Tag Archives: Lando Chill

The Best Albums of 2018: #100 – 81

Best of 2018 100-81Let’s be honest for a second: No one clicks on these lists for the introduction. I don’t blame them! This is usually just the place where some routine throat-clearing goes, before we get to the main event. It’s also the place where I confess to the amount of anxiety involved with putting together a list like this—last year, I said, “Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available.” Guess what? That’s still true in 2018. That said, the albums that made the cut, to us, represent the breadth and scope of the many worlds available to discover on Bandcamp, and feel like the best musical summation of the last 12 months. When we make this list, we’re not only trying to assess the year’s best music, we’re also trying to tell the story of 2018, album by album, song by song. As always, being a part of Bandcamp Daily in 2018 was a true joy; we took a look at Extratone, the world’s fastest musical genre, got familiar with the New Face of Death Metal, and spent time with artists like Yugen Blakrok, Suzanne Ciani, and Kamaal Williams. Once again, the world of music is bigger than any one list can possibly contain, so consider this a starting point on the neverending journey to discovering new sounds, new scenes, and new voices. Alright, that’s enough throat-clearing. Let’s get to the list.

—J. Edward Keyes, Editorial Director

Best of 2018 Schedule:
December 10: #100 – 81
December 11: #80 – 61
December 12: #60 – 41
December 13: #40 – 21
December 14: #20 – 1

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The Best Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: October 2018

Hip Hop

October’s round-up of crucial Bandcamp hip-hop releases is colored by melancholy, with one of the Wu-Tang Clan’s most charismatic lyricists spitting over soul-drenched productions, a young voice from Florida delivering pensive, worldly musings, and a project from the Rhymesayers camp that tackles self-doubt and depression. There’s also an unearthed gem from a cult experimental hip-hop pioneer.

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On “Black Ego,” Lando Chill Flips the Script Once Again

Lando ChillIn July, the Southwest Key immigrant center in Tuscon, AZ reached full capacity. One local congressman counted 300 children, 79 of them being from families separated at the border under the Trump administration. But rapper Lando Chill understands how that count can seem abstract to those who don’t live near the center. In 2016, he saw it firsthand. He saw immigrants crossing the neighboring desert, and folks who left out food, clothing, and water in anticipation of their arrival.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Free Jazz, Hip-Hop, Hardcore, and 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 that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

New Releases

Hearts & Minds
Electroradiance

The rain has pounded New York City, off and on, all day. That might be a bummer any other time, but it’s the perfect backdrop for Electroradiance, an exquisite new shape-shifting album by Chicago trio Hearts & Minds. Despite its title, the album—which pivots between dark and bright sonic textures—feels right for this time of year. Electroradiance scans as free-jazz, yet the deeper it goes, the more industrial it becomes. The title track, for instance, is a weightless procession of glitchy synths, scattered drum cymbals, and faint clarinet chords. “Relativistic” carries the same tone, except the arrangement is rigid and more cosmic. When the trio descends from space, they compile songs like “Back and Forth” and “Future Told,” two electro-acoustic hybrids that would thrive in jazz venues like Village Vanguard and Constellation. Closing track “Slippery Slope” swings between two different sounds: straight-ahead bebop, and a driving rhythm similar to Miles Davis’s “Spanish Key.” It’s a fitting end for the record and this blurb: as I finish typing, it’s now raining again.

Marcus J. Moore

Lando Chill
Black Ego

Predict Lando Chill’s next move at your own peril. Though he’s only three albums into a young, promising career, the rapper born Lance Washington has already mastered the art of the stylistic 180. His debut, For Mark, Your Son, was a deeply-felt batch of boom-bap hip-hop dedicated to the rapper’s late father. Its follow-up, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, was a stunning hard pivot, drawing inspiration from a metaphysical novel by Paulo Coehlo and trading dusty soul for warped psychedelia. On Black Ego, Lando and longtime producer the Lasso torch the blueprint yet again. This time, the production is an intoxicating mix of West Coast G-funk (Chill recently relocated to Los Angeles from Tuscon), intergalactic head trips a la Maggot Brain, and the kind of gritty dirty South hip-hop that provided the backdrop for Outkast’s Aquemini. Witness the spaced-out ricocheting rhythm that kicks off “Ego Vanish,” Lando’s voice ping-ponging frantically off the beats, then dropping back to make room for far-off, pinwheel-eyed backing vocals; “Peso,” which boasts a typically limber, potent verse from Quelle Chris, stretches its instrumentation out like taffy—guitars, keys, and bass blown-out and wobbly; and the scorching electric guitar that rips across “Fauna” would do Eddie Hazel proud. And while the album’s deep grooves make it tempting to think of this as Lando’s “pop” record, a close listen to the lyrics reveal he’s as pointed as ever. On “Facts,” he tears through a lacerating verse attacking racism, police brutality, misogyny, and corporate capitalism with a scalpel’s precision, and on the weaving “From the Hip,” he breathlessly free-associates bars that seem to reflect on the state of the music industry and his place in it. At a time when young artists across genre are doubling down on the same sound, over and over and over, Lando and Lasso have boldly chosen to rebuild the house from the ground up, every single time. It is, arguably, the path of most resistance—commercial audiences aren’t known for embracing constant change. But it’s also a decision that makes every album a surprise, in the best possible way.

-J. Edward Keyes

Matthew Dear
Bunny

On his last record, 2012’s Beams, Matthew Dear reinvented himself as a Bryan Ferry for the opium den set. There were hints of that elegant sleaze on 2010’s Black City to be sure, but on Beams, Dear plunged full-on into the darkness, emerging with a set of songs that writhed and groaned and slithered, Dear’s voice croaking and cracking and oozing a kind of shadowy perversity. At first, Bunny seems like a return to that chiaroscuro landscape. “Can You Rush Them,” which opens with one of Dear’s best lyrics to date (“I was a bad man/ Until I found God…asleep”) is built on a queasy thrum of bass and tom-heavy percussion; “Echo,” which you will never convince me is not about this Eko, takes the repetitive vocal pattern of “Iko Iko” and slows it down to the pace of a morphine drip; and the gripping “What You Don’t Know” rides a heaving, libidinous rhythm, punctuated by eerily out-of-place gospel vocals. But a funny thing happens to the record at the halfway mark: Dear rips the black velvet curtains open and sunlight floods in. “Horses” is a beautifully tender acoustic guitar ballad that cedes its closing minutes to one of the album’s two appearances by Tegan and Sara—who are so good here they threaten to upstage Dear on his own record. “Moving Man” is “Staying Alive” for IDM fans over 30, and the percussion on “Duke of Dens” is big enough to shake arena rafters. The album saves its knockout punch for the end with “Bad Ones,” the second song to feature Tegan and Sara and arguably one of the best songs Dear has ever written. Melodically, it’s pure bliss—the kind of great, subversive pop song that, in the ‘80s, would have been a duet between David Bowie and Annie Lennox. Dear handles the song’s dour verses, his dark burgundy croon bemoaning his own worst impulses before stepping aside to let Tegan and Sara rocket the song up to the sun. It’s a fitting metaphor for the album as a whole: on Bunny, Matthew Dear feels his way back into the light.

-J. Edward Keyes

Soul Cannon
Soul Cannon

The Baltimore band Soul Cannon proudly self-identify not just as musicians, but as agents of “hip-hop destruction.” It’s a bold characterization that, in the wake of the quartet’s new, self-titled LP — their first in seven years — scans as a somewhat-ironic undersell. Even with propulsive spoken-word Eze Jackson at the helm, the aforementioned genre embodies but a mere spoke in Soul Cannon’s breaking-wheel DIY revelry; these twelve songs draw upon every last corner of the Charm City underground, from artful math-rock (“Talk Less” could) and R&B fusion (“Test Drive”) to beat-heavy funk (the aptly-titled “Hospital Records”) and heavy metal (“Wonderland”). By record’s end, Soul Cannon emerges not merely as a feat of hip-hop destruction, but rather a marvel of genre-bending alchemy — which, you know, just so happens to contain some sick bars.

-Zoe Camp

The Staches
Great Depression

The Great Depression, the latest release from Geneva art punks the Staches, fits a lot of action into an economical two tracks. The band has flirted with raucous garage rock primitivism on their past releases, but here they pare down their sound and go all in for minimal post-punk that nods to krautrock via mechanical riffs and the addition of ambient synths. It’s a good fit for a band who have grown to be formidable songwriters with musicianship to back up their genre-melding ideas. The title track is built on a stomping garage beat with a buzzy guitar line that’s almost prog-like in its construction. B-side “You Are Still a Stranger” is a deconstructed pop song with stream of consciousness lyrics that collapses into a cloudy, off-kilter chorus led by an echoing synth line and layered vocals.

-Mariana Timony

Tozcoz
Sueños Deceptivos

Santa Ana’s Tozcos have been around for the better part of this decade, making melodic and bouncy Spanish-language hardcore; their latest 12-inch, Sueños Deceptivos, refines their style to razor-sharp. Their sound’s a bit indebted to the anarcho side of UK82 on tracks like the midtempo “Ritmo de la Muerte” and “Agusto de Miseria,” and to the raw-edged hardcore of late ‘80s Central and South American bands like Massacre 68 and Kaos on the title track and the opener, “Guerra Mundial.” Vocalist Corrina Pichardo has perfectly uncompromising delivery—every line she screams lands like a dart meeting its target, soaring over her bandmates’ fierce drumming and meaty riffs. There’s nothing about this record, from the songwriting to the recording (clean, but retaining just enough grit in a way that captures the band’s energetic performance), which feels unnecessary, an economy I really appreciate.  I’ve felt really heavy this week, a little run down from a lot of different corners, and listening to Tozcos makes me feel revived, able to push through, like an audio B-vitamin shot.

