Music by VICE

11 Albums You Should Buy on Bandcamp Right Now to Support the ACLU

Bandcamp has pledged to donate 100 percent​ of its profits today to the ACLU, and buddy, have we got some album suggestions for you!

by Noisey Staff
Feb 3 2017, 8:45pm

Today, Bandcamp has pledged to donate 100 percent of its profits from sales to the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." The ACLU has been a vocal opponent of the Trump Administration's racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, misogynist agenda, and is currently gearing up for the fight of its life when it invariably hauls our Fascist-in-Chief into court to atone for his seemingly limitless sins. If you're not big on music, you can donate directly to them here—but, given that you're reading Noisey, we have a sneaking suspicion you might be interested in Bandcamp's idea, too.

We here at Noisey applaud Bandcamp's actions and think that it's an all-around spectacular idea. We wholeheartedly encourage everyone who's able to head on over to the digital music platform, open thy wallets, and throw down some nickels and dimes for a damn good cause. Read on for some of our staff's recommendations on what to listen to (and more importantly, to buy) on Bandcamp today to support the civil rights of everyone living in this big, broken country of ours.


The Outfit, TX - Down By The Trinity

After the hazy reinventions of classic Houston sounds that marked their earlier work (also available on Bandcamp!), Dallas's premier rap trio returned in 2015 in a darker mode. Songs like "Wild Turkey" and "Highs and Lows" put a grim twist on Southern party rap formulas, while songs like "just me" and "Burning Trees" completely break out of the mold of rap, instead exploring more ambient, instrumental territory. This is above all a producer's showcase, a journey through sound that imagines something like what might happen if DJ Screw released a mixtape on Hyperdub. - KYLE KRAMER

Open City - Open City

With a pedigree featuring members of Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black, Worriers, Bridge & Tunnel, and Titus Andronicus, and with an album produced by Will Yip, it'd be damn near impossible for Open City to fuck up their self-titled debut. And, thankfully, they didn't. Ten blistering tracks of East Coast hardcore done just right. Instead of dumping your wallet out at Discogs on that $50 colored variant of Jersey's Best Dancers, maybe invest in something that actually came out this decade? - DAN OZZI

Dr. Octagon - Dr. Octagon

In 1996 I was deep into Pavement, Blur, Garbage, The Longpigs, and Beck. If a guitar wasn't involved, I wasn't interested. But then a friend—a boy who didn't go to my school—gave me a mixtape which included Dr. Octagon's self-titled debut, and it blew my teeny teen mind. Let's recap: Kool Keith, a.k.a. Keith Thornton of the Ultramagnetic MCs, decided to make a concept record as a wildly perverted, often incidentally murderous gynecologist and surgeon from Jupiter. My God. Why the hell was I listening to a bunch of scrawny dudes with floppy hair sing about a very big house in the country? With it's practically prostrate, vinyl-crackled beats, ultra-menacing strings, and twisted lyrics that slide off his tongue like an ice cube slips down the small of your back, Dr. Octagon remains an innovative, mind-expanding classic. And it includes an interlude that doubles as an instructional for female masturbation. (Thank you dude who gave me the mixtape! Jason, I'm glad we're still friends.) Twenty-one years later and you can buy it on Bandcamp for the bargain basement price of seven bucks. Get it. Buy it for a bud. Then buy a bunch of other records on this list. It's a no-brainer.
- KIM TAYLOR BENNETT

Panopticon - Kentucky

Panopticon was one of the first bands I found that perfectly blended my primary musical interests—black metal, crust punk, and old country—with my personal political ideology (which is none of your damn business, but extremely easy to suss out if you read my work, follow me on Twitter, and/or talk to me for more than five minutes). I was a fan of the band before its release, but Panopticon's 2012 LP, Kentucky, will always have a special place in my heart, for the reason above as well as the fact that, in my former life as a music publicist, I was lucky enough to share it with the world. Since then, the band has continued to release excellent music, and I still consider Panopticon founder Austin Lunn a dear friend, and have delighted in watching his star rise. Years later, album's perfect blend of bluegrass, black metal, and Appalachian coal miners' songs remains unsurpassed, and through the voices of labor and working class grit, Kentucky asks a question that seems more important now as it ever has: Which side are you on? - KIM KELLY

Los Blenders - Chavos Bien

A wall can't stop the ascent of Mexico City surf garage punks Los Blenders. We've been keeping tabs on the quartet for a minute now, watching them rise from house party staples to Bandcamp darlings with seven releases and thousands of fans around the world. In April, the guys play Coachella for the first time—the only Mexican band on the bill—bringing their pummeling rhythms, strung-out melodies, and lyrics rooted in quotidian ennui to their biggest US crowd yet. Bone up with their sneering 2015 debut LP Chavos Bien, and keep ears out for a new album on the way. Even if you don't speak Spanish, the vibes are universal: It's living for nothing but a good beer and better friends, at a time when sometimes you just gotta say "fuck it" to the rest. - ANDREA DOMANICK

