33 essential Bandcamp releases you should buy to support the ACLU this Friday
Bandcamp has announced that this Friday, February 3, it will donate 100% of the profits from sales to the American Civil Liberties Union in protest of Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban”. Here’s what should be on your shopping list.
Yesterday, Bandcamp announced it would donate its profits from sales this Friday to support the ACLU in response to Donald Trump’s sickening “Muslim ban”. With the ACLU’s role more important than ever right now, there couldn’t be a better day to take a shopping spree on the site.
FACT has dug into some of greatest hits from the last two years of the Best Of Bandcamp column, while also throwing in a few all-time classics for good measure. Ranging from techno and metal to hip-hop and some seriously unclassifiable shit (or “the usual” as we like to call it here), these 33 albums highlight the diverse independent community Bandcamp has nurtured.
Dream Catalogue mainstays Telepath and HKE take vaporwave to the next level as 2814, creating backdrops for neon-lit skylines on the hypnagogic and noirish Rain Temple.
Alexandria’s sublime, Ethereal-produced 2014 debut album is still just as essential as the day it was released, offering a modern take on Aaliyah’s eerie R&B jams.
A Pregnant Light
(Colloquial Sound Recordings)
Rocky is a musical eulogy to the multi-talented Damian Master’s late father, a volcanic outpouring of grief and love through 21 minutes of blasting drums, searing guitar melodies and pained screams.
Part Of The Y’all
Ben Varian found this perfect balance of laughs and existential dread with an album that sounds like the Silver Jews and Jens Lekman met up at a chintzy tiki lounge.
Itasca Road Trip
Seattle-based producer Nicole Johnson crafts sun-drenched, foggily nostalgic electronica on Itasca Road Trip, an aural tour of Itasca State Park in Minnesota.
Death’s Dynamic Shroud.WMV
I’ll Try Living Like This
2015’s I’ll Try Living Like This doesn’t try to subvert new trends in vaporwave, nor does it hark back to the genre’s conceptual early days. Instead it fucking bangs, hard and consistently, for a dizzying and immensely pleasurable hour.
Dolphins Into The Future
…On Sea-Faring Isolation
Lieven Martens Moana’s best album. These gentle oceanic field recordings, bubbling synths and humid atmospheres will make you feel like as peaceful as a buoy lost at sea.
On 2015’s Rip Chrysalis, Alexandra Drewchin jumps from baroque folk to futuristic electronics to field recording collages with a sincerity and organic flow that pulls you along through each chaotic phase. Essential.
Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First?
There’s no way we could run a list of essential Bandcamp records and leave off Atlanta rap crew Awful Records. You could pick from any number of releases, but Father’s vivid Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First? is a doozy.
Producers team for a collection of protest music using techno, industrial noise and sound collage to support women fighting Daesh in the Rojava region of Syria. Everything you spend on this will go towards worthy causes.
Four Tet’s debut album Dialogue is still unavailable on iTunes. You know what to do.
Boston-based producer Isabella unleashes raw analogue techno on Viscous Positions with an emphasis on the acidic. There’s plenty of gurgling Roland TB-303 goodness to be had, but each of these tracks also carries a sinister edge that stings in just the right way.
Michelle Zauner’s Japanese Breakfast project, inspired by her mother’s sickness and death from cancer, culminated in 2016’s Psychopomp, a stunning dream-pop album that encompasses romance, joy and humor as well as grief.
Melbourne artist Katie Dey’s asdfasdf was one of the strongest debuts of 2015, a bedroom pop jewel hewn from lo-fi electronics, fingerpicked guitar and manipulated vocals.
Holding New Cards
Sano has releases that arguably feel more airtight — but the idiosyncratic Holding New Cards is the kind of sprawling, grand statement that cements him as a techno producer worth following.
A Distant Fist Unclenching
One of Brooklyn’s best loved rock bands said goodbye on their third album, A Distant Fist Unclenching – a bittersweet farewell from a group that examined existential paralysis with sensitivity, humor and sincerity.
