Hi! I’m Ryan. This is the first one of these, so I feel like I should provide some bonafides: I was a college radio DJ from 2002-2006, as music moved from CD to mp3s. I ran Melodic Expectation, a music blog focused on free albums, posting daily from 2011. I still run Lampshade Music, a music mix podcast where I trade off with internet luminary @theshrillest. I grew up listening to mostly Christian Music, and I wrote about it one time. I like the Beatles and Radiohead, like the songwriting but not the recordings of Dylan and Springsteen, have a thing for noisy, avant-garde jazz and the kind of music you’d hear on Hearts of Space, and I think LCD Soundsystem is the best live band I’ve ever seen. Twice.
Anyway this will be weekly-ish, ideally on Mondays so it competes with Spotify’s weekly deal. I’ll try to link Apple Music and Spotify, but expect mostly links to Bandcamp and Soundcloud. (My bandcamp fan page is here but don’t look at my wishlist unless you like spoilers.) I’ll let you know when you can download something for free. I’ll try not to let vaporwave overwhelm this list, but there are some weeks where all I want to hear is glitchy title screen music from PS One games.
Here we go:
Psychic Temple – Plays Music For Airports (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
You might be familiar with Brian Eno’s genre-defining ambient music album, Music For Airports. It’s quiet and restrained and a masterpiece. Here, Chris Schlarb’s psycho-jazz ensemble gets their grubby mits on a classic and they treat it with kindness but they definitely do not play it safe.
Moresounds – Pure Niceness EP (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
This is dub in the UK 2000s version of the word, so expect breakbeats and heavy sub-bass. Actually, this borders on drum’n’bass for those of you who are genre purists. The standout track for me is the final track, Dead And Bury (ft. Fracture), which is driven by one of those vocal samples that just sticks in your brain for hours at a time.
Ivy Sole – Eden (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
I found this via a Bandcamp article titled The Best Albums of 2016 So Far and this was one of the ones that really surprised me. Soulful rap with some R&B from a female rapper who has bars for days. Laid back but masterful. This one is free if you choose to pay $0 on bandcamp. Probably not ok for kids.
Kassin – Sonhando Devagar (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
Unquestionably weird but still pretty chill, this album is full of modern tropicalia. Never harsh but always experimental, this would be a perfect soundtrack to a summer party. Invite me to that party, because I want a tiki drink and this album and a summer breeze and I think I’ll be good for a while.
HOME – Falling Into Place (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
You didn’t think I’d finish this without throwing some Vaporwave your way, did you? HOME’s most recent album is definitely less “torrented jrpg soundtrack” and more “80s cop soundtrack” to the extent that there might be actual guitar at play here. This might be one of my favorite albums so far in 2016. Costs $1 on bandcamp.
Myrone – New York Pizza (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
A three-track serving of synths, shredding, and nostalgia. Sounding very Smooth Criminal-era Michael Jackson without the vocals, this is one of those times where you can take music as either a loving parody or a very detailed homage. Whichever it is, it rocks. Also not to be missed is Myrone’s soundtrack to Drift Stage, an in-alpha retro racing game. It looks like the only way to download that radical soundtrack is to back development of the game, however.
OMG we’re just over a week away from a new Avalanches album. If you haven’t heard my favorite album, uh, ever? Then you should definitely get Since I Left You (iTunes, Spotify) into your brain ASAP. Nearly as mind-blowing as Since I Left You is the GIMIX mix they put together and toured with before that album came out, but it looks like it’s disappeared from the internet again. Sure would be nice if someone put it online, eh? (shh!)