Presenting our First Friday new music list for this month. We’re tweaking the format to include new music released by local artists not only on Bandcamp but also through platforms such as SoundCloud, or to showcase new videos they released.
Our First Friday post was inspired by Bandcamp’s move to waive their processing fees on the first Friday of every month. for artists who use their platform. Here’s the backstory from Bandcamp:
On the first Friday of every month since March, we’ve waived our revenue share to help support the many artists who have seen their livelihoods disrupted by the pandemic. Over the course of these nine days, fans paid artists and labels $40 million dollars, helping cover rents, mortgages, groceries, medications, and much more. If you’re among the nearly 800,000 fans who participated, thank you. Although vaccines are starting to roll out, it will likely be several months before live performance revenue starts to return. So we’re going to continue doing Bandcamp Fridays in 2021, on February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, and May 7th. As always, isitbandcampfriday.com has the details. If you’ve started to feel guilty about buying music on any day other than Bandcamp Friday, here’s something to keep in mind: on Bandcamp Fridays, an average of 93% of your money reaches the artist/label (after payment processor fees). When you make a purchase on any other day of the month (as 2.5 million of you have since March, buying an additional $145 million worth of music and merch) an average of 82% reaches the artist/label. Every day is a good day to directly support artists on Bandcamp!
Featured Bands for March 2021
Forming back in 2017, EGxBH, more formally known as Eugeine Grey and The Bad Habits, has taken charge of their own unique dark, rolling melodies and blood pumping rock sound to new levels of evolution. Blossoming into a raw and wonderfully unpolished sound that skins tones to that of All Them Witches, Highly Suspect, Local H, Clutch, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, and Rage Against The Machine. A talented four-piece collaboration of Patrick Goray (Guitar/Vox), Mike Arturi (Percussion), Brad Haptas (Bass), and Shaun Meek (Lead Guitar), the band took to the local Chicago scene like a house on fire with the debut release “Altered Beings” in June 2020 gaining supporting roles for Local H, Puddle Of Mudd, FUEL, and Tantric. EGXBH has been pushing their sound to the limit with an illustrative, mesmerizing, captivating example of hard-hitting, rock-n-roll– an unstoppable force and voice that the world so desperately needs today.
We’re a four piece band originally started by brothers Michael (guitar) and Matthew Garrity (drums/production) to pay homage to our favorite legendary Chicago punk bands, Alkaline Trio and The Lawrence Arms, but we’ve since slowly been morphing into something a bit different, particularly after adding Robbie Bersano on guitar and Matt Galante on bass. We attempt to blend influences that range from post-hardcore music like At the Drive-In, Every Time I Die, and Thrice to more classic punk fare to indie rock like Pixies.
Architects of Ruin
AOR was formed in 2018 with the intent of making Heavy Grooves filled with elements of Thrash and Death Metal. ‘Funeral Empire’ was released in April of 2019 and ‘Black Ash Existence’ is Dropping 2/26/21 with 2 singles being Released already, ‘Code Dead’ and ‘We Bury Our Own’.
Mixing influences from late 90’s/early 2000’s alternative and indie rock with modern, stream of conscious lyrics, Indoorsmen look to revive a sound and style that connects feelings of apathy and resistance to societal expectations.
Hailing from the NW side of Chicago, Indoorsmen released their first two singles “Panic Attack” and “Be Like This” early 2021. “Panic Attack” tackles the struggle of dealing with anxiety and daily life as a cog in the machine, while “Be Like This” deals with the feelings of self consciousness that we all encounter. The band’s first EP “Cleaning House” will be released in March, with more releases expected throughout the spring and summer of 2021.
OK Cool is a Chicago based indie-rock band made up of the duo Bridget Stiebris and Haley Blomquist. The release of “Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique” precedes their upcoming EP, Surrealist, which comes out on March 26.
Chicago-based thrashing heavy metal crew Armored Assault will be returning this Spring with their third official release titled Blood Queen. The 7-song LP will be released independently both on CD and digitally March 5th, as well as a limited run of vinyls set for a Spring release.
Armored Assault has been at it for over 17 years, relentlessly rehearsing, writing, and playing shows. With two official releases under their belt, Dead Before Dawn (2011) and Call The Beast (2014), the assault continues nearly seven years later, except this time around more assertive and explosive than ever. Blood Queen will be the band’s first release to feature the dexterity of guitarist Tony Notardonato and the slamming bass work of Billy McDonald, rounding out the core lineup of lead singer Andy “Pindy” Pindelski, shredding guitarist Tommy Bellino, and hard-hitting drummer Mark Suttner.
