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Buy Music: tQ Writers Share Their Bandcamp Tips, June 2020
The Quietus , June 5th, 2020 10:07

With Bandcamp once again waiving its share of sales made via the service today amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, some of tQ's writers share some recent personal favourites with a heavy focus on music from black artists

Today is Bandcamp’s third fee-waive day as the company continues its commitment to supporting artists who’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, chiefly as a result of the entire shutdown of the live music and club circuit.

This latest fee-waive action from the company though – which sees Bandcamp give up its usual 15% cut of music sales – comes at the end of a revolutionary week that has seen people across the US, and further afield, take to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, to protest the murder by police of George Floyd and speak out against the ongoing systemic racism that black people face around the world.

It only feels right then that our latest round-up of new Bandcamp releases and recommendations below should put a heavy focus on recent music by black artists, as well as labels that are today donating their profits to charities fighting racism and supporting black communities. We've collected all of the selections in one place via Buy Music Club. So many of the genres of music and scenes that we cover here at tQ wouldn’t be where they are today, or even exist, without the continued innovation of black people over the decades, and it’s essential that we all recognise that.

This document that was circulated online yesterday, put together by a group of contributors, pulls together a number of black artists and black-owned labels that you should consider supporting and buying music from today if you are able to. It currently includes more than 1000 names. Hopefully you might also find something from our picks below that you haven’t heard before or that might have passed you by.

If you’re looking for a place to start with donations and reading on confronting system racism, we posted a Twitter thread earlier this week with a number of resources. I’d particularly like to point to this excellent Google Doc which compiles donation initiatives, online reading, books, podcasts, and a list of black thinkers and activists that you can follow on social media. This document compiling UK-based black racial justice and community organisations is also a very important resource if you’re looking for groups to support in the UK.

Below our picks of new and recent releases is a list that we’ll be updating through the day of EPs, tracks, albums, and compilations that have been made newly available today for Bandcamp’s fee-waive day. We’ve also decided to add a list of labels that we know are donating their profits today to black-focused charities and bail funds.
Christian Eede

Special Interest -
'Don't Kiss Me In Public'
(Self-Released)

This short review is by way of apology that last year I never got round to reviewing Spiralling, the magnificent debut from Special Interest. Post-punk often feels like a stripmined form with little joy left in it, but the pugnacious bass antics of tracks like 'Young, Gifted, Black, In Leather' and brilliantly hectic wit of 'Art Walk' give the form a satisfying kick up the arse – you can listen to that album here and catch up with 2020 release ‘Don’t Kiss Me In Public’ above. Even better than the long-player, this raises the Special Interest BPM with Neubauten-esque metallic prangs and a murking punch of a rhythm. Their Bandcamp promises a new album soon. I won’t sleep on it this time.
Luke Turner

Moor Mother & Nicole Mitchell -
Offering (Live At Le Guess Who?)
(Self-Released)

Moor Mother live shows can be a visceral, confrontational experience. But this set from 2018's edition of Le Guess Who? festival, pairing the Philadelphia noise poet with composer, flautist and former AACM chair Nicole Mitchell, is a far more ruminative, exploratory affair. Opening with a combination of field recordings and flute flourishes that momentarily summon up the astral jazz of the 1970s, Offering expands into whirling pools of bells, electronics, percussion, and spoken word before crashing back to earth with a guttural rasp. A heady, intoxicating release full of weird, dark spiritual energies.
Bobby Barry

Kush Jones -
FT055
(Future Times)

Kush Jones' debut on Max D's Future Times label isn't actually out until June 19, but that won't stop me recommending it early. Two of the EP's four tracks are available to listen to and download now, alongside a full pre-order of the EP. 'Earth Note', the first of those two tracks, is a breezy slice of Chicago-esque house complete with crooning, soaring synths that exude funk. 'Reso', the second of the two currently available cuts, is a more restrained, dubby roller that will likely appeal to fans of Beatrice Dillon's Workaround album from earlier this year. Kush Jones is part of a strong new wave of NYC dance music producers and DJs that also includes AceMo, MoMA Ready, and DJ Swisha. All of them have been putting out killer records at an impressively frequent rate over the last couple of years, and FT055, on the evidence of these two tracks, is no exception to that.
Christian Eede

