Best of Bandcamp 2016
December 9, 2016 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Since it first started getting major buzz and attention around the start of the decade, Bandcamp has become the go-to place for anyone and everyone (that is to say, artists without agents and established labels) to release their albums. Musicians point to an artist-friendly approach to business and design, allowing for direct relationships with listeners and minimal interference. And there's been a treasure trove of undersung gems ever since. But the sheer breadth and volume could be hard to navigate, to say the least, leaving many to just wander around the "aisles" aimlessly (some would argue this is a good thing). This year Bandcamp launched Bandcamp Daily (previously) as an attempt to provide some curation around this vast catalog of releases, with a crack staff of knowledgeable, respected music critics. Now they've put out their Best Albums of 2016, and it's a stunner.

No manner how clued in you are to music this year, it's a safe bet much of this will be new and worthwhile, and in many cases these releases had been languishing with only a handful of fans until now. While other tastemaker sites and year-end lists all too often parrot the same few artists a consensus has formed around, this one offers something different. The list in sections: #100 – 81; #80 – 61; #60 – 41; #40 – 21; #20 – 1.
posted by naju (70 comments total) 113 users marked this as a favorite
Good to see Fetish Bones come in high on this one. I'm old and obsolete and live under a rock, so I've got zero opinion on the rest of these, but that album knocked me on my ass.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:30 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hell yes. I've been trying to get into Bandcamp for a while and this is a great point of entrance. Thanks!
posted by griphus at 11:31 AM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by beerperson at 11:32 AM on December 9, 2016 [8 favorites]

It's a good list (and a good post). I will choose to believe that this one came in at #101.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2016

Fucking love Mitski. (Also, can I just say she kills it on twitter?)
posted by naju at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

i will allow you to say that
posted by beerperson at 11:41 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Feeling the love for Mitski! She's awesome. I was surprised to see Car Seat Headrest didn't come in higher, though. Teens of Denial is a killer album.
posted by atropos at 11:42 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Whoa, how the hell had I missed that Mykki Blanco dropped a whole album? She Gutta was a fucking revelation when I discovered it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:43 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cool, thanks Naju! There are some good "Bandcamp Labels"/Indy Labels that put their music on Bandcamp, so it's not just artists who are taking advantage of Bandcamp's greatness.

Here are a few good ones IMO:
New Amsterdam Records (new music)
Analog Africa (African reissues)
Opal Tapes (Techno)
Names You Can Trust (Latin)
Canary Records (World Musics from the past)
NON (Electronic music as conceptual art)
Athens of the North (northern soul and beyond)

There are a lot of other good labels too that I haven't included cause I'm lazy!
posted by nikoniko at 11:47 AM on December 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'm surprised Zeal and Ardor's "Devil is Fine" isn't on that list, but maybe the whole album isn't on Bandcamp, just individual tracks? Because that album is pretty fantastic.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:48 AM on December 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

I have a few Bandcamp artists I really love. Defunct Seattle band Friends And Family (whom I saw open for Polyphonic Spree a few years ago and they totally fucking blew my mind), Look Left, a loop artist who writes clever and touching songs, and Fox Amoore (previously) whose latest project with Pepper Coyote is full of really fun songwriting.

There's a lot of others I've encountered along the way, but those remain favorites for me.
posted by hippybear at 11:51 AM on December 9, 2016

"I'm surprised Zeal and Ardor's "Devil is Fine" isn't on that list, but maybe the whole album isn't on Bandcamp, just individual tracks? Because that album is pretty fantastic."

When we first had our conversation about it the entire album was there. I know, because I bought it off there and have the receipt in my email archives to prove it.

