As in years past, Bandcamp is donating 100 percent of its profits today to a righteous cause. After supporting the Transgender Law Center and the ACLU with similar pledges last year, this time they've got their eye on the upcoming midterms, which will take place on November 6. If you're eligible to vote but haven't already registered for these elections, do so right the hell now. And when you've done that, consider the fact that the right to vote is under threat for many people in the United States. Or, to quote Bandcamp:
We want to help protect the right to vote itself, which is increasingly under attack by elected officials who seek to stay in power by undemocratically and illegally disenfranchising minorities, young people, and the poor. According to a recent study, 20 states have passed new, restrictive voting laws since 2010, which include arbitrary cutoff dates for early voters, unnecessary burdens on the voter registration process, and a tightening of voter ID requirements. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that every person who wants to exercise their right to vote can do so easily, without hassle, anxiety, or obstruction.
So, every cent of profit that Bandcamp brings in today will go to the Voting Rights Project—you can donate to them separately here as well. All you need to do to help is buy some really good music. But the sheer volume of Bandcamp's music library can make the choices overwhelming, we know. To help narrow it down, we've picked a few of our favorite albums worth buying.
Tropical Fuck Storm: A Laughing Death in Meatspace
Gareth Liddiard's biting poetic absurdities and witty sneers turned him into an icon back home in Australia, where The Drones are regarded as one of the greatest indie bands of all time. America never embraced him in the same way. Their loss. Tropical Fuck Storm, formed after The Drones took some time off at the end of 2016, released this, their debut, earlier this year. It's a record for an algorithmically generated apocalypse ("meatspace," I just learned to my horror, is what Silicon Valley oddballs call the corporeal realm), but its terror spreads out beyond that: Gary Kasparov losing to AI, neurodegenerative disorders, "The Future of History." Fellow Drone Fiona Kitschin's guttural bass and Erica Dunn's sputtering guitar make for a suitably uneasy pairing; drummer Lauren Hammel creates twitchy chaos all on her own. But face it—you want to buy an album called A Laughing Death in Meatspace by a band called Tropical Fuck Storm either way. —Alex Robert Ross
Makaya McCraven: Where We Come From
The Chicago-based drummer and composer Makaya McCraven made an effort a few months back to prove that his ecstatic mix of avant jazz and stuttered rap editing technics was a global concern. Last year, he went to London and recorded some alchemical jams with a host of that scene’s finest, as an attempt to further demonstrate that in-the-moment exchanges, in all their awkwardness and discomfort have the power to cross the borders we draw between ourselves on both personal and socio-political levels. As is his wont, he then took those pieces and edited them down into these heavy grooves, stretching out accidental moments of transcendence into mathematical infinity. That strange joy is coupled here by the fact that McCraven and co. enlisted some DJs and producers to then flip those edits into even more active rhythms, iterating on the shared language that McCraven developed with his new collaborators, creating new idioms out of familiar phrases. —Colin Joyce
Keeping Virginia's proud screamo legacy alive, Richmond's Ostraca made a powerful contribution to the genre earlier this year with enemy. At once, the record shows reverence for those that came before them (Saetia immediately comes to mind) but at the same time the three-piece is able to hone in on an identity that is distinctly their own. And if screamo and weirdo hardcore float your boat, find more of it on Bandcamp through this weekly column. —Dan Ozzi
Emily A. Sprague: Mount Vision
Should you know the songwriter Emily Sprague’s work as Florist, you may know something of what to expect from her efforts under her own name: compositional patience, microscopic detail, a simultaneous acknowledgement of both the heaviness and beauty of existence. Atop Mount Vision, a second tape of solo ambient pieces that she’s released since the last Florist record, she further surveys those chosen themes, sketching out six cloistered, quiet mood pieces, recorded in just two days after a recent move to California. Flitting between small compositions for synth and piano, the tape feels intimate, but vast, a dazzling cartography of unknowable inner spaces. —Colin Joyce
Pairs: If this cockroach doesn't die, I will
I still have no idea how I found out about Pairs, the two-piece garage punk duo who tore about the Shanghai punk scene for a while before breaking up sometime in 2014. Nor do I really know what became of them. I think frantic and shouty drummer-singer Xiao Zhong got hitched and moved back to Melbourne at some point; the other half of the band was a guitarist who fought over those relentless yelps and, by sheer force of will, won. But her name was just F., so damned if I'm going to find her now. Their whole discography is on Bandcamp, from their almost indecipherable early stuff to the loose, piano-and-a-mic Eltham Join (with the digital liner notes: "Apologies for the terrible singing. I'm fucking tone deaf.") But If this cockroach doesn't die, I will., apparently recorded at a bomb shelter in Shanghai, catches them at an appropriately unhealthy midpoint. If you're looking for something beyond the proto-Japandroids and Flying Nun comparisons, here's Xiao himself describing their sound as "awful, awful timing from awful, awful people." —Alex Robert Ross
Roza Terenzi & DJ Zozi: Roza Terenzi & DJ Zozi
The first voyage to reach Planet Euphorique—accprdomg the imprint’s SoundCloud, “a tiny planet calling, a new and exciting place”—is a joint, multinational effort between the cosmonauts Roza Terenzi (a producer and DJ from Melbourne) and DJ Zozi, one of the many outlets of the artist Sophie Sweetland (who you might also know as D. Tiffany). Each of the pair know their share about floating in space on their own, so it’s no surprise that the their collaborative journey plots an interstellar course as well. No matter how dense and detailed their tracks get, they ballast their work with zero-G synth pads, dizzy rhythms, and slippery breaks—the sort of stuff that keeps you floating somewhere above the club’s sticky floor. —Colin Joyce
Ghost Spirit/Frail Hands: Split LP
On this split LP, LA's Ghost Spirit rips though a set that often uses mathy pieces to lead into harsher, more desperate sounding sections. But once they hand the reigns over to Nova Scotia's Frail Hands, the record falls apart in the best possible way. Any words that would best describe the vocals on this side of the record could be pulled straight from horror movie posters: unsettling, chilling, blood-curdling. Not for the faint of heart. —Dan Ozzi
Jasmine Infiniti: SiS
A seasoned soundtracker of hard-partying club spaces turns in something a little slinkier and stranger on her debut EP. Her take on techno and club constructions slinks along in shadows; voices echo through empty corridors. Major-key bliss is rare, and hen euphoria happens—as on the kick drum thunder of “What I Need”—it’s haunted by barely in-key samples and ghostly “Ha”s. It’s a rave-up—with all the communality and joy that that implies—complicated by the realities of the real world. It’s heavy out there, this music seems to say, but that’s no reason to just stay inside and sulk. —Colin Joyce
Something happened to Sleater-Kinney in the two-year gap between Dig Me Out and The Hot Rock. They got cosmic, keeping half an eye on the afterlife and its implications, ending up with songs like "God Is a Number" and the literally transcendent "Get Up," allowing Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein to converse rather than scrap towards resolution. On Introducing…, the debut album from the Tucker-fronted side-project Cadallaca, you can hear that happening in real-time. Sarah Dougher of The Lookers is on farfisa organ and backup, but Tucker is front and center, and she responds to her more mellow surroundings by softening up and trusting her voice in its lower reaches. The record turns 20 tomorrow, so buy it because anniversaries are fun. Or just buy it so you can hear "Pocket Games," one of Tucker's best and most beautifully vulnerable songs, on repeat. —Alex Robert Ross
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