Best free music of 2011

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The best mixtapes and digital drops of the year.

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Impose Automaton | December 22, 2011

This is a collection of all of the best music we found on the internet for free this year. Artists giving away stuff for free is awesome, obviously. Because if it wasn't free, we'd just steal it! Just kidding. But it is nice to hear something on someone's Bandcamp and then buy the album, or go to the show, or write them a MASH note. Because if you write someone a MASH note and you've never even heard their band, you are just creepy.

Enjoy this massive collection of insanely free music from Impose, and Merry Christmakwanzukkah!

Al Lover, Safe As Milk Replica

Al Lover understands the only way to make a Beefheart replica is by being intentionally gritty, no Pro-Tools plug-in tricks, just fingers drumming on the MPC.
Download here.

RJD2, The Glow Remixes

The Glow Remixes EP infuses a heavy disco funk into the RJ's Elton John-esque original.
Download here.

Brenmar's Lucky Me Mix

Brenmar's not doing anything too tricky here. Take his Young Joc and 112 mixes and throw them at a bunch of people at your warehouse or your meat packing district and you will see those very people move.

Download here.

Heat Wave, “Native Struggle” / “Dancehall Filth Apartment”

Enjoy the rather ripped and torn B-side, where this Bitches Brewed anti-gravity music was dreamt and wadded up into kinetic samples.
Download here.

Schoolboy Q, “F*ck Ya Hip Hop!!!” (feat. Rapper Big Pooh and Murs)

Despite the top shelf guest spots, Schoolboy Q goes in hungry with a teeth-gritting bravado denouncing broke rappers that want to claim they know hip hop.
Download here.

SP-33, Escape From Tha Carter

SP-33's sonic vision of instability is loose transmissions from Lil Wayne's Tha Carter and interviews over the grime-ridden synths of John Carpenter's Escape From New York score.
Download here.

Stalley, Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music)

Recorded in Columbus, OH, Stