Breaking Down Bandcamp: Reviews of Free EPs, Part III

by Lydia Felty ’17

Most of the time, the music I find on Bandcamp (see my history with the site here) has been sitting there for years. This week, however, I decided to peruse some albums that came out a bit more recently, focusing specifically on the newest albums by SW/MM/NG and SPACE AGE, both of whom stylize their names in all caps for some reason.

Feel Not Bad by SW/MM/NG (2014)

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Favorite Track: “Some Dreams Come True”
Album Details: 8 tracks, 39:16

I originally downloaded the demo of this album a couple of years ago, but only listened to it a couple of months ago. I was immediately intrigued by its catchy rhythms and simple vocals. You can imagine, then, how excited I was upon learning that SW/MM/NG recently released a full version of the album with just as beautiful a cover as the demo.

The group’s Facebook page classifies its genre as “dad rock, if your dad is into reverby pop songs.” My dad is, in fact, not into reverby pop songs (so far as I know), but I think I enjoy this album enough for the both of us. It has an upbeat, but peaceful mood, the kind I want to listen to as I’m chilling after class or working on homework—just soft enough that the sound doesn’t overwhelm my thoughts or surroundings, but cheerful enough to keep me in a good mood.

Despite their merits, the band’s songs do not vary much from one to the next, with each track giving off the vibe I imagine a quiet California beach has. The similarities allow the songs to nicely blend together on the album, but don’t give the tracks much of an opportunity to shine on their own. It is perhaps that quality that makes it so perfect for writing papers, for instance, or relaxing after a long day. Overall, the album itself is excellent, but I do wish it had tracks that were more distinct from each other.

The album was released toward the end of last year, but SW/MM/NG recently released vinyl versions of the album, and on April 21, the digital album will be re-released with three bonus tracks. It’s only three more songs, but I am hoping that they will provide a little variety compared to the rest of the album. Either way, I’m certainly excited about it, and you should be too.

Check out SW/MM/NG on Bandcamp and Facebook.


The Theory Of… by SPACE AGE (2015)

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Favorite Track: “No Pressure”
Album Details: 4 tracks, 17:15

An electronic rap/hip-hop collective formed in the UK, SPACE AGE dropped an incredible EP this past January. According to Bandcamp, SPACE AGE is comprised of Little Simz, Josh Arcé, Chuck 20, and Tilla Arcé, although the album was posted on Little Simz’s page. Ignoring the fact that Little Simz just turned 21 and that she has been experiencing amazing success recently (seriously, check out the bio on her website), listening to the album is enough to tell that she is on her way to high fame.

The first track, “No Pressure,” is by far my favorite, starting with Little Simz’s conversation with herself: “Happy New Year / How you been Simz / Yeah I’ve been okay / I’ve been forced to take some time off / I needed a break.” She launches into the details of her recent life, including the formation of SPACE AGE. Sounds pretty boring, right? Nope—it’s beautiful. The way she carries on the conversation with herself shows both her musical talent and her intelligence. Right from the start, she undoubtedly stands out, despite the great collective talent of SPACE AGE. The next two tracks follow in suit, showcasing Little Simz’s particular talent in the group. After the first three songs, I found myself a bit disappointed in the last track, “No Landing”—not because it isn’t good, but because it isn’t as good as the rest.

The EP is only four songs, and I so wish it were longer. With any luck, the group will come together to make a few more songs, but in the meantime, I know that I’ll be listening to Little Simz’s other “name your price” Bandcamp albums. I suggest you do, too.

Check out the album on Bandcamp, as well as Little Simz on Facebook and her website.