A weekly round up of the best (and strangest) action on Bandcamp from artists in and around Pittsburgh.
I can’t believe that we’re wrapping up 2016 and I still have to be the critic to deliver this message, but here we go: musicians, please stop making “surf” music. When Best Coast has moved on from the genre it is a surefire sign that you should, too.
Yet, Pittsburgh’s Ryan Hartman wrote, recorded and produced all of the tracks for surf bored, which is as kitschy a name as anyone could make for this music. And listen, obviously plenty of people are still into the aesthetic of low-fi, garage “surf” punk, but a lot of people are into the Spice Girls, too, and I don’t see anyone clamoring for that bullshit to return.
“Sweet Dreams” just doesn’t offer up anything innovative or revelatory on this album that justifies beating this dead horse, and too many of the songs are mapped out in the predictable verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge format. Hartman, or any songwriter for that matter, shouldn’t contain himself to the boundaries of this genre. It is in the past. Let’s move on.
Hot track: Sam
Arbitrary emoji rating: 1.5 out of 5 fishing pole and fishes
TED COLEMAN BAND
“TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS”
England’s Barely Breaking Even Records have made a career out of digging up old, forgotten gems of American standards, and their newest re-release is the Ted Coleman Band’s 1980 funk and jam classic “Taking Care of Business”.
Coleman, a Pittsburgh native, set aside his work from the head waves of disco jams by injecting his music with Latin music elements, particularly samba. All of Coleman’s compositions are enriched by vibrant marimbas and the constant beat of Latin drums provide an almost frantic tone that simmers underneath the chilled out funk jams.
“Taking Care of Business” is a fun stroll through the past, an authentic window into the world of disco, jam and funk music at the height of the genres’ popularities.
Hot track: If We Took the Time
Arbitrary emoji rating: 3.5 out of 5 crystal balls
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.
“MADE IN HEAVEN”
I really don’t want to be that guy but can someone please explain the appeal of vaporwave to me? I feel constantly lost and befuddled anytime I try to trudge through the samples and excuses thrown at me by the genre. I just don’t see how slowing a sample down or making the most minute of alterations to an original song can be critically considered original art instead of just merely appropriation.
Diobrando is a Pittsburgh producer, or an anime guy, or something. Who fucking knows. Whatever, he just put out an album.
What is obvious about Diobrando is that this producer has some serious misgivings about what the cultural trends of the mid-80s to early-90s were. All points bulletin: there were normal, boring Americans alive during that time, too. Not everyone wore windbreaker. Not everyone gave a fuck about Diana Ross.
Teenagers 30 years from now are going to warp samples of Gucci Mane and Adele and I promise you that millennials will have the same contempt and confusion for it that music critics hold for vaporwave now.
Vaporwave is just a trendy way for musicians and producers to effuse their admiration for anime and everything Nintendo without suffering the consequences of their true moniker: NERD. You’re a nerd. It’s cool. No one gives a shit anymore. Be a nerd. Drop vaporwave.
All of that being said, Time Stops is a pretty dope song. Keep it up, Diobrando.
Hot track: Time Stops