Beat’s best of Bandcamp, featuring Allysha Joy, Feign Jima and more
04.12.2020

Beat’s best of Bandcamp, featuring Allysha Joy, Feign Jima and more

Allysha Joy, photo by Finn Rees
WORDS BY TOM WALTERS

Spotlighting some of our favourite new releases on Bandcamp right now.

Hello and welcome to Best of Bandcamp, a fortnightly roundup of the best new Melbourne/Naarm bands and artists making waves on the internet’s most indispensable music platform. 

Bandcamp has been incredibly supportive of artists during the COVID-19 crisis with its Bandcamp Friday initiative, where for 24 hours, the site takes no fee and 100 per cent of profits go directly to artists.

If you’ve been meaning to buy some new music, are a seasoned Bandcamp veteran looking for something fresh, or are simply intrigued at what Bandcamp has to offer, then this column will have you covered every fortnight with Victoria’s finest.

Allysha Joy

A vital voice in Melbourne’s soul-jazz scene, Allysha Joy is best known for her work with the iconic 30/70. But with her new solo EP Light It Again, she’s giving us four reasons why she’s an icon in her own right.

Exploring themes of love, shame, mental health, grief and spirituality, Joy’s voice glides over neo-soul jazz as effortlessly as butter over toast. On lead single ‘Light It Again’, she uses the allure of deep, crunchy basslines and silky-smooth keys to tackle mental health — or more specifically, “the cycle of addiction and pain” — with a cathartic playfulness. 

Like a lot of great Melbourne releases these days, the EP is powered by an all-star cast of the local scene: Horatio Luna, Ziggy Zeitgeist, Danika Smith and Josh Kelly all contribute here, with the twice Grammy-nominated artist Clever Austin — AKA Hiatus Kaiyote’s Perrin Moss — on production and engineering duties.

The result is a highly adventurous and beautifully polished EP that finds Joy consistently breaking new ground. ‘Mardi’ starts out unspooling like an impromptu set in a glamorous hotel lobby, before switching gears at the halfway mark and becoming a gritty spiritual jazz track with deep Rhodes, taught percussion and soothing sax. Named after her grandmother, it is a beautiful call out into the void — and one that’s guaranteed to get the spirits grooving. 

Light It Again is out now on Bandcamp

Feign Jima

Jamie-Lee Fanning’s first EP as Feign Jima is teeming with serenity and tranquillity. The three-track record Out of Myself does exactly what it says on the tin: its dreamy, psychedelic-tinged indie-pop wiggles its way in your head and pulls you far, far out of it.

Opener ‘Garden’ sets the tone nicely. The easiest touchstone here is Weyes Blood, and ‘Garden’ sounds like it could be a bonus track on a deluxe edition of Titanic Rising. That’s not just a lazy comparison: Fanning genuinely manages to capture the same grand, sentimental feelings of that album while channelling them through a charming bedroom pop sound. 

Listening to ‘Home’ is like being let in on a private practice playing out in an empty, grandiose ballroom — it’s just Fanning and her guitar, with the odd subtle flourish of delicate reverb. Her voice takes centre stage here, sounding as timeless and effortless as that of Angel Olsen or Sharon Van Etten.

Amidst all the chaos, Out of Myself is like laying down and applying a cool towel to your head. Expect to be laying around listening to this one on repeat over summer.

Out of Myself is out now on Bandcamp.

CS + Kreme

It’s been a big year for CS + Kreme, the duo of Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel who landed one of the albums of 2020 with Snoopy, their captivating and surreal debut. 

For those unfamiliar, the pair melt down ambient, punk and experimental electronic sounds in a molten cauldron, oozing out jagged, minimal techno in slow-motion. Their music is often ethereal and metallic, slipping and sliding in a watery fashion and regularly sounding like the soundtrack to Melbourne’s darkest days. Think of Aphex Twin but if he was really into HTRK and you’ll get the gist.

Now, CS + Kreme are back with an EP of material with the Richard D. James-esque title of howwouldyoufeelwithoutthatthought. This is essentially Snoopy: The Encore, and actually constitutes almost an album’s worth of extra material since it consists of two tracks each over ten minutes in length

Don’t let that put you off though — the results are mesmerising. Featuring a cello and lap steel guitar, ‘April Fools’ Day’ bends and swirls without any effort at all. It’s a dark and moody journey, but one that also feels hypnagogic and hyperreal — a trance-like lullaby for those who find themselves awake in the middle of the night.

‘Bugged’ is shorter and slightly groovier, packing a tauter rhythm section but still sporting the same rhythmic hypnosis of ‘April Fool’s Day’. It’s an epic epilogue for a duo who’ve truly made a mark in 2020. 

Howwouldyoufeelwithoutthatthought is out now via Bandcamp.

Sorry, Dave

Opening with an eerily intergalactic vibe that may or may not confirm their name as a 2001: A Space Odyssey reference, Empathy — the debut EP from five-piece Sorry, Dave — is a glorious exercise in earthy, gauzy shoegaze that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Run For Cover roster. 

Evoking the same wintery twilight feelings as those that adorn the cover, Sorry, Dave masterfully take us on a tour of the ins and outs of slowcore across five great tracks. Standout centrepiece ‘Eroding’ stretches sumptuously across six minutes, its bleary-eyed vocals and guitar lines nodding along until erupting awake into cathartic post-rock. 

Heavy without being harsh; dreamy without feeling delirious, the band take enough left turns throughout Empathy to keep things interesting. ‘Fantastic’ sounds like a Beach Boys outtake with the moodiness dialled up, while closer ‘Fredo Fumble’ could be mistaken for a 65daysofstatic bedroom pop cover. If you enjoy bands who marry shoegaze and post-rock, but don’t enjoy those who lean too far on the metal side, then Sorry, Dave have you covered.

Empathy EP is out now via Bandcamp.

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