This isn't the first time I've purchased an album only to wish to recommend it to friends so I go back and it's no longer available. I think of it as Label Disease / Signing Disease. Even though I can't prove that's what has happened, it seems likely.
posted by komara at 11:52 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

My two favorites that I've picked up from Bandcamp are Baroness and All Them Witches. If you like either of those you can go search for Red Fang, Tuber, Mars Red Sky, Oxcross, Straight Jack Cat, and a hundred others besides.
posted by komara at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

komara, that seems likely, I also bought it off Bandcamp, I'm pretty sure, and also, the whole album used to be on YouTube, but isn't anymore, it was apparently taken down because of a request by Warner Music Group.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2016

After a quick glance, some of these names look familiar as stuff that's on Matthew Perpetua's year-end 2016 survey mix over at Fluxblog, which is available for free download. A decent place to start if you want to try some of this out without streaming or buying.
posted by yasaman at 11:57 AM on December 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Devil Is Fine is great! And getting a proper label release with vinyl in February 2017, it appears. Devil bless em, hope they get the exposure they deserve.
posted by naju at 12:01 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Bandcamp is an amazingly deep reservoir of great music. Mitksi is amazing! I'm also digging Bodywash and Elza Soares.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:02 PM on December 9, 2016

Not only bands without labels or bands, it is also the goto place for many artists, if you desire their music in lossless or higher resolution than offered by the conventional stores, e.g. VNV Nation: Resonance.

For another label that treats its artists right, I can recommend Magnatune.
posted by bouvin at 12:11 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

For those who don’t want to click through…
  1. Frankie Cosmos, Next Thing
  2. Ultimate Painting, Dusk
  3. Belgrado, Obraz
  4. In School, Cement Fucker
  5. clipping., Splendor & Misery
  6. Aesop Rock, The Impossible Kid
  7. Various Artists, The Calais Sessions
  8. Jay Som, Turn Into
  9. Risa Rubin, Jewish Unicorn
  10. Troller, Graphic
  11. BROOKZILL!, Throwback to the Future
  12. Anxiety, MLP Anxiety
  13. Mall Walk, Funny Papers
  14. Reginald Omas Mamode IV, Reginald Omas Mamode IV
  15. Motion Graphics, Motion Graphics
  16. Cosmonauts, A-OK!
  17. Bocafloja, Cumbé
  18. Kali Phoenix, Voices
  19. Posh Lost, Posh Lost
  20. ANOHNI, Hopelessness
  21. José Mauro, Obnóxius
  22. Rakta, III
  23. Dylan Cameron, Infinite Floor
  24. Steady Holiday, Under the Influence
  25. MJ Guider, Precious Systems
  26. Alsarah & the Nubatones, Manara
  27. Rïcïnn, Lïan
  28. Josef Leimberg, Astral Progressions
  29. Pyramid Vritra, Yellowing
  30. Weaves, Weaves
  31. Fawda Trio, Road to Essaouria
  32. Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial
  33. Skyzoo & Apollo Brown, The Easy Truth
  34. Various Artists, Biscuits For Your Outside Man
  35. Stay At Home Son, Stay At Home Son
  36. ASEUL, New Pop
  37. Sumerlands, Sumerlands
  38. Jackie Lynn, Jackie Lynn
  39. Flasher, S/T EP
  40. James Ferraro, Human Story 3
  41. Lydia Loveless, Real
  42. Modern Baseball, Holy Ghost
  43. ZULUZULUU, What’s the Price?
  44. Terry Malts, Lost at the Party
  45. Hyperion, Seraphical Euphony
  46. Omni, Deluxe
  47. Imarhan, Imarhan
  48. scallops hotel, Too Much of Life is Mood
  49. The Gaslamp Killer, Instrumentalepathy
  50. Oathbreaker, Rheia
  51. Oddisee, The Odd Tape
  52. Failed Flowers, Failed Flowers
  53. Jherek Bischoff, Cistern
  54. Raime, Tooth
  55. Weyes Blood, Front Row Seat to Earth
  56. Blank Banshee, MEGA
  57. Mare Cognitum, Luminiferous Aether
  58. Orkesta Mendoza, ¡Vamos A Guarachar!
  59. Alexandria, Promise
  60. The Seshen, Flames & Figures
  61. Xenia Rubinos, Black Terry Cat
  62. Jeff Parker, The New Breed
  63. Quelle Chris, Lullabies for the Broken Brain
  64. Sélébéyone, Sélébéyone
  65. Siddiq & Vektroid, Midnight Run
  67. Trentemøller, Fixion
  68. Snail Mail, Habit
  69. Marissa Nadler, Strangers
  70. Black Marble, It’s Immaterial
  71. Bon Iver, 22, A Million
  72. G.L.O.S.S., Trans Day of Revenge
  73. SubRosa, For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
  74. Ivy Sole, Eden
  75. Various Artists, Space Echo: The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!
  76. Greys, Outer Heaven
  77. The Body, No One Deserves Happiness
  78. J-Zone, Fish-n-Grits
  79. Yussef Kamaal, Black Focus
  80. Exploded View, Exploded View
  81. Angel Olsen, My Woman
  82. Pure Disgust, Pure Disgust
  83. Kadhja Bonet, The Visitor
  84. K.A.A.N., Uncommon Knowledge
  85. Oranssi Pazuzu, Värähtelijä
  86. Mykki Blanco, Mykki
  87. Elza Soares, The woman at the end of the world (A mulher do fim do mundo)
  88. Katlyn Aurelia Smith, Ears
  89. Terrace Martin, Velvet Portraits
  90. Jimetta Rose, Light Bearer
  91. Mitski, Puberty 2
  92. MNDSGN, Body Wash
  93. Jenny Hval, Blood Bitch
  94. Noname, Telefone
  95. Jenny Besetzt, Tender Madness
  96. Shabaka & the Ancestors, Wisdom of Elders
  97. Ette, Homemade Lemonade
  98. NxWorries, Yes Lawd!
  99. Moor Mother, Fetish Bones
  100. KING, We Are KING
posted by Going To Maine at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2016 [28 favorites]

