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tQ Columnists And Staff Recommend Bandcamp Labels You Should Buy From Today: Part Two
Christian Eede , August 4th, 2017 09:55

With Bandcamp donating 100% of their share on all sales made today via the platform to the Transgender Law Center, we rounded up our columnists and staff to recommend some labels that you should purchase music from today

Earlier this year, Bandcamp donated one day's worth of their proceeds from sales on the platform to the American Civil Liberties Union, supporting the organisation's work in fighting back against Donald Trump's ban on travel to the US from a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

Today, they will be doing the same, only the proceeds this time will be donated to the Transgender Law Center in response to Donald Trump's recent decision to ban transgender people from serving in the US military.

The Transgender Law Center is a US organisation that campaigns for transgender visibility, working to make the lives of transgender people better by lobbying for law and policy changes, as well as trying to change attitudes. The organisation’s work fighting for healthcare for trans veterans, in defence of trans immigrants' rights, and against abuse in prisons and detention centres has been particularly referenced as examples for the good work they're doing.

In their statement, Bandcamp say "we support our LGBT+ users and staff, and we stand against any person or group that would see them further marginalised". They also condemn the US administration’s actions by calling Trump's recent declaration against transgender troops "part of the administration’s cynical, discriminatory agenda". The site has also published a list of albums by trans and gender-non-conforming artists that they encourage supporting, which you can find here.

Bandcamp's donations will continue from sales made on the service until midnight Pacific Time tonight, so we thought it would be a good opportunity, as we did earlier this year, to get the trusty tQ columnists' heads together, as well as those of our office team, to recommend some labels within their fields of expertise from whom you can buy music today on Bandcamp. Keep reading for a healthy selection of recommendations - some that we hope you might not have yet discovered.

Get buying and do also feel free to add any of your own favourite labels on Bandcamp below in the comments - the more recommendations, the more purchases, and the more money donated.

Tristan Bath (Spool's Out) picks Hausu Mountain

In recent years, whenever I lose faith in the American people (with whom I'm only truly acquainted via The Simpsons and Louis Theroux documentaries to be fair), Chicago-based label Hausu Mountain has put all my fears to bed. It's a hub of rabid experimentation issuing psychedelic music from all corners of the spectrum,though I doubt almost any of it is the kind of stuff your average Trump voter could stomach. Chiptune freakouts, sidelong noise jams, Kate Bushian pop suites, acid folk - the label's touched upon it all at some point or other. Their roster is also a pleasantly rainbow coloured array of folk reflecting the true crucible of American culture and its increasingly repressed weirdo id.

I've picked out a recent tape on the label by Chicago-based artist Forced Into Femininity (aka Jill Flanagan). Suitably it focuses directly on gender issues at times (Jill herself is trans), angrily yelling noise deconstructed pop songs over aleatory drum machines and fractured samples. It's bold, scary, unpredictable, childish, fun music - kind of summarising Hausu Mountain as a whole in the process. Heteronormativity has to be the first casualty in any society wishing to enjoy the spoils of cultural heterogeneity.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

David McKenna (Rockfort) picks Hylé Tapes

Richard Frances’ cassette ‘n’ digital label has been distributing peculiar sonic objects since 2014, and I regularly feature tracks in mixes for the Rockfort column. Releases range from the tuneful, kraut-influenced likes of Point Du Lac to all manner of abstract assemblages (including some by Frances himself). One from the beginning of the year that’s particularly on-message this Friday, though, is the self-identified non-male artists making experimental electronic music. It’s already been covered in Tristan Bath’s Spool’s Out column but deserves a re-up. Following a call-out for contributors, Frances assembled an internationally-sourced collection of tracks from 34 “female or non-binary artists” that brims with vivid colours and exploratory verve. You pay what you like for the compilation, so at least on this occasion please make your purchase count.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Noel Gardner (Foul House) picks Fractal Meat Cuts

