A weekly round up of the best (and strangest) action on Bandcamp from artists in and around Pittsburgh.
“FUCK, I HAVE NO IDEA: A COLLECTION OF B-SIDES OR SOMETHING”
Ahead of a new LP and an end of summer tour, Pittsburgh’s emo collective Skull Kid have released a compilation of their old material with a few extra goodies thrown in for good measure. “Fuck, I Have No Idea” is a tidy vignette of Skull Kid’s colorful history, exhibiting the qualities of the quartet’s songwriting.
Skull Kid have found the happy valley between traditional and innovative, so while they’re not necessarily writing anything transformative of emo, indie or even punk, they are distinctly of their own creation. Throughout their history, Skull Kid have written winding compositions that interchange clean guitar notes with mathy rhythmic accents and vocals that flutter from disengaged to coarse at a moment’s notice. Drummer Dylan Chieffalo holds track together with the strength and fluidity of bone marrow.
These guys are packing the van and hitting the road for an end of summer tour, beginning with a show August 17 at Mr. Roboto Project in Garfield, and they’ll be bringing copies of “Fuck, I Have No Idea” with them. Pick one up at a show or via Broken World Media (Tiny Moving Parts, Rozwell Kid, TWIABP) for a bonus track not available on the band’s Bandcamp, a teaser song for the group’s upcoming LP.
Hot track: People Die
Arbitrary emoji rating: 4 out of 5 chestnuts
SIKES / TRASH BAG
Hardcore and rap share a common ancestry birthed from the roots of DIY culture, regardless of whether the product is patches or mixtapes. The two have actually been successfully blended at times in the past, first by trailblazers Body Count, Public Enemy and Anthrax, and now with contemporary artists Trash Talk, Tyler, the Creator and Cold World taking a whack at it.
Pittsburgh’s gutter punk trio Trash Bag and alternative hip-hop artist SIKES recently collaborated on a punk/rap album of their own, with mixed results. The tracks that Trash Bag recorded (and SIKES sampled) are crass, tinny songs that overflow with the essence of Jesus Lizard, which is fine by me, buoyed by screeching vocals forcing out lyrics that were written by Jello Biafra in the throes of a stroke. A fuzzy (but thin) bass drives this entire album, which inadvertently left SIKES little to work with. The rapper/producer cranked out compositions that deviated little from the original, using vocal cues as a way to switch up the album.
But on the last track of the split, the group actually produced a collaborative work and the end result is awesome. The instrumentation creates the hop you want in any good rap track without sacrificing the raw anger of Trash Bag’s punk foundation, and the back-and-forth vocals are fresh, catchy and funny as hell. It’s bittersweet, and almost makes you wonder why the artists didn’t collaborate more closely all the way throughout.
Hot track: Jurassic Barf
Arbitrary emoji rating: 2.5 out of 5 rats
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 is the weirdest thing from Pittsburgh on Bandcamp this week.
“JULIET: THE LOST TRANSMISSIONS”
From the description of this album:
We thought all data had been erased from its internal hard drive but the team managed to recover several audio clips. They say it was recorded while still on the dark side of planet 9 but it is still up for debate. The audio quality seems to have some interference from the rough re-entry but the noises don’t sound like anything we have previously obtained. Very disconcerting.
Listen, I’m admittedly not up to speed on the soundscape or ambient recordings genres, so I have no clue what makes a good album in the category. I don’t even particularly dislike what Spices Peculiar did on this album, which was a production of backing tracks for when Paramount Pictures remakes Event Horizon.
Dante Villagomez’s compositions play like what I can only imagine what the inside of Stephen Hawking’s brain sounds like, a cohesive and creepy parade of atmospheric jams influenced by Eastern culture and Carl Sagan.
These are probably the last sounds those lost Russian cosmonauts heard before they died lost and adrift in an indifferent void.
Hot track: Salud