Pink Siifu -
NEGRO
(Self-Released)

Pink Siifu's latest record sits at the intersection between hardcore punk, hip hop, experimental noise, and jazz, finding the rage, power and extremities of each and clashing them together in a raging and frenetic explosion of a record. Its words, sometimes spat and howled by Siifu, and sometimes created out of gritty sound collage, are rooted in black identity and his experiences of police brutality, evidenced most intensely on the record's incredible twin peaks 'ameriKKKa, try no pork.' and 'run pig run.'
Patrick Clarke

Equiknoxx -
Various Singles
(EquiknoxxMusic)

A few years ago, Kingston's Equiknoxx crew rose to prominence when Demdike Stare's DDS imprint released two stellar collections of weirdo riddims concocted by Time Cow and Gavsborg. These compilations introduced the collective's essential work to the Boomkat crowd, but by centring the focus on the instrumentals of just two core members, they perhaps also gave the wrong idea. Fellow vocalist and producer Bobby Blackbird, vocalist Shanique Marie, and MC Kemikal were nowhere to be found save the liner notes.

Equiknoxx rectified this in June 2019 with the release of Eternal Children on their own label, EquiknoxxMusic. Children was a proper crew record in every sense of the word, and full of indelible summer bangers to boot. After releasing a new single credited to the group as a whole, another by Bobby Blackbird, and a handful of remixes of older tracks before the end of that year, EquiknoxxMusic went relatively quiet until the late April release of Shanique Marie's 'Ring The Alarm' and its flip. In the ensuing month, they've dropped a series of rapid-fire surprise singles from Time Cow & RTKal, Kemikal, and Gavsborg. Those looking for some oddball dancehall experimentation to usher in the warmer weather would do well to drop $10 US on the whole lot, but for my money, Time Cow & RTKal's 'Elephant Man' is the place to start. Throughout this tumultuous week or so of righteous uprisings, its combination of warm bass boom, smooth vox, and gentle Volca synthesis has been an occasionally necessary salve.
Bernie Brooks

Maxx Mann -
Maxx Mann
(Dark Entries)

High on the list of historical tragedies inflicted on African-Americans' cultural history is the impact of the 1980s AIDS crisis. In the discos of New York, queer black men were able to find a place of sexual and social liberation just as they invented much of the electronic music we take for granted today. This fierce, proud scene was decimated by HIV/AIDS, a disease that continues to disproportionately impact African-Americans – according to research published in 2018, they accounted for 42% of new cases of HIV/AIDS. Maxx Mann’s debut album, recently reissued by the Dark Entries label, is one of the finest and most important archival releases of recent years, carrying in its smooth electro jams but a ribald sexuality, but also a poignancy – a multi-racial group, founder member Paul Hamman died of AIDS, while Frank Oldham Jr worked in AIDS advocacy charities. Dark Entries will be donating all proceeds from Bandcamp Friday to the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee.
Luke Turner

White Boy Scream -
BAKUNAWA
(Deathbomb Arc)

Micaela Tobin is an opera singer and singing teacher by day, but her White Boy Scream project sees her splitting, multiplying, shredding, and deconstructing the voice through white noise and electronics in order to pay "homage to the pre-colonial mythology of her motherland, the Philippines." What results feels like being beckoned by the sirens and simultaneously dashed against the rocks. It's earthy, but not of this earth.
Bobby Barry

Algiers -
Can The Sub_Bass Speak? b​/​w It All Comes Around Again
(Matador)

Algiers' 'Can The Sub Bass Speak?' was one of the finest and most important tracks released last year, saxophone and jazz rattle underpinning a reciting of the racist bullshit Franklin J Fisher has had to endure from music press and 'fans' he's encountered on the road in recent years. This profound and furious meditation on the limitations imposed on what 'black music' is and can be is being reissued today in a special limited 7" backed with new song 'It All Comes Around Again', one of those B-sides which makes you ask 'why is this only a B-side?', a Can-esque rhythmic shuffle bursting into the kind of stadium electro pomp that must have rubbed off on their stint touring with Depeche Mode. All proceeds from today's release go to the Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund, arts charity As They Lay and the Black Alliance For Just Immigration.
Luke Turner