(Yep, hopefully the mods will fix it. Unfortunately, ol reversed doesn’t work.)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2016

(& it's fixed! So fast!)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2016

One of my favorite things about Bandcamp is that it feels like everyone who uses it has accidentally stumbled upon at least one band that no one else knew about. For me recently, it was literally just randomly thinking Dating would be a pretty good/funny name for an emo band, then googling it and discovering they actually are an emo band from Sweden, and pretty decent too. This is a good track from a solid album.
posted by naju at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, to be fair, looking at that list a good chunk of it is from established labels with PR firms. So I'm maybe in danger of overselling the premise of the FPP, but I think there's still so much here genuinely under the radar that the point stands.
posted by naju at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Vektroid & Siddiq's album is fantastic.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:30 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm sad they broke up, but they released such killer shit before they left us. Also discovered via the Bandcamp, if you're into the heavier side of thingies:

Cinemechanica - A pissed off car crash between Running Board era DEP mathcore and Keelhaul-style noise rock.
Frontierer - More mathy chaos, this time channeling Chaosphere-era Meshuggah and early-00s metalcore like Coalesce or Burnt by the Sun.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, to be fair, looking at that list a good chunk of it is from established labels with PR firms.

I've been annoyed with PledgeMusic lately for having a lot more major label artists who are using the platform to sell premium products to fans for projects without needing the fundraising that unlabeled bands require when they use the same platform for offering a t-shirt and a digital download for $50. It's like, the acts who are trying to actually crowdsource their funding are being drowned out by major label boutique crowd promotions.

I know the concepts of the two sites are entirely different, but I do some support through PledgeMusic for artists who don't have much support, and it annoys me to see Melissa Etheridge, Alice Cooper, The Flaming Lips, Jethro Tull, String Cheese Incident and many others in their weekly email to me. Looking at those campaigns they aren't even raising funds, they're merely taking orders. Grrrrr.
posted by hippybear at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also Reproacher from Wyoming, for some crusty nastiness.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2016

Bandcamp is especially good for "genre" music, for want of a better term. So, for example, it's been years since I've heard a jazz trio as exciting as Phronesis. They may not be obscure to people who closely follow modern jazz, but there is no way I would have discovered this group without a platform like Bandcamp.
posted by ferdydurke at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2016

Also, to be fair, looking at that list a good chunk of it is from established labels with PR firms.