Alex G - Trick

Alex G gained a bit of popularity among the indie rock internet over the last couple years once he got signed to Domino, but long before he was selling out clubs he was touring basements in Philadelphia. The Fader wrote at length about his prolific songwriting ability and the scene in which he established himself a couple years ago, and some of the best music he's made is all across Bandcamp. Before signing to Domino, dude self-released like a bazillion records—which you can cop here—but the best one, in my opinion, is Trick, an album that encapsulates everything that's come to define Alex G: weird, stitched together experimental songwriting. Buy it here. - ERIC SUNDERMANN

B L A C K I E - Imagine Your Self in a Free and Natural World

B L A C K I E was one of the first artists to introduce me to rap made outside of the conventional format. Or, even better, one of the first outside of the norm to hold my attention. On Imagine Your Self in a Free and Natural World, one of the most refreshingly strange albums in recent history, B L A C K I E, takes noise rap to new heights by adding industrial free jazz. He wails about injustice on the poetic, mind-twisting "Wings Blocking Out The Sun." At other times, his unconventional saxophone playing sets the tone for his piercing vocals. The album, like all of his catalogue, proves that there are no limits for his imagination and witnessing his transformation between projects is truly gratifying. - LAWRENCE BURNEY

Tycho - Epoch

I listen to a lot of party music that makes me want to turn up and get wild. I also listen to a lot of stuff that makes me want to chill out and smoke a J. But there's a type of music that's a happy medium between those two poles that I can never get enough of—music like Tyco's 2016 album, Epoch. The album of electronic instrumentals is the music I can listen to when I need to work or when I need to focus. It's music I put on when I just want to listen to something nice and uncomplicated. It's the stuff that stimulates me but doesn't distract or bore me. It's nice to have something that's, frankly, just pretty, to listen to. That's why I keep revisiting Epoch. (And why you should buy it to support a very worthy cause). - LESLIE HORN

Pigarette - Anapola

Antonio Mendez had a former life as Lindsay Lowend, a key player in the early future bass scene of 2013-14. A jazz-trained guitarist seemingly uncomfortable in a DJ's skin, Mendez pivoted from crowd-pleasing 8-bit trap to moody faux-soundtracks before more-or-less disengaging from the electronic world. He's now part of a duo, Pigarette, with fellow six-stringer Beau Diakowicz. The music on their debut EP Anapola is knotty, jazz fusion post-rock with no immediate comparisons rushing to mind. Trip-hop grooves meet math-y compositions, wrapped up in enough complex guitarwork to make tab transcribers feel dizzy. Pigarette sound like they're playing for no one but themselves, which is fine. Indulgence is excusable when it's as natural and unique as this. - PHIL WITMER

Priests - Nothing Feels Natural

Priests give us the kind of punk rock we need right now: revved up and restless, but also soft and reflective. On Nothing Feels Natural, the D.C. group's sharp debut is, understandably, very tuned into what is happening in their home—namely Donald Trump and his new occupation. Their unease with the world's current trajectory stretches back before Trump's ascendancy but it aptly plugs into the narrative now. "Pink White House" has Katie Alice Greer snarling over anchoring riffs, "A puppet show in which you're made to feel like you participate/Sign a letter, throw your shoe, vote for numbers 1 or 2." Standout "Interlude" is a dizzyingly emotional instrumental, featuring rising, almost mournful strings, before leaning into the title track "Nothing Feels Natural", which has Greer so bluntly saying, "This is when I'd give a god a name but to people in sanctuaries all I can say is you will not be saved." Nothing does feel natural right now and it's confusing but Priests give us space to feel our concerns and shout it out into the ether. - SARAH MACDONALD

HANiF - Dance (Despite the Pain)

HANiF's last album Dance (Despite the Pain) featured cameos from John Legend and Estelle and I don't know why I'm writing that down because you can't listen to it anyway. The rapper surprise released it on Bandcamp last year, left it up for a few hours, and then announced that he was leaving New York City to return to his hometown of Portland, Oregon to open a barbershop/rare bookstore. Trawling the internet for Dance cuts, and checking HANiF out in his previous incarnation as Luck-One, is worth your time. But for starters, go drop $7 on his 2015 EP, 12 Inch Vinyls. It showcases everything that made him worth following in the first place: the beats are simple and soulful and rolled back far enough for his smart, precise delivery to catch on. He's also funny as hell when he feels like it. I bet that would have sounded great on a full-length album with John Legend and Estelle. - ALEX ROBERT ROSS

DJ Strike - DJStrike

Nintendo scores have always held a special place in music. From the lush samples used by the likes of Ryan Hemsworth and Tennyson to the the more drum based inclusions on Childish Gambino and Lil' Yachty, the concept of turning nostalgic video game scores into something unrecognizable has remained a popular staple of production in the last decade. DJ Strike, by way of Tripoli, Libya, lovingly (or not) understands this for his self-titled EP, turning classics like Donkey Kong Country 2's "Sticker Brush" and Legend of Zelda's "Blizzeta Themes" into soft cry sessions with 4/4 time signatures added on for the 'culture.' The real star of this project comes by way of final track "Luigi's Mansion Dubstep Remix" which is… well, pretty self-explanatory. - JABBARI WEEKES