Part One: Tags
1) WITCH HOUSE
Witch house is bath salts and k2 when you’re 24 and still living in the same room as your little brother, who you are vaguely worried that you are influencing poorly. Mumbling gorey and supernatural lyricism (think Earl Sweatshirt if he was from the south and stroking out), this is music for the angsty suburbanite who didn’t want to go to Warped Tour. It’s made by bedroom rats for bedroom rats, as the computerized production takes strong presence over any emceeing.
Motifs across the witch house scene include Japanese script and glorification of early Windows and Internet Explorer symbology. However, witch house artists take the vaporwave kitsch and throw it in a bloody blender with The Blair Witch Project’s found VHS footage aesthetic. The artists appropriate semantics from these miscellaneous subcultures in order to create a baffling, awful collage. The extreme experimentation in typography gives the music an appearance of originating in a Nordic or Eastern European nation, but the vast majority comes from western Europe and America.
Witch house takes everything to extremes. It lifts Tyler, the Creator’s violence and Drake’s sadboy tendencies and amplifies them to a nearly intolerable, and certainly distasteful, point.
With the darkest, most depraved imagery outside of a black metal show, this is dark hardcore rap music. This would not exist without the “Yonkers” music video. It’s art-house rap for the gothic misfit, equally into Nachtmystium, ICP, and David Lynch.
This experimental sadboy rap is a giant circlejerk filled with desperation, dismay, rage, and countless hours logged in a darkened bedroom on Ableton after taking a few of mom’s off-brand Xanies.
Groups to cop: $uicideBoy$, Lucifear, FRCLN
FFO: k2 blunts, heart palpitations, pet snakes, a desperately weeping Drake, found footage horror films, OFWGKTA
2) SPACE ROCK
Not at all a challenging listen, space rock does not discriminate between the stoner or straight edge escapist. Do you have a life full of struggle to hide from? Space rock is for you, O lonely space cadet.
Bandcamp space rock originates in the sonic landscapes of Pink Floyd B-sides. “Careful with That Axe, Eugene,” released in 1969, is a seven minute track whose incorporation of reverb and mouth sounds appears to have influenced groups from Deafheaven to 65daysofstatic.
If you’ve ever gotten stoned and fallen into a deep exploration of post-rock bands on Spotify, then space rock will inevitably show up on next week’s Discover Weekly playlist. Not quite emo, space rock sends listeners on an exhibition of the mind without diaristic lyrics. If TWIABP comes off as melodramatic to you, check out space rock. Covering a territory spanning classic psych rock to soaring post-metal in the style of Russian Circles, space rock is filled with blast beats and slow-growing and repetitive build-ups before climactic crescendos.
If listening in the comfort of your own home, you’ll soon be staring blankly at your walls or the spirals of smoke slowly lifting off from the burning tip of an incense stick. If viewing live, you’ll be rocking back and forth while staring at your feet.
This is Space Race shit. It’s the spirit of Hendrix as he ascended into the cosmos. These are jam bands for the reformed punk. (One disclaimer: while acid will make a jam band actually sound groovy, a hallucinatory listen to space rock will leave you with the suffocating feeling of drifting through deep space all alone.) Spiked mohawks will fall sleepily over heavy eyes through each twenty-minute movement.
Take a free trip to space with: God Is An Astronaut, Ampacity, Rosetta
FFO: the Space Race, Pink Floyd B-sides, couches, Deafheaven sans vocals, TWIABP sans lyrics
3) LIVING ROOM
The living room tag is full of releases that could have been uploaded from my iPhone recordings during my worst periods of depression. Primarily a midwestern tag, living room is a sound that can only be produced by unemployment and long winters, or liberal kids in a small college town.
The tag uncovers an ocean of folk for the internet age, where every album is “name your own price” and the demo is the final cut. Not only do some of these artists have day jobs, they are too involved with their role in the machine to put too much time toward music. Album title buzzwords include, but are not limited to, “sessions,” “demo,” “tapes,” “home,” and more “demos.” It’s almost as if these artists listen exclusively to the back halves of reissued deluxe editions.
Many releases also feature a small blurb about the ~tribulations~ of the home recording process: the sub-zero temperatures and heartaches experienced to their fullest by a lonely soul. The albums could well be home recordings of a sixth grader after their first general music lesson. To living room artists, music is only 50 years old and was invented by Bob Dylan before he went electric.
The question is tantalizing: is this really the extent of these artists’ talents or … is this a folk experiment in apathy? Until we speak with the artists populating the two and a quarter pages of this Bandcamp phenomenon, we will never know.
Bands you can probably play better than: Donnie Marks, Bruine Beer [a literal bear], Wurld Series
FFO: 40s of PBR (yes, they exist), analog recordings, the dude playing Neutral Milk covers at your local open mic, lake-effect snow drifts