Nídia -
Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes
(Príncipe)

Nídia is an artist whose name has come to be synonymous with Lisbon label Príncipe's brand of kuduro and tarraxo club music, following her first release with them in 2015. Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes, her second album for the label, sees the artist push her sound further into the more experimental territory she explored with the long-player format on 2017's Nídia É Má, Nídia É Fudida. 'Popo' is an outstanding combination of laidback Atlanta trap and Afro-Portuguese sounds while 'Raps' features an earworm of a lead melody and knockout drums. Perhaps the highlight though is 'Capacidades' with its hollering vocal samples, accordion-aided lead melody and syncopated drums. As a bonus, Nídia has also this morning surprise released S/T, a four-tracker full of zesty, trance-y melodies and marching drums that you can get here.
Christian Eede

Virtual Shadow Ensemble -
Keep Your Distance!
(Noa)

Noa Records is a label that focuses on alternative music from Pasifika and indigenous Maori people in New Zealand, or Aotearoa, and whose most recent record Keep Your Distance! is essential. Recorded over 10 days by a huge cast of musicians and poets during the country’s coronavirus lockdown, it is a meditative, hypnotic and profound collection bestowed with a gentle-yet-potent power.
Patrick Clarke

Angel Bat Dawid -
Transition East
(International Anthem)

The 7" single is something of a devalued format in this day and age, but Chicago-based artist Angel Bat Dawid shows what can be done with two simple sides of vinyl on forthcoming release Transition East. The title track on side A uses a simple drum machine prattle and drones as the weather through which birdlike clarinets dance, while the flip, 'No Space For Us', sees Dawid joined by percussionists and brass for a track that in under four minutes combines a joyous opening scree before a stiff-backed piano melody is gradually melted away by the teasing clarinet and trumpet surrounding. The record was inspired by UK-based writer Emma Warren's Make Some Space, an account of London's Total Refreshment Centre and the importance of places for creative communities to share friendship and inspiration. In less than 10 minutes of sound, Dawid offers a timely reminder that conversation and dialogue are vital forces for positive change.
Luke Turner

Neue Grafik Ensemble -
Foulden Road
(Total Refreshment)

Released last year, and with a sequel currently in preparation, French producer and keyboard player NGE's Foulden Road is a memorable exploration of London through the prism of its jazz scene. The title is taken from the address of the foundational Total Refreshment Centre, and it's one of a handful of releases on TRC's in-house label (including a great Emma-Jean Thackray and Makaya McCraven split). All profits from the label's releases purchased on Bandcamp today will be donated to Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, and Inquest UK.
David McKenna

Delores Galore -
New Growth
(Self-Released)

Here's a slinky record for anyone still waiting for Chromatics to get along with releasing the much-anticipated Dear Tommy. New Orleans producer and vocalist Delores Gelore deals in a similar brand of chrome razor synthesisers and gleaming, melodious vocals. Yet after the glacial opener 'Still We Say', there's something far more urgent and upfront to the five tracks on this excellent record, with 'Don't Stop Me Know' coming off like a particularly fruity and excellent Pet Shop Boys remix and 'Corpse Inside' offering a pleasingly gothy twang.
Luke Turner

New Releases On Bandcamp

EPs/Tracks

Algiers - Can The Sub_Bass Speak? b​/​w It All Comes Around Again [Donating proceeds to Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund, As They Lay and the Black Alliance For Just Immigration]
Ana Helder - Boleto 101 [Label share donated to Coalition For Racial Equality And Rights and Positive Housing In Action]
Baba Ali - 'House' [Donating proceeds to NAACP Legal Defense Fund from today onwards; 50% of proceeds from Rethinking Sensual Pleasure mixtape out on June 19 to be donated to Black Visons Collective]
Ikonika - 'Citron' [Donating proceeds to UK Black Lives Matter]
K-LONE - The Falls [Donating proceeds to the Amos Bursary]
Laurel Halo - World Without Heroes [Donating proceeds to NAACP Legal Defense Fund]
Metrist - Pollen II
Millia Rage - Ultimecia Tools [Donating proceeds to Black Lives Matter Chicago]
Nídia - S/T
NKISI - BLK SPLLS [Donating proceeds to Black Lives Matter]

