Tag Archives: Angel Olsen

This Week’s Essential Releases: Dark Ambient, Hip-Hop, Minimal Synth & More

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Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Our First 100 Days: Raising Money for Equality and Inclusion

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On the evening of November 8, 2016, Jon Coombs, the Managing Director of Publishing for Secretly Canadian, made his way to a small party in Brooklyn to watch the election returns. By all accounts, the evening looked likely to bring about a suitable end to the harrowing campaign season. But by the time Coombs headed home, he was filled with despair and shock at the news that Donald Trump had won the presidency, and that Republicans had maintained control of the House and Senate. “It hit like a ton of bricks,” he says. “It was a somber departure that night.” The next day, though, brought a radically different sentiment. Coombs began to rally his colleagues around an idea that could make a concrete difference in the face of an unknown new reality: “We had a stroke of inspiration: ‘There’s work to get done here.’”

Along with his team at Secretly Group—which encompasses a handful of labels including Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, and Dead Oceans—Coombs began working on a fundraising effort unlike anything the organization had done before, with the aim of bringing awareness to and raising money for some of the causes they considered the most threatened by the Trump Administration. The project is called Our First 100 Days; on each of Trump’s first 100 days in office, a new song by a different artist, both on and off the Secretly roster, will be released. All of the money raised by the project will go directly to a handful of non-profit organizations fighting for inclusion and equality. Not all of the music on the compilation is necessarily political or topical, but it is united by a collective spirit of tolerance and community.

Much of the inspiration for Our First 100 Days came from a similar project dreamt up by the author Dave Eggers and Jordan Kurland, the owner and founder of Zeitgeist Management, called “30 Days, 30 Songs.” During the month leading up to the election, they released an original song each day by artists including Andrew Bird, Ani DiFranco, and the brilliant MC Open Mike Eagle. The songs were all explicitly about the then-Republican nominee; titles included “Before You Vote,” “Make America Great Again” and “The Clown.” Eggers and Kurland collected the songs into a Spotify playlist, and used it as a means of encouraging people to get out and vote.

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The Year in Photos

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Illustration by Valentina Montagna.

When we started Bandcamp Daily, one of the things we knew we wanted—in addition to great writing—was great photos. And while the results of an interview end up clearly on the page, the process behind capturing great, unguarded moments can be somewhat opaque to those of us unfamiliar with the art. With that in mind, we reached out to the photographers behind some of the stories that appeared on Bandcamp Daily over the last six months and asked them to share their memories of the process.

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The Best Albums of 2016: #20 – 1

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Collage by Valentina Montagna.

If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. Here, at last, are our Top 20 Albums of 2016.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21

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Angel Olsen, Down to Earth

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Angel Olsen. Photo by Jacob Biba for Bandcamp.

I first met Angel Olsen in the summer of 2012 at a house party thrown by one of our mutual friends. We sat out on the back porch for an hour or two, drinking beer and talking about culture, politics, and playing music. She wasn’t A Musician and I wasn’t A Writer; we were just two people with a lot of common connections, shooting the shit on a balmy evening. I thought she was funny, sharp, and smart, and we friended one another on Facebook post-party, remaining in one another’s general social orbit. She was about to release Half Way Home, which I listened to with interest when it came out; the album’s elegantly-structured, bittersweet songwriting made me think fondly of Richard Thompson, one of my mother’s favorite musicians and an artist whose omnipresence in my childhood indelibly shaped the way I think about and listen to folk and rock music. I’ve watched Olsen grow from an excellent folk musician into a singular voice and force—much like Thompson. Also like Thompson, I see her slowly developing a legacy, putting out quality music for a devoted following, netting critical respect for her entire life.

The next long conversation Olsen and I had was almost exactly four years later, in August of 2016, by phone from both of our homes (she in Asheville, I in New York), and in the intervening years, our lives had changed drastically. We’d both quit our day jobs; she now plays music full time, and I now write and edit full time. I’ve seen her play shows since then, every one of them intense, growing in complexity and ferocity each time. We’ve smiled and waved to one another across rooms, but we haven’t really had a chance to talk. “You’ve kind of had a bird’s-eye view of my trajectory!” she exclaims.

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