Initially a vehicle for Fractal Meat Cuts founder Graham Dunning to release cassettes of his own music - the self-styled, intricately assembled 'mechanical techno' - in time the label expanded its remit, and now captures on tape many fine oddities from the mad scientist basement of UK electronica. Completists look away: one of FMC's neat conceits is releases where every copy is unique, like his own At Home With Spanish and Previously Unreleased 1995-2016. Aside from this, catalogue highlights include Callosity by Leeds-based sound artist Marlo Eggplant, dtub's Midi-Drum Compositions-1 (old skool house jams played and recorded totally live, remarkably) and the scorching hardware techno excursions of Ewa Justka's Acid Smut.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Louise Brown (Columnus Metallicus) picks Shadow Kingdom Records

Streaming sites, especially Bandcamp, have made that search for cult heavy metal that little bit easier. Whether it's pioneers of the traditional heavy metal / proto-doom sound such as Revelation, Manilla Road or Pagan Altar, to new bands following in their wake Pennsylvania's Shadow Kingdom has you covered. Teasing us with brand new finds on his Bandcamp, label owner Tim is the first to hip you to bands like Ice War and Haunt, but it's Lucifer's Chalice that it seems poignant to promote of all his most recent signings.

Rising from the lofty spires of Durham, this doom crew feast on Angel Witch, Black Sabbath and Witchfinder General and their debut EP The Pact comes out on Shadow Kingdom on September 29.

Formed by Winds Of Genocide and Uncoffined frontwoman, Kat Shevil, Lucifer's Chalice was her chance to start a band inspired by Pagan Altar, the occult and hark back to her days in early '90s underground doom band, Blessed Realm. Donning the drum stool in this band, she describes The Pact as sinister heavy metal darkness. Kat is proudly Trans and tells tQ that "if anyone gets inspired, or if anyone finds the courage to come out or be themselves by what I'm doing, if they can get strength through this, that's great. People said some nasty things to me when I came out, but what I'm doing now is a big middle finger to the bigots. I'm here, proud, out and making music".

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Stewart Smith (Complete Communion) picks Scatter

Scatter was a Glasgow-based improvised and experimental music label, running from the mid-90s to the early ‘00s. The brainchild of Liam Stefani (who records as Skitter and has collaborated with Richard Youngs and Ela Orleans), Scatter issued CDs and cassettes from major UK improvisers like Lol Coxhill, Pat Thomas, Steve Beresford, Alex Ward, and Tony Bevan, alongside Japanese underground heroes Disclocation, and Glasgow underground duo Inversion.

The Scatter archive captures a fascinating period in improvised music, with cross-generational collaboration and the impact of samplers, beats and noise opening up new possibilities. All of Scatter’s releases are worth your time and money, but Derek Bailey’s Drop Me Off At 96th is particularly special. The two acoustic sets, recorded live in 1986 and ’87, capture Bailey’s modernism in all its clarity and brilliance, as he pays tribute to his heroes, and finds a beautiful unity between melody, dissonance and space.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

JR Moores (Columnfortably Numb picks Box Records

This Newcastle-based label run by the bloke who sings in Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and drums for several others boasts a catalogue which includes some of the best artist names you'll ever read: Terminal Cheesecake, Khünnt, Casual Nun, Foot Hair, Richard Dawson... (okay, maybe the latter isn't particularly entertaining on the face of it but if we all henceforth agree to refer to him exclusively as 'Dickie Dawson' then it'll provide pleasing alliteration alongside a bawdy frisson of phallus).

While you're perusing Box’s motley bunch of doom-kraut mischief makers and anti-ballad psych-noise warlocks why not give What Big Eyes by Lower Slaughter a cheeky preorder? They sound like Joan Jett dowsing the Amphetamine Reptile headquarters in petrol and then lighting an illegally imported cigar with a foaming big grin on her face.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Christian Eede (Hyperspecific) picks Frozen Reeds

Straying perhaps slightly off the beaten track from the electronic music that you might usually find in the Hyperspecific column, it seems only right to point you in the direction of a label that plans to match Bandcamp's offer of donating sales proceeds. That's exactly what Helsinki-based label Frozen Reeds is doing with the launch of a Bandcamp page dedicated to selling a previously unreleased piece by the late Julius Eastman, whose work has drawn considerable attention recently owing to Frozen Reeds' 2016 reissue of his Femenine.

