Looking for music on Bandcamp is a frustrating process, and even aside from the site’s sometimes confusing navigation and discovery tools, there’s not always great stuff to find, especially when you search for free albums. I can say I’ve gotten screwed over many a time after finding some mediocre band releasing their album for free on Bandcamp. Obviously ( and thankfully), it didn’t cost anything, but it’s just irksome when you want to listen to some good music that maybe hasn’t made it to a lot of ears yet.
However, like sometimes you find something great that completely blows you away. And that’s very much the story with my discovery of Phoenix-based noise rock/hardcore band Gay Kiss. First of all, yes: this band’s name is Gay Kiss. Interpret that however you will, but you shouldn’t let whatever stigma you might have towards the name stop you from at least trying out the music, because it is nothing short of fantastic. GK plays a chaotic blend of hardcore punk and metal, with vocals that can barely be understood and rhythms that make you want to start moshing in your bedroom. Think Converge.
Well, maybe it’s more than just thinking Converge; Gay Kiss very obviously takes influence from the band. But, as my good friend Scott Murphy touched on briefly in his review of Église’s self titled debut (another album worth checking out, by the way), “influence is a fickle beast,” and with a band like Converge essentially revolutionizing the hardcore scene since the breakout hit of 2001’s Jane Doe, there are going to be a lot of people taking influence. But, as Scott also says, this is not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes sounds are recycled and used different ways. Gay Kiss, I believe, aptly fits this description; if you weren’t looking at the artwork (which is definitely not made by Jacob Bannon), you’d probably think you were listening to something around Jane Doe-era Converge. But when you listen closely, you can hear a lot of differences. GK seems to err more on the side of hardcore punk rather than metal in their guitar work; if you can listen through the heavily distorted riffs, you can pretty much hear the same chords that bands in the early days of Dischord Records were playing.
And what’s more, unlike early Dischord albums—which, good luck if you can find that for a good price anywhere—and Converge (which is still pretty expensive, too), this is free, if you so choose. Pay what you wish. And we’re not talking about just one album (though I highly recommend starting with their latest album, 2015’s Preservation Measures): the entire band’s discography is available for you to sample and download, should you choose it.
What’s to lose?