There isn’t very much stopping an indie label (or indie artist) from getting a PR firm of some sort, and there are plenty of indie PR folks spamming record critics with free music in the hopes of getting some coverage and play for their artists (at least in my limited experience).
posted by Going To Maine at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2016

I've only listened to one of these albums (though a few others I did preview and pass on). I will have to take a look at the rest of them! Good thing I have nothing important planned for the next forever!
posted by aubilenon at 12:45 PM on December 9, 2016

there are plenty of indie PR folks spamming record critics with free music in the hopes of getting some coverage and play for their artists (at least in my limited experience).

OMG I wrote music reviews for the local free GLBT newspaper here in Spokane for a while (sadly now defunct), and you would not BELIEVE the number of CDs I received, even being a tiny little pissant publication in the part of Washington State that everyone forgets exists. And that ended nearly a decade ago.

I can only imagine that the situation has gotten more intense as distribution has gotten easier.
posted by hippybear at 12:48 PM on December 9, 2016

Hey! and thanks for this post. Lots to discover. And here's my recommendation for any end of 2016 party: The Comet Is Coming and their album Channel the Spirits; here's the video for Space Carnival. Because, as one YT commenter states, "If this music played in actual disasters, they would be a lot more fun."
posted by sapagan at 12:50 PM on December 9, 2016

(Also, a small pro-tip: as much as it is fun to give money to artists directly (minus Bandcamp’s tiny cut), many of these albums are already on streaming platforms. Maybe check if you already have them.)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:53 PM on December 9, 2016

It's a lot more fun to give money to artists directly than to relegate them to the incremental payment hell that is streaming monetizing.
posted by hippybear at 12:56 PM on December 9, 2016 [12 favorites]

Yes, but one is in my budget and the other is not.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:03 PM on December 9, 2016

My favorite thing about Bandcamp is if you're listening to something in one tab and press play in another tab, the thing in the first tab stops playing.
posted by aubilenon at 1:09 PM on December 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Good to see Fetish Bones come in high on this one. I'm old and obsolete and live under a rock, so I've got zero opinion on the rest of these, but that album knocked me on my ass.

I just got this one (from Bandcamp) yesterday knowing very little about it. Recommended if you're down for noisey stuff.
posted by atoxyl at 2:13 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Belgrado, Obraz sounds as if it is streaming directly from 1982. This is a compliment.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:03 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bandcamp is truly Best of the Web.
posted by gwint at 3:43 PM on December 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

If your budget stretches to having a paid Spotify/Google Play/other similar account but not to paying individual artists for their work so you listen to them that way, fine. But it's not great to discourage others from supporting the musicians by touting "hey, you can listen to this stuff for zero marginal cost instead of paying the artist", especially given that even "successful" indie artists get a fraction of a cent per play (and to Spotify "indie" means album sales over 100K).
posted by Lexica at 3:45 PM on December 9, 2016 [11 favorites]

Well now I have a bunch less money. Thanks a lot!
posted by aubilenon at 3:48 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I once bought a copy of a Bandcamp album (physical media) for myself and sent another 5 copies to people I know. I love my Bandcamp artists! And I throw money at them sometimes!
posted by hippybear at 4:01 PM on December 9, 2016

I pretty much refuse to use streaming services, and always refer people to bandcamp or other methods of directly supporting the artists. I probably make my friends mad, talking like this, but whatever. Bandcamp is great!!! (you can also use the app like a 'streaming service' of albums you've purchased, too)
posted by destructive cactus at 4:54 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Just clicking around randomly turned up some great music; this is going to be worth some serious time.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:19 PM on December 9, 2016

I've been a member of emusic forever, and while they've had their challenging times, they've gone back to their roots in recent years and are still a good place to find interesting stuff. Of the dozen or so things on this list that I wanted to hear more of almost all of them were on emusic. If you buy a lot of indie music it's a great deal, if you don't it's not worth the bother.
posted by bongo_x at 9:03 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

On thing I learned going through this list was that reverb has definitely made a comeback, and then some. Was there a sale on reverb somewhere, or was a bunch of it going bad and had to be used up?
posted by bongo_x at 9:04 PM on December 9, 2016

Bandcamp is basically the best thing that's happened to music distribution in the last few years (hell, let's say decade). I can buy a CD or an LP from an artist, get a guaranteed lossless download immediately, and a lovely product in the mail a week or two later, all from the comfort of my own home, and with the vast majority of the proceeds going to the label/artist. It's especially great for foreign bands whose stuff would otherwise be difficult or impossible to get where I live without paying exorbitant shipping fees (and sometimes not even then).

