A weekly round up of the best (and strangest) action on Bandcamp from artists in and around Pittsburgh.
Welcome to Fall.
October, for the most part, is a month of disingenuous acts of rustic sacrifice, where white Americans feel compelled – nay – obligated to indulge in the staples of farm life: apple picking, flannels and mason jars. What the fuck is going on with mason jars? Just because you soak your chia seeds in yogurt inside a mason jar doesn’t change the fact that you’re going back to your cul-de-sac suburban home to argue with your aunt about Mexicans for Thanksgiving.
And listen, I’m not saying Kansas Dan is a phony or that he’s inauthentic. In fact, I’m sure the guy has a couple of Carhartts in his closet, and you don’t buy a cowboy hat in 2016 just because you think you can pull it off. But the two songs that he has released as a self-titled feel more like factory-farmed Americana than true country-gospel tunes.
Both of Kansas Dan’s tracks carry the suggestions of country ballads, but fall just short of the goal, which is a shame because his lyrical content is there, harkening back to the golden era of vulnerable, broken songwriters.
Kansas Dan relies on simple acoustic folk standards, which is fine, but he doesn’t allow either his voice or his instrumentation to wail and moan – necessary adjustments for any great country song.
Hot track: Kryptonite and Superman
Arbitrary emoji rating: 2 out of 5 watermelons
Pittsburgh’s dreamscape trio Sleep Experiments create ornate, complex compositions that provide an alternative menu option for the rock and punk-driven tastes of our city, breaking through the crowd of bar bands like a audible whisper.
Passages listens through like a deeply personal album, meaning you won’t be listening to the album in a living room full of your friends. No, Passages will be best utilized in the shower, or on a drive out of town.
The second full length album from Sleep Experiments expands and improves upon their old trappings, using underlying drum and synth beats to reinforce the spines of their songs. Sleep Experiments is a bit too adherent to the church of guitar tones and the loop board, though, and absolutely beautiful compositions get repetitive and boring on the album’s first listen.
That being said, each song has a moment of individual clarity, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a favorite track on the album.
Hot track: Long Way
Arbitrary emoji rating: 3.5 out of 5 closed umbrellas
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.
The demo put together by noisy three-piece Death Instinct is a testament to the spirit of deconstructive music, which is done here with such aplomb that the album almost seems maniacal or conceived of ill-natured intentions.
Death Instinct follow in the footsteps of noise and anti-punk pillars pg. 99 and PC Worship, tearing down punk compositions and building them back up again without a foundation. It is fantastic, then frustrating, then exciting and finally frustrating again. There’s even some crust elements to be discovered throughout the album. Jesus, what a roller coaster.
This album should be SO MUCH LOUDER, though. Paint should be peeling off of my walls when I crank up my speakers for Death Instinct’s music. That’s how loud this album needs to be. Without the caustic assault of unencumbered noise, Death Instinct’s demo falls a lot shorter than it should.
Hot track: Before the Light Breaks