We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Adding to the list-mania here, below are a few the best albums I discovered online this year.
1. Colored Balls, Heavy Metal Kid
Some friends introduced me to Queensland born pub-rock hero Lobby Loyde and his band the Coloured Balls during a recent extended road trip. I was able to locate a sorta pricey reissue of the band’s first record—Ball Power— at Ameoba Records. But nowhere in the next 20 or so cities that I was to visit could I find a copy of Heavy Metal Kid. Luckily a friend clued me in to a blog that had posted it in its entirety. Tight braids of ferocious boogie guitar and thick ropes of throbbing bass.
2. Francis Bebey, Akwaaba
I found this record posted on a music message board. Mainly composed of thumb piano, eerily distorted vocals, and light percussion, Akwaaba is minimal, repetitive, and surprisingly reminiscent of modern house music—in the best possible sense.
3. The Ex, Live in Ethiopia
I had read about the Ex’s Ethiopian tour with drummer Han Bennink but never thought I would get to hear anything from it. This is a great soundboard recording from one of their sets that I randomly stumbled into on a message board. All covers of Ethiopian songs, slightly more melodious than the band’s usual output but just as gnarly. Ethiopiques for post-punk people.
4. Lifetones, For a Reason
The guitarist from This Heat’s solo dub record weds his previous band’s odd melodic and rhythmic sensibilities to lush delays and afro-pop guitar riffs. Never reissued and seemingly impossible to locate this was my nerd-rock holy grail. The songs “For a Reason” and “Good Side” are killer hip-hop samples waiting to happen.
5. Brian Jonestown Massacre, My Bloody Undergound
Jonestown’s sole permanent member and chief nutjob Anton Newcombe posted this “album preview” on the bands website and—surprise!—it’s actually pretty good. Long drones, evil distortion, and fucked up vocals that I can’t understand. If he had pressed this onto colored vinyl placed it in a spray-painted cardboard sleeve and put somebody else’s name on it hipsters might have bought this. After listening to this I walked over to my dresser to fish out my long-forsaken Jonestown T-shirt—wondering if I maybe didn’t hate them anymore. Well, at the very least I can say that I don’t hate this. Totally worth it, because it was free.
6. Kandja Kouyaté et l’Ensemble Instrumental du Mali
Pulled from the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog. Gorgeous, ethereal music from Mali that I know little if anything about.