These didn't make the top 100 list, but here's a couple of additional releases I bought on Bandcamp this year that I think are worth listening to:

Parakeet, Kasa - A side project of some people in UK bands Yuck and The History of Apple Pie. Crunchy 90s-style indie rock with a healthy dose of reverb.

Trails and Ways, Own It - Sun-drenched beach pop with a streak of leftist activism (but it works just as well if you don't care for/about the politics). If you like this, definitely go back and listen to Pathology as well.

Rainbow Chan, Spacings - chilly, slinky electropop. Falls just short of what I think is her best (the Long Vacation EP is just too charming), but Nest is maybe my favourite single of the year.

VA - Young Folks in Metropolis - A thoroughly nostalgic Japanese compilation that recalls the bright, upbeat sound of 1980s city pop.

Anyone who spends even a little time on Bandcamp could put together a list of 2016 releases that they love as much as I love my list. I hope Bandcamp never dies.
posted by chrominance at 9:14 PM on December 9, 2016 [9 favorites]

Z Tapes on Bandcamp

Great lil label with their stuff on Bandcamp.

Wonderful list! Really enjoyed this year in music.
posted by gucci mane at 9:28 PM on December 9, 2016

VA - Young Folks in Metropolis - A thoroughly nostalgic Japanese compilation that recalls the bright, upbeat sound of 1980s city pop.

Oh this is 100% my shit, thank you so much
posted by naju at 12:42 AM on December 10, 2016

Eden Bent blues.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:20 AM on December 10, 2016

So much good stuff in here. I would love to hear more about particular labels people like & look out for on BC, especially ones that do tapes or vinyl too.
posted by mintcake! at 10:01 AM on December 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here's four labels I like, with a lean towards electronic-type music: Tru Thoughts is an amazing label from England, and their Bandcamp account is more of a landing page that links you to individual artists' Bandcamp accounts. Stones Throw is similar in that fashion. I'm fond of Six Degrees Records with their eclectic music collection from around the world, and much, if not all, of their label on Bandcamp, and they have a sale going on now. Catuss Records has some great music from Latin America, and their discography is on Bandcamp, where you can buy it all for less than $26 USD.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM on December 10, 2016

Some labels, alphabetically:
  • 1080p Records (Modern lo-fi electronic that sort of pretends to be the eighties and certainly isn’t vaporwave? Not sure of the right genre label. Sometimes good. See Keita Sano’s Holding New Cards for an amazing exception. But then, Keita Sano will always be himself.)
  • Lobster Theremin (An oddball variety of lo-fi house and electronic.)
  • Ongakubaka Records (garage, psych, has cassette releases)
  • Occult Research (braindance, acid 90s electronic, has cassette releases) (and, relatedly, TB Arthur’s LIVE At Smart Bar cassette, though it’s only available digitally)
  • Orchid Tapes (lo-fi slacker rock, plus other, similar things)
  • Paradise of Bachelors (Americana, blues, banjo - especially see Nathan Bowles’s Nansemond)
  • Three Lobed Recordings (Acoustic guitar, blues, Takoma-style primitivism)
Also, in case you’re unaware, you can add your “bandcamp (fan)” pseudonym to your profile page so that other mefites can find you via the social explorer.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:27 PM on December 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm really glad Bandcamp started doing this kind of thing. The one downside to Bandcamp seems to be it's such a deep catalog, stuff doesn't necessarily float to the top without a lot of outside PR spending/hustling.