With that said, the latest album marks a new dawn for Armored Assault, with an onslaught of regenerated riffs and a barrage of smashing percussion to back it up. Initiating the album with a meaty bass line, an upsurge of riffage completely takes control in the opening ripper “Death Surrounds You.” Two of the groups fan favorite title tracks, “Dead Before Dawn” and “Call The Beast,” both make a comeback with a fresh production upgrade and a fierce delivery. From the smashing heaviness of “Winter’s Arms” to the in-your-face aggression of “Toxic Tower,” Armored Assault’s latest musical endeavor will undoubtedly have everyone shouting “ALL HAIL THE BLOOD QUEEN!”
“Despite the pandemic, the boys have been keeping as busy as possible, with a recent series of videos released [on their YouTube page: search for ‘Oddysseys’] as accompaniments to each song on their 2019 full-length album, ‘Odd Behavior’, all produced, directed, and edited by the band themselves.
On top of that, [last December] they released the ‘Goon’ and ‘Testimony’ singles, which were followed by the release of the “With You” EP last June. Oddysseys is most certainly a working-class band, bound and determined to achieve their goals, and willing to go the extra mile. True artists, the members view themselves as more than just a rock group that gets on stage and plays music, but a unit that’s capable of delivering a full-on audio-visual experience.” – V13 Media
“From Boston by way of Chicago, Oddysseys’ dreamy post-punk tendencies can be described as a ‘seductive mix of surly and breathy temper…’ that bounce and echo over dreamy guitars. It’s easy to catch the influences of goth-pop and early post punk bands like The Cure and New Order but with [their latest single], ‘Moaner’, Oddysseys take their efforts to the next level. Bellowing, melancholic vocals reverberate like hymns out of a cathedral, contrasting with the track’s sharp, restless bassline and driving tempo.” – Allston Pudding
This past August, Oddysseys released their single, “Body Heat” – the first from their forthcoming project, and on February 21st they released “Moaner”, their latest single that will also be featured on the aforementioned project.
Without Light is a four-piece instrumental prog-doom band from Chicago. After releasing two albums on Weed Cabinet Records, the departure of their original vocalist/bassist left them with a decision. Rather than attempt to maintain continuity, they opted to pivot instead into textured soundscapes that expanded upon the more proggy and synth-forward aspects of their previous releases. The backbone of their sound, however, remains the crushing doom riffs that break through the ether of synths and odd tempos to remind everyone that, at the end of the day, this is still metal. Original members Luke Scriven (drums), Angel Onofre (guitar), and Eric Sánchez (guitar) recruited Eric Carley (Dead Sun Rising) on bass, with all members contributing to synth in lieu of any vocals. The first single to be produced by this new lineup is Marching Defector, released in February on Weed Cabinet Records.
In a dusty desert, crickets chirp as tumbleweeds blow past in the moonlit night. The faint howl of a coyote can be heard in the distance as a chill cuts to the bone. Is this Earth’s new reality, the hellscape that is 2021? Or is it a distant land and a distant time? It’s not quite clear, but not much is anymore. The purple-hued sky is scanned for signs of reassurance, but none can be found. Just then, a distorted guitar chord breaks through. Other vibrations gather with it, overtaking the expanse of the desert. The unfamiliar sound beckons. Saddle back up. There is no more time to rest—it’s time to ride.
La leggenda di Chong Li (out digitally + physically on April 2 via Triple Eye Industries), the new offering from Devils Teeth, is a spaghetti western garage rock operetta inspired by the character Chong Li from the martial arts film Bloodsport. Self-recorded, largely in a barn-turned-art space next to an insect-infested forest on the outskirts of Milwaukee, La leggenda di Chong Li sprung from the cinematic mind of guitarist/vocalist Jonny Glissando, was produced under the keen direction of bassist/vocalist Erico Bello, is driven by the unparalleled rhythmic prowess of percussionist/drummer Chazz Bolognese, and is augmented with the melodic saxophone contortions of il Snaggletoots.
La leggenda di Chong Li follows up the band’s 2018 debut Suki Yaki Hot!, reaching far beyond that album’s garage-punk-surf mold. Following a sonic and narrative arc, La leggenda di Chong Li builds on the old sound with elements of exotica and spaghetti western, and with production qualities reminiscent of a rich Orbison record, to create its own Wall of Sound coupled with an other-worldly cinematic experience. Scan the horizon for more information from Devils Teeth about La leggenda di Chong Li, as we await its arrival on April 2, 2021.
Holy Holy is about whatever you believe “holy” to mean, and how hard it is, especially in the world we live in, to live up to that. There is so much spirituality being marketed these days, it’s hard to tell what’s fake and what’s real. So the song is also asking, for whatever path you’re on, are you being fake or are you being real with yourself?