-Jes Skolnik

Back Catalog

Domenique Dumont
Miniatures de Auto Rhythm

True to its name, the latest effort from French production Dominique Dumont embodies an inverted universe where sonic simplicity reigns supreme, and by extension, a playful subversion of musical gravity as we know it. Highlights like “Mambo Haiku” and “Quand,” however dynamically inert, are pocket-sized worlds in their own right, melding bright synths, gently-strummed guitars (and even toy instruments!) into effortlessly cozy arrangements, minimalist escapism at its fines; the summery “Le Soleil Dans La Monde,” which incorporates recordings of ocean breezes and pitter-pattering feet into a quaint, Balearic-inspired collage, provides an especially inviting escape. Catharsis and melodrama are great and all, but sometimes, it’s the littlest pleasures that bring the most joy. (Also, who doesn’t love the beach?!)

-Zoe Camp

 

The Best Albums of 2017: #40 – #21

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We’ll be revealing the full list, 20 albums at a time, this whole week.

Last year, the Bandcamp Daily staff put together our first “Best Albums of the Year List,” 100 albums we felt defined 2016 for us. At the time I remember thinking, “This is tough, but it will probably get easier as the years go on.” Now, one year later, I’m realizing that I was wrong. The truth is, the world of Bandcamp is enormous, and it contains artists from all over the world, in every conceivable genre (including a few who exist in genres of their own invention), and at every stage of their career. The fact of the matter is, any list like this is going to fall short because, on Bandcamp, there is always more to discover. Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available. The albums that made this list, though, were the ones that stayed with us long after they were released—the ones we returned to again and again and found their pleasures undimmed, and their songs still rewarding.

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The Best Albums of Summer 2017

roundups-oct-1244

Every three months, the Bandcamp Daily editorial staff combs through the stacks to present our favorite records of the year to date. The albums presented here run the stylistic spectrum, everything from noise to indiepop to hip-hop to everything in between. And if you like what you see here, check out our picks for winter and spring of 2017, too.

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The Best New Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: July 2017

Best Hip Hop

This month’s selection of vital hip-hop projects covers albums inspired by the socially-conscious poetics of Gil Scott-Heron, plus beat tapes homaging the production genius of Prince Paul, and a regional showcase themed around the Street Fighter II video game. Elsewhere, you’ll be pleased to hear that the age-old battle cry against the high-end corporate machinations of the hip-hop industry is still booming through loud and clear.

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Album of the Day: Lando Chill, “The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind”

Forty-plus years into its history, hip-hop has seen no shortage of producers and MCs who march to their own beat, so to speak. Today, we can point to new or recent albums by envelope-pushing artists like Run The Jewels, JJ Doom, Shabazz Palaces, Quelle Chris, and others as hallmarks of a creative climate that’s rife with out-of-the-box thinking. And with hip-hop’s international reach more prevalent than ever, the genre’s capacity to absorb outside influences appears limitless.

It says a lot, then, that Lando Chill’s third full-length, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, sounds as inventive as it does. Where Chill’s previous two full-lengths and EP hewed closer to your typical soul-rap fusion, the new album immediately announces itself as the most richly varied work of the Tucson-based rapper/poet’s career to date. This time, Chill and returning producer/multi-instrumentalist Lasso take a quantum leap forward, arguably bringing the alternative hip-hop paradigm along for the ride.

This is all the more remarkable considering that Chill, whose real name is Lance Washington, didn’t grow up as an especially avid fan of rap music. Instead, he had a much deeper affinity for jazz and classical, which shows in his emphasis on timbre, as well as in the way he frequently foregoes beats for free-form atmospheres. A haunting piano loop, for example, anchors “o sicario e o padre” (Portuguese for “the hit man and the priest”). The song does contain a rather stock, minimal hip-hop beat, but the piano, which is fragmented and heavily smeared in reverb, lands the music closer to the moody stillness of, say, the electronic duo Lamb than to Chill’s alt-rap contemporaries.

A less imaginative artist more focused on keeping up with trends might have thrown in some trap elements, but Chill and Benbi, the track’s producer, clearly weren’t interested in taking the easy way out. Instead, they let the beat drop out in the song’s ambient-leaning middle section, where Lando trades in his rapid-fire flow for a more melodic delivery that’s treated with effects for a touch of surrealism. As spare as it gets, “o sicario” is a gripping, utterly sumptuous piece of music—just one of several in a sprawling track sequence that unfolds more like a suite than a grouping of 15 disparate tracks.

Much like on Joni Mitchell’s 1975 landmark The Hissing of Summer Lawns, jazz functions as a departure point on The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, so that the music is no longer quite recognizable as jazz. The album also strains against the limits of hip-hop. Dense and challenging, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind doesn’t digest easily in one sitting, at least not at first. But Lando Chill and company reward their listeners and fellow artists alike—not to mention rap music as a whole—for the patience their new music demands.

—Saby Reyes-Kulkarni