LPs

Brigid Mae Power - Head Above The Water
dreamcrusher - Another Country
Space Afrika - hybtwibt? [Donating proceeds to Campaign Zero and bail funds]
Zion Train - Illuminate

Compilations

Far Out - O Aperto Da Saudade [Includes music from Azymuth, Grupo Batuque and more]
Fire - The Auteur Limits [Includes music from Vanishing Twin, Pictish Trail, Brigid Mae Power, and more
Naive - No Justice No Peace [Includes music from Octo Octa, Violet, Ciel, and more; donating 100% of proceeds to bail funds]
Optimo Music - Sank Into The Chair (Music From Beyond The Dance) [Includes music from Peter Zummo, Penelope Trappes and more]
Qu Junktions - Meantime [Includes music from Matana Roberts, Vessel, Coby Sey, Sarah Davachi, and more]
Towhead - New York Dance Music III [Includes music from AceMo, MoMA Ready, Bergsonist, and more]

Labels donating proceeds to black-focused charities and bail funds

3024 [Donating label income to East Of The River Mutual Aid Fund]
Box [Donating label income to Campaign Zero]
Brutaż [Donating label income to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Black Lives Matter, and more]
Club Chai [Donating label income to SNapCo, Black AIDS Institute, Trans Cultural District, and LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund]
Critical Music [Donating label income to Black Lives Matter]
Dais [Donating label income to National Bailout Fund, Reclaim The Block, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, The Bail Project, Black Visions Collective MN, and Black Lives Matter]
Dark Entries [Donating label income to SNapCo, Black AIDS Institute, Trans Cultural District, and LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund]
Dear Life [Donating label income to Philly Community Bail Fund]
Deathbomb Arc [Donating 50% of all profits today, as well as 25% of all profits from this week, to Black Lives Matter and bail funds]
DFA [Donating 25% of all sales to Crown Heights Mutual Aid and Bed Stuy Strong]
Don Giovanni [Donating label income to bail funds]
Freedom To Spend [Donating label income to Black Art Futures]
Hyperdub [Donating label income to Black Lives Matter "and related causes"]
Incienso [Donating label income to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and bail funds]
The Leaf Label [Donating label income to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust]
Light In The Attic [Donating label income to NAACP Legal Defense Fund]
Lobster Theremin [Donating label income to "black causes, bail funds and charities"]
Local Action [Donating label income to Black Lives Matter and other related causes]
Modern Obscure Music [Donating label income to "black-focused charities"]
Naive [Donating label income to SNapCo, Black AIDS Institute, Trans Cultural District, and LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund]
Ninja Tune [Donating label income to NAACP Legal Defense Fund]
Optimo Music [Donating label income to Coalition For Racial Equality And Rights and Positive Housing In Action]
Passat Continu [Donating label income to "black-focused charities"]
Planet Mu [Donating label income to Chicago Defender Charities]
RVNG Intl. [Donating label income to Black Art Futures]
Sacred Bones [Donating label income to The Loveland Foundation and "a nationwide bail fund]
Swing Ting [Donating label income to organisations dedicated to fighting racism]
T4T LUV NRG [Donating proceeds to Black Lives Matter and ActBlue's bail fund split initiative)
Third Place [Donating doubled label income to Black Lives Matter as well as on June 19]
Thrill Jockey [Releasing several LPs at a reduced price and donating proceeds to anti-racism charities, as well as offering lightly damaged LPs for free for proof of a donation of $5 or more to the American Civil Liberties Union)
Whities [Donating label income to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust]

This list is being regularly updated

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