Written by Ida V. Eskamani
Bandifesto is a home for music that moves us. Music that shapes the most impactful moments in our lives and the most powerful movements in our communities. Keeping up with the infinite amount of frontier-forging, soul-stirring, movement-making music is certainly an overwhelming challenge. But beyond any challenge, we cherish the exchange of meaningful music. From our hearts to yours, here’s our mini-mixtape of music that’s moving us, presented by Ida V. Eskamani. We hope it moves you too.
"Free Time" by Happy Accidents
I'm so happy to introduce you to Happy Accidents. The London-based trio are quintessential indie-punk: quirky, earnest, and wholehearted. 2018 saw the release of their sophomore record, Everything but the Here and Now. The album signals progression in the band's sound, with drummer Phoebe Cross picking up the microphone alongside vocalist and guitars Rich Mandell, while sibling Neil Mandell continues to set the tone with bass-lines that hypnotize.
The combination shines on “Free Time.” The two vocalists alternate the lead, Mandell steadily lackadaisical, while Cross’ tone exudes optimism, regardless of the criss expressed in the lyrics. Happy Accidents exist wholly within this contradiction; uplifting tunes while simultaneously addressing heavy concepts. Free Time addresses feelings of worthlessness and contemplations of suicide, common struggles dominated by stigma which so often leads to irreversible loss. “I need more free time / Free of feeling worthless / Let me do anything / Give me sense of purpose.” The lyrics are sung with such nonchalance, we forget how courageous and important they are.
Punk music of all variations resonated with me at a young age because it's inherently inclusive. Punk is music for the rejects and the outsiders; those who never quite fit in. Through authentic emotions expressed via music and in the mosh pit, there is solidarity and solace to be found. A simple yet profound reminder that someone knows your struggles, and shares your scars. Happy Accidents fulfills this promise.
"Keep On" by Loose Tooth
Get ready for Loose Tooth. The three-piece out of Melbourne, Australia are part of an ever-growing class of musicians from the down under posed to take over the indie-music world. All three members lend their vocals to the band with Etta Curry on drums, Luc Dawson playing bass, guitar, and keyboard, along with Nellie Jackson on guitar. The band released their debut record Keep Up just a few short weeks ago, and fam, it's a treasure. With sublime harmonies and effervescence undercurrents, the Aussie's have cultivated an invigorating sound that keeps you coming back for more.
The record's opening track Keep On has been a repeat on my playlist. The track is dreamy, with smeared guitar effects timed with intention throughout. I'm a sucker for a solid bass-line-- Keep On launches with an irresistible one, grounded in measured drum beats that drive the track forward. Two songs merged into one, the track incorporated vocals from all three of the band's members. Curry and Jackson’s harmonies are bound and determined, “Keep On, keep getting on, you will not be happy 'cause you don’t know what you want." Dawson's vocals follow, his tone similarly kind, yet pressing.
The trio are learning from the best; signed on to Milk Records, the record label founded by Australia’s most loved musical export (and my personal queen) Courtney Barnett. Despite the existential themes, with bouncy guitar lines and gentle harmonies, Keep On feels infinitely optimistic, a juxtaposition which carries on throughout the record.
"Elementary School Dropout" by Yucky Duster
I hate to be the bearer of bad news-- but the band you're about to meet doesn't exist anymore. Brooklyn's Yucky Duster made waves with the release of their self-titled debut in 2016, followed by Duster's Lament, an EP released in 2017. The band consisted of four friends, all talented musicians in their own right: Madeline Babuka Black, Zack O'Brien, Maggie Gaster, and Luca Balser. All four artists sing on Yucky Duster's records, creating infectious girl-gang vocals and classic surf-rock harmonies.
I adore Duster's Lament, in part because of the process. The EP consists of five tracks. The four bandmates each "claimed" a track to lead, and collectively wrote the title track. The final results are a refreshingly eclectic set of tunes, each with its own dreams and aspirations that nest in your mind well after you hear it.
The song I cannot get outta my mind is Elementary School Dropout, the final track of the bands final product. It's a love song, from the perspective of someone who doesn't know if they know how to be loved. The track opens with an organ reminiscent of a funeral home. As the singer learns to accept love, the organ gives way to uplifting spiraling guitar riffs that bounce off the walls. The lyrics are honest and executed with a vulnerable tone: "When you find someone who feels useful / It can kind of make you really wanna lose your mind." In the chorus the protagonist reveals their self-image as a consistent failure: "I'm an elementary school dropout / I break the rules like, every single time." Yet in the saddest and sweetest way, their commitment is expressed: "I'm pretty sure you're the only reason / I ever tried to get myself in line."
Yucky Duster announced their break up in May. Considering their EP was created to reflect the foursome's distinct stylistic leanings, I can't help but feel this end is fitting. In their brief existence Yucky Duster created some damn good tunes that will continue to move you well beyond the band's lifespan.
Ida is an Iranian-American from Florida who grew up with the Beatles, and came of age in the pit. She will talk to you about music for as long as you will pretend to listen. She is founder of Bandifesto, a little blog with a big heart.