This recording of 'Joy Boy', previously unreleased and made available to purchase for the first time today especially, has been sat on by Frozen Reeds' Ian Fenton since preparations for the release of Femenine began last year. The piece was performed immediately before 'Femenine' at the same concert (November 6, 1974 in Albany, New York). Like 'Femenine', the piece is performed by the SEM Ensemble. The two pieces didn't fit together on the same CD so 'Joy Boy' remained unreleased until now. Considerably shorter than 'Femenine', the piece still carries over the same naive vibrancy found on the former piece owing to its basis as one of Eastman's earlier works at a time where he was attempting to break with traditions held within the compositional scene that he had found himself a part of.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Noel Gardner (Straight Hedge) picks Iron Lung

"We know what We like and what We don't like" is the slogan of this Seattle label. The We in question are Jensen Ward and Jon Kortland, aka leftfield grindcore duo Iron Lung - and if the evidence so far suggests a roster of groups in their own image, rest assured that Iron Lung Records is one of the rangiest, raging-est and most consistently challenging imprints going right now.

Very recent breakers of the 100-release barrier, among their highlights from the last 12 months are The Lowest Form's hyperrealist London hardcore (second LP Personal Space), San Fran noisepunk rulebook-burners Mozart (debut single Nasty), Portland distortion demons Lebenden Toten (a one-sided, 12-minute, one-song 12" called 'Static') and the absolutely brilliant wild women of Icelandic pogo thrash Dauðyflin and their Ofbeldi album.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

John Doran picks Pale Master

For some the road is hard going. For others it glides by like a dream. For the many it is long and stretches out far over the horizon. For the unlucky few, the end is sadly already in sight. But at the terminus of each and every highway - whether awesome like the M6 toll road on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in May or diabolical like the A285 just outside Chichester at midnight on a rain-drenched Black Friday - there stands naught but the terminal guardian. The scornful gatekeeper. The pissy ferryman who will be paid. The techno noise bastard and his awful fucking machines. The Mighty Lord Deathman. And do you know how much he cares about your outdated binary cis heteronormative patriarchal views on gender? Not a jot. Not a fucking jot pal.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Luke Turner picks Objects Ltd

At a time when it's not hard to end up doing a Larry David face to some whose spouting about gender issues feels like the woke wing of their marketing campaign, it's great to see some labels putting their money where their mouth is. Especial among these is Lara Rix Paradinas' Objects Limited, a Brighton-based label exclusively working with female identifying and non binary electronic producers, and I've picked their brilliant Object:Resistance compilation from earlier this year - 13 tracks of murmuring drums and skittish pop. What's more as well as the Bandcamp charity donation, all profits from this go to Black Lives Matter and the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Find the label on Bandcamp here.

Anna Wood picks Space Cadaver and Andrew Smiley

New Orleans band Space Cadaver, who describe themselves (accurately, I’d say) as a “doom metal punk thrash sludge space stoner band”. ‘Day Ruiner’ has the kind of raging clarity and the ridiculous guitar licks that can help you forget about gender conformity for a few minutes.

From New Yorker Andrew Smiley, a 27-minute track of guitar - picked, plucked, smacked guitar - and voice creating dense then calm sounds and melodies. “While I was making this music, I spent a lot of time thinking about wolves, and feeling empathy for their struggle to live alongside humans,” Smiley says. “This piece is a tribute to them.”

Find Space Cadaver on Bandcamp here and Andrew Smiley here.

Patrick Clarke picks Distort Discos

Chicago's underground label Distort Discos makes a point of its 'firm stand against racism, fascism, or any other idiotic right wing ideologies.' That alone seems appropriate as a pick on a day like today. Its discography, barely over a year old, was until this April a slim but enjoyable collection of outsider electronica, ambient and industrial, however the first release from the mysterious Ozzuario is what really sets the label apart. A colossal, chaotic clash of black metal, punk and industrial, with a decidedly lo-fi edge, inspired by the inevitability of nuclear war and the collapse of modern civilization, it's the perfect storm.

Find Distort Discos on Bandcamp here.