Now my shameless self plug: I put my sanity and my heart and soul into making this pretty seriously failed album, which is only out on Bandcamp almost as an afterthought, the last big project I tried to do with my wife before we separated. It was supposed to be a concept album thanking her and my kids for making it possible for me to have a better life than I could have had on my own and for helping me recover from depression during a stretch of hard times. It ended up being one last failed attempt to reconnect in our marriage that came up short, so I've been relieved it's been mostly overlooked as I've been grieving. But we could really use Christmas money, so in case you run out of better, more successful albums like these that made the list to listen to and spend holiday money on, give this album a listen, too... Last time I'll be so craven, I promise! But Wolfdog did it first! ;)
posted by saulgoodman at 6:17 AM on December 11, 2016

Some contributions to the Bandcamp labels list, for adventurous listeners:

eilean rec. - French label started in 2014, focused on ambient/field music. Honestly, maybe my favorite label right now. Every release is so evocative and lovely. Their plan is to release a total of 100 records, each one of them tied to a point on a map of an imaginary island, and the music of each release is supposed to evoke that particular point. So by the time their full catalog is done, the idea is you'll have a full geo-spatio-musical sense of this single fictional island. They also go all out on the packaging if you buy their physical copies (which always sell out.) Their end-of-year VA compilation comes out tomorrow but you can stream 6 of the tracks now.

Hausu Mountain - weird/noise/improvisational/etc. I quite like the synth-heavy album they put out 2 days ago, Mortal by Quicksails. Also recommend Eartheater and Good Willsmith.

Virgin Babylon - Japanese label that's electronic and post-rocky. Recommended: world's end girlfriend, Go-qualia, COM.A, matryoshka. They've got a clever ADD-friendly sampler that's 50 tracks from different artists, each one minute long.

flau - another Japanese label. Lovely, dreamy. Recommended: Cuushe, Cicada.

Orange Milk - experimental/synth/vapor-collage/etc. Distinctive, striking art for each release. Recommended: Giant Claw, Foodman.

NNA Tapes - venerable tape label with a number of a-list experimental acts, including Horse Lords, Nate Young, and Julia Holter.
posted by naju at 10:47 AM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

My wishlist has some more stuff worth digging into. I recommend using the wishlist feature! Either on web or mobile, it's a simple click of the heart icon to add something to your wishlist. Despite the name, I don't use it as a list of things people should gift me or even things I plan on buying when I have the funds, necessarily. I just use it as a way to easily keep a list of albums I either plan on giving a listen to later (usually I wishlist like crazy when I'm in the middle of a discovery frenzy and/or checking out what my friends are buying), or want to keep returning to because they're good. Super easy when you want to stream on your phone later and don't have a lot of time to navigate around.

Also something to keep in mind - I think up until mid-2015, the Bandcamp app only let you stream things you've purchased. Now it lets you stream anything the same way you could on the website. This makes it useable as an alternative streaming service to Spotify et al, in my opinion, if you're of the mindset to dig into lesser-known, scrappier artists regularly.

There are comments above saying there are only limited plays for things you don't purchase, which I was confused by because I've never run into that problem myself. It turns out, artists on Bandcamp have a section in their profile that says "Limit paid tracks to [ ] plays before requiring purchase." It's turned on for 3 plays by default. I had no idea about this! I just turned mine off so people can stream my tracks an unlimited number of times. If you're an artist you should consider doing the same. I have no intention of frustrating people who like my music enough to play any of it more than 3 times - people should support artists of course, but even if they don't spend money, maybe they'll spread the word. As a tiny artist without a fanbase, I'd much rather have people listening and writing about me than feeling pressured to buy something. As in other areas of life, money isn't the only measure of success.
posted by naju at 10:51 AM on December 11, 2016

