We're not immune to the hype machine, but sometimes it's nice to check online for the albums casually uploaded by DIY bands just trying to make a buck or two. Cruising Bandcamp this year turned up with many hidden gems as well as radar-dodging full-lengths from established acts. Below are Chart's favourite Bandcamp discoveries of the year. You can stream them below, or hey, buy some if you like.
Big Baby Gandhi, DEBUT
Our first of two much-lamented hip-hop swan songs. With purposefully modest tools at his disposal, Gandhi creates a new sound for bedroom rap that's goes deep into big dreams and their obstacles from fresh new perspectives.
Lil Ugly Mane, Three Sided Tape Vols. 1 and 2
Lil Ugly Mane's self-imposed status as an underrated demon of the Houston sound gets a double, (probably) final dose of vindication with sonic ambitions spanning far past any one regional scene, or even hip-hop as a genre. And he's too much of purist for things like “separated tracks.”
Rollin Hunt, The Phoney
Refusing to collapse under its broad scope, Rollin Hunt's The Hunter rejects pre-existing weirdo pop templates and forms a natural, if initially beguiling, cohesion. The resulting architecture is unapologetically not for everyone.
Fog Lake, Holy Cross EP
Stephen Steinbrink, Arranged Waves
Steinbrink skips across sonics like a perfectly flat pebble on the waters surface, aided by his dreamlike sincerity and his intense studying of DIY folkies, singer/songwriters, and poetry.
Nicholas Krgovich, Who Cares?
On Who Cares? Nicholas Krgovich convinces us that our biggest problems are nothing more than emotional quibbles, thanks to the power and confidence with which he handles his new direction as acoustic folk-man. As ruthless and fast-acting as a big beautiful rush of Novacaine injected right into the brain stem. Read our interview with Krgovich for Uncharted.
Patricia, Body Issues
One of the most dynamic full-length albums to dedicate itself to the unarchived techno sound, a straight-shooting relative of the unfiltered sonic and conceptual ambition found in Colonial Patterns from Huerco S.
From Afrika Bambaataa to Q-Tip to Pharrell to Timbaland, weirdness is written into hip-hop's DNA. Unlike most, YAYAYI has this special strangeness, as well as a capacity for incredible avant-garde production.
Imre Kiss, Midnight Wave
Our introduction to Budapest's underground electronic music scene came late in the year, and acted as a disconcerting coda for the year's glut of frantic and demented techno.