Hey Abundant Lifer,
So, I was trying to get the newsletter back (?) onto the somewhat regular schedule that we all enjoyed back when we were still wiping down our door knobs with bleach and my parents were still alive. Hell, I even took a sabbatical from tending bar so I could focus the appropriate amount of energy writing about melodic hardcore bands from 1992. But then, in a rare case of God laughing at plans that I also found amusing, I got a job. As most of you know, I’m currently consulting at the new Creem Magazine. I even have a title. I’m Editor at Large. Which means I don’t have to work as hard as the other editors, but I do have to work more than I am accustomed to. (I mean, I’ve always had to work. But tending bar, at least the way I do it, is basically just collecting grist for my writing.) So the newsletter has had to take a backseat, and for that I do apologize. I’m still going to do it but, realistically, it’ll be a couple times a month. I do hope that those of you who are paying subscribers don’t feel put out. If you do, I’d ask you not to unsubscribe. I do still need the cake and hopefully the writing I do will still be worth your money. That said, if you do feel like you gotta bail, I understand. But I hope you stick around as a free subscriber. I’ve grown accustomed to your face. And there will def still be many, many 4,000 word essays about our shared niche concerns. This may be shocking, but Creem doesn’t necessarily want book-length discursive jeremiads about the snare sound of Crimpshrine’s “Summertime” from me. I know. Crazy.
In the meantime, I’m going to at least get these brief Bandcamp Friday music recommendations out.
Today is one of those Bandcamp Fridays. It’s a Juneteenth Bandcamp Friday, with everyone’s favorite Corporate DIY Kiosk donating their share to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Now, when Bandcamp has a themed Friday, this provides both a useful structure for recommendations… and some complications. I’m obviously picking Black artists for a Juneteenth round-up, but the fact remains that, for pretty obvious reasons, a number of Black artists really don’t enjoy being consigned to Lists of Black Artists. And I feel pretty weird making those lists. One nice thing about Creem is that you’re (inshallah) never going to see “Here’s Ten *insert marginalized group here* Artists You Should Know.” We’re going to cover the wild diversity of artists, but we’re going to cover that diversity as it is: the good shit, that we like, with no asterisk attached. I mean, we better, right? So, yeah, this might read weird. But regular readers will note that I talk about most of these artists all the time, because I love ‘em.
I will say this; if you’re an artist on this list and you really don’t want to be on it, or any list like it in the future, just let me know and I will absolutely continue to cover you, but only in the context of your own charming self.
Anyway. Here’s some sweetness to purchase on Bandcamp Friday, and on every day going forward.
Ganser Nothing You Do Matters EP (Felte Records)
Chicago is one of the very few cities that forbids its rockers to indulge in scene fallowness. There’s always at least five outstanding purveyors of Albini/Not Albini jerk ‘n’ sass. Right now, Meat Wave (AKA The Best Band With The Worst Name), FACS, Daddy’s Boy, Dehd, and Ganser are the examples that leap immediately to mind. Ganser probably rep the city’s combination of charnel dismay, mid-country oasis/wasteland knowingness, and all around cough-cough-cool stance, the hardest. On this EP, produced by Angus From Liars and out in October, Ganser take their patented Pretenders-esque, mean girl/guy/whatever dance punk, and play it like a Dischord House on fire; like the world’s a mess, and dancing it around is the only sane response. The delivery is as razor sharp as the thrift-mod collars, the distortion is as acute as the Beatle boots are pigeon-toed, and, to quote another bunch of pissy Chicago stunners; “We've all got shades/We like the view/If looks could kill/Here's looking at you.”
BKO Djine Bora (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
I wrote about the Malian quintet seven years ago (back when “quintet” was part of their Bamako Airport derived name). It appears their last two albums are frustratingly unavailable in the States, and I only have the song from this, due in July, album to go on. But one song is enough to recommend the album. Heck, one song, when it’s as flat-out tuff as “Toumaro,” is enough for me to state, without doubt or equivocation, that Djine Bora is going to be one of the best albums of the year. Shit sounds like a West African Blue Õyster Cult. Shit goes so hard–from its jagged tone, to the way the sticks crackle across the drum snare’s edge, to the way singer Fassara Sacko windmills over the track like he’s overturning tables in the temple with “My War” playing in his earbuds–that it ought to have umlauts over every letter. Heavy, lithe psych for the nowest of now people.
Rhys Langston Progressive House, Conservative Ligature feat. Fatboi Sharif (POW Recordings)
Two Abundant Living faves, Rhys Langston and Fatboi Sharif, dream-team up to shadow box their way out of Plato’s Cave. The term “dream team” is more apt than apt. Both rappers comb the subconscious from different contemporary dimensions; Langston is adderall while Sharif is the cloud. Over a whirling jazz calliope beat, both men personal-politicize dystopia, interpolate jive into life (and vice versa), alternate between stabbing at the veil and wearing it like long-sleeve-t. The song is from an upcoming album that is indubitably going to blow minds like it’s its job.
Interviewed Langston here.
Solarized A Ghost Across Hell From Me (SRA Records)
Rainbow Crimes We Disappear (Exotic Fever Records)
Two oldies-but-greaties (both from 2019) that are Philly projects involving the brilliant musician, artist, and author Alex Smith. Rainbow Crimes’ We Disappear is cosmic-goth (think:Celebration, Hawkwind, living in an arachnid space colony), while Solarized, one of the only live bands to make me cry from joy, are simply the greatest ABC No Rio band to never (I think?) have ever played ABC No Rio. Both albums are, in any fashion, perfect. If you don’t buy them immediately, I fear that your immortal soul might be consigned to an eternity of chumpdom.
Big Joanie Happier Still (Kill Rock Stars)
I’m gonna write about Big Joanie for Creem so I don’t want to use up all my adjectives here, but good gracious this song is a beast; a garage punk, almost Alice-In-Chainsian, dirge, but in the service of wellness. It’s not long enough. It wouldn’t be long enough if it lasted a year.
OK I gotta stop. Getting up early to catch a train to Massachusetts to go to a memorial for my dad. Buy his new book too.
Oh yeah, obviously buy the new Elucid. OBVIOUSLY. But you already knew that.
Thanks for reading. And please check out my Creem stuff (and plz consider subscribing if yr able).
See you soon.