the life of a young woman struggling with her solitude. In three tracks, Critterden exposes herself through the topics of sexual assault, addiction and introspection, difficult for any artist to speak about, much less record.
Critterden’s poems are laid over backing acoustic guitar tracks, which fit the spirit and pace of the confessionals. Taken alone, the instrumentation (along with the backing vocals) are uninspiring, something you would see at a bad open mic in Columbus, Ohio, but Critterden’s words are so dynamic and acute that your brain completely forgets the complementary instrumentation.
The recording quality of Critterden’s demo leaves much to be desired, so you’re forced to listen at a low volume (unless you like crackling). Still, though, these three tracks are a great introduction to Critterden and her work, presented in an untraditional manner.
Hot track: What else can you do?
Arbitrary emoji rating: 3.5 out of 5 badminton sets
DEPRESSED – “Demo 7 inch”
Pittsburgh’s DEPRESSED released their introductory demo tracks on Bandcamp this week, wielding the brash guitars and the poor recording quality you would expect from any D-beat or UK 82 styled band.
The four track tape (available for pre-order here) is loaded with everything you would expect from the D-beat genre: songs opening with drums, four-four time signatures and fuzzed out guitars a la Neil Puncher. The added reverb on the vocals is a nice touch, though they still leave something to be desired. Oh, and the album clocks in at just under 5 minutes, long enough for the glue-high to kick in.
Look, what DEPRESSED does here isn’t bad, it’s just old and frankly, a little boring. What this album lacks is sheer RAWNESS, and the anger and energy you expect from any punk band, regardless of subgenre, just isn’t there. DEPRESSED plays a style of punk that I just didn’t think anyone played anymore, so if you’re itching for a little more street punk in your life, then this demo is for you.
Hot track: Migraine
Arbitrary emoji rating: 2 out of 5 fried eggs
WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST LISTEN TO?
Bandcamp allows any artist to upload whatever they want to the site. Some artists take that idea and run with it. Here’s the weirdest thing from Pittsburgh on Bandcamp this week.
Escape Music Group – “Hard At It”
“Hard At It” by the Escape Music Group is an emotional roller coaster, much like the comment section of any Disturbed music video on YouTube. And here’s the thing – this is actually a pretty decent hip-hop album. The production of all the tracks are solid, the flow and style are varied throughout and there are so many different artists laying down bars that the album never gets repetitive.
But it’s Christian hip-hop. Christian. Hip-hop. When has that ever worked out for anyone?
Am I unfairly dismissing a group of talented musicians solely based on the fact that they produce Christian music? Yes, I am. I can live with that, but for hip-hop fans with more forgiving qualities than myself, “Hard At It” is a good listen.
I don’t give out emoji ratings for WTFDIJLT, but this album definitely deserves 5 out of 5 footsteps in the sand.