Lil Ugly Mane
Three Sided Tape Vol.1
We will never, ever get bored of Three Sided Tape Vol 1, and frankly we’re jealous of anyone who hasn’t discovered it yet. You’re in for a treat.
Sweet Mellow Cat
Whether she’s making delicate miniatures or building entire worlds, Brazilian sound artist Liz Christine blends and loops with a deft hand and a wide-eyed glee on Sweet Mellow Cat.
(Beer On The Rug)
What can you even say about Floral Shoppe that hasn’t been said already? Without it, vaporwave wouldn’t be where it is, Bandcamp wouldn’t be what it is and I wouldn’t be writing this column — I’ll just leave it at “thanks”.
Pathway Through Whatever
(Beer On The Rug)
Guess what? The best eccojam of all time isn’t made by Chuck Person. It belongs to Mediafired and Kate Bush on ‘Pixies’, just one highlight from this classic whose anonymous creator is still a complete mystery to me.
Sometimes an album comes along with artwork so amazing the music behind it couldn’t possibly hold up. On very rare occasions, it does.
(Kendra Steiner Editions)
Built from samples of Marcus Rubio’s own recorded compositions, More Eaze is an album where technology and humanity blend with grace, from cosmic drones to fingerpicked guitars.
Queens-based rave fantasist Lindsey French straddles hook-laden pop songwriting, moody deep house, vintage breakbeats and jackin’ energy on her second full-length, a genre-hopping paean to dancefloors past and present.
If you haven’t looked into Nmesh beyond mixes such as his Welcome To The Warp Zone video game mix or FACT’s 2-hour mind-melter, then this psychedelic funhouse ride is creepy, trippy and immensely entertaining.
Odwalla88’s album barely breaks 15 minutes, but they make every second hit hard – best friends Chloe Maratta and Flannery Silva build a world that’s intimate yet obtuse, baffling yet utterly simple.
Opaline’s crystalline tones on Memory Drain overflow with wonder and warmth. It’s like looking up at the stars, but without all those pesky thoughts about death and insignificance.
Prince Metropolis Known
Bill O’Reilly is the central subject of Kill Bill, on which Kool Keith protege Prince Metropolis Known turns himself into the kind of repulsive, lascivious and dangerous character that the Fox News dimwit has accused all rappers of being.
Stephan Mathieu dives into the hypersleeping brains of Alien’s doomed Nostromo crew on this stunning ambient album, from the cold white noise of Ash the android to an epic 20-minute centerpiece for Ripley – and even a track for the Jonesy the ship’s cat.
Lifter + Lighter
Good Willsmith’s Natalie Chami pushed her TALsounds project to even greater heights on second album Lifter + Lighter, as cloudy ambience, glowing space-folk and loose R&B vocals blend with ease.
Thou’s doom metal masterpiece Heathen is one of the very best metal albums this decade with furious dynamics matched by bleak lyrics which have unfortunately grown from “fantastical metal poetry” to “look out your goddamn window”. It’s still Name Your Price so name something and “join our sad tears and dance on the blackened bones of gods”
“I’m just like any other girl”. An endlessly repeating statement that warps and layers and grows and collapses and rises and never stops demanding in this devastating eccojam hymn. Robin Burnett wrenches a vast range of emotions through careful manipulations of the same sample that benefits from just leaving on repeat for as long as you need. Not just the best recording I’ve ever found on Bandcamp, it’s remained my favorite piece of music this entire decade and it’s never needed to be heard more than right now.
Laid to tape in a basement in Athens, OH, Pseudio Recordings is the incredible 2015 debut by Wished Bone’s Ashley Rhodes – simple, lo-fi songs lifted by vivid imagery and sonic quirks.
(Beer On The Rug)
Released in 2012 and somehow echoing Flying Lotus, The Microphones, John Fahey and Chicago footwork, YYU’s stuttering, disorienting and overwhelmingly intimate debut is still unlike anything on the internet.