A weekly round up of the best (and strangest) action on Bandcamp from artists in and around Pittsburgh.
THE COUNTER TREATMENT
“SPLIT W/ BELOW THE TRENCHES”
For whatever reason, The Counter Treatment channels all of the worst aspects of your chosen nostalgic genres in their third release, a split with Punxsutawney’s Below the Trenches. I hate to be the bearer of bad news to these kids, but you’re late to the game with, well, everything on this record.
The foundation of The Counter Treatment’s sound is solidly early-aughts emo (New Mexican Disaster Squad, Mock Orange) which wouldn’t be too bad in of itself if they didn’t throw some truly awful wrenches into it. Again, for some fucking reason that defies all logic, the quartet inject really bad death metal growls into their songs, doing nothing to suppress my suspicion that all of them have matching Hawthorne Heights tattoos.
A quick rundown of everything else wrong with The Counter Treatment’s tracks: the guitars are unimaginative and straight up dull, the drummer is completely clueless to his identity and, beyond that, this band has the cohesiveness of an Olympic track event; it sounds like they’re all trying to race each other to the finish.
This album is bad. Bad bad bad. Don’t listen to it. It is bad.
Hot track: Belladonna
Arbitrary emoji rating: .5 out of 5 cardboard boxes
The battle between brains and beauty is an all too familiar conflict in the world of independent music. Musicians will often sacrifice one of the two in order to satisfy some imaginary audience or critic, or keep up with the demand for innovation. It is only usually when an artist finds that happy balance that we all stop to take notice.
And that’s what makes Patrick Gregg’s debut release “Religious Fanatic” a really satisfying record. Gregg is an electronic songwriter, through and through, and while his compositions may not be groundbreaking, they are uniquely his own and they retain perfect pleasantness to the layman’s ear.
Gregg channels some aspects of Frank Ocean and Panda Bear with just a dash of gospel. It’s like he’s already written the soundtrack for a Hayao Miyazaki film that won’t be written for another 20 years.
The best thing about this album, though? It gets better with every listen. I initially passed it over, looking for another album to review, but the more I came back to “Religious Fanatic,” the more I fell in love with it.
Hot track: Wall
Arbitrary emoji rating: 4 out of 5 shaved ice
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.
“MUGGLESNUGGLE ET LES CHANSONS SECRETES”
I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was 10, and it was dope. Why wouldn’t it be? I was a child reading a book about a wizard protagonist that was roughly my same age, going through some hard life stuff. Even as I aged I kept up with the series, culminating in a sprinting read-through of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when I was 19.
And that was it. I haven’t gone back and read any of the books again and I stopped watching the films when they perverted creative control and made a Ku Klux Klan for wizards in The Goblet of Fire. Let’s be honest with ourselves here: the Harry Potter series is a series for children, and a damn good one at that.
So it’s SUPER WEIRD when adults get WAY too into the series. Have you ever read My Immortal? It’s a fanfiction so notoriously horrible and sexually confused that it has it’s own Wikipedia article. And now Pittsburgh has #MuggleSnuggle.
#MuggleSnuggle is a duet of what I can only imagine to be terribly lonely graduate students who have dedicated far too much time to writing songs based off of Harry Potter books, then performing them at Barnes and Noble. Holy shit.
And the music? It is played with an accordion and a goddamn bodhran and it makes me very uncomfortable. Oh, and they sing in French sometimes, because anyone who takes the time to write, perform and record TWO albums of Harry Potter music clearly took at least seven years of the language throughout high school.
Hot track: Weasley is our King