FACT has made its own list of the 20 best Bandcamp albums, with one honorable mention:
  1. VANTAGE, Dat Boi (Ed. Note: O shit waddup)
  2. TOYOMU, Imagining The Life Of Pablo (No longer available)
  3. Tredici Bacci, Amore Per Tutti
  4. Segue, Over The Mountains
  5. Foodman, Ez Minzoku
  6. 2814, Rain Temple
  7. PUP, The Dream Is Over
  8. Betonkrust & Palmbomen, Center Parcs & Hotel Breukelen EPs
  9. Talons’, Work Stories (Ed. Note: Really liking this.)
  10. James Ferraro, Human Story 3
  11. Luxury Elite, Noir
  12. YYU, Karaoke
  13. Death’s Dynamic Shroud.wav, *Classroom Sexxxtape
  14. Jeffre Cantu Ledesma, In Summer
  15. Typhonian Highlife, The World of Shells
  16. MJ Guider, Precious Systems
  17. Japanese Breakfast, Psychopomp
  18. TALSounds, Lifter + Lighter
  19. Andrew Pekler, Tristes Tropiques
  20. Katie Dey, Flood Network
  21. A Pregnant Light, Rocky
posted by Going To Maine at 11:45 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oooooo saving this for later. Bandcamp is now pretty much my entire music budget these days. I only buy downloable music, and have found SO MANY GEMS on bandcamp.
It makes me happy that the platform is thriving and people aren't just solely going to "Cloud ownership" stuff like ITunes, or streaming-only.
posted by Theta States at 9:11 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can only imagine that the situation has gotten more intense as distribution has gotten easier.

I have a dumb little mp3 blog and get like 20+ promotional emails/day. Thank goodness for gmail filtering.
posted by Theta States at 10:46 AM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

I always foolishly forget about bandcamp as a way to discover new music, but just checked out their currently-popular albums in metal largely because of this thread, and discovered Mesarthim, which it turns out fucking slays. Thanks, naju!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:58 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

beaunoise - Buchlaworks: Module I

If I can talk up my friend! beaunoise is doing great work and deserves more attention. I'm a fan of both of his albums from this year - the aforementioned Buchlaworks: Module I, and Pianoworks. The former is composed "exclusively using the Buchla 200e and Music Easel electronic music systems", rather timely considering Don Buchla's recent departure. The latter is processed piano pieces spanning nine years worth of recordings from a variety of different studios and spaces. Beau is a record producer and engineer currently working at Tiny Telephone, and so when he says "processed" he doesn't just mean software plugins:
Processed using analog techniques (overdubbing, sound-on-sound, inversion, retrograde, retrograde inversion, varispeed, saturation, splicing, tape destruction), sampling, and digital techniques (buffer manipulation, sample rate modulation).
Worth listening to just for that nerdery, but it sounds damn good too.
posted by naju at 11:44 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yup, beaunoise is secured at the top of my overall faves of 2016
posted by Theta States at 7:51 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Another great label on Bandcamp, where they also throw in bonus tracks from time to time: Accidental Records, label of Matthew Herbert, and home to like-minded folks.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:41 PM on December 13, 2016

Not an album, but 111 unreleased track, either brand new or an alternative version of an old classic tracks for £9.99 GBP in support of the London night club Fabric, titled #savefabric. It's almost 10 and a half hours in total. There are some amazing tracks here, if you like bleepy-bloopy stuff and samples and the like. There's even some vocal tracks.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2016

[And some good news on the club: London's Fabric nightclub to reopen as it agrees new licensing deal after concerns over 'culture of drug use' -- reported by The Telegraph on Nov. 21, 2016]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2016


New EP + remixes on Bandcamp: Only Heaven, plus 3 remixes of the title track.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:41 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

In case you were looking for some end of the year loops and bleeps, Casino Versus Japan came back with 80 songs in Frozen Geometry. It's on his own Bandcamp account, with other releases on the account for Attack Nine, his prior label.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:48 PM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just came across (after reading laudatory reviews in various metal publications) the newest 40 Watt Sun record, Wider Than The Sky. Very much in the slowcore vein of Low, with ringing wide open chords and melancholy, soaring vocals. Gorgeous, affecting stuff.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:36 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

While Pinegrove’s Cardinal didn’t make Bandcamp’s top 50, it inched its way onto Pitchfork’s list at #46. (review). The album is currently pay-what-you-want, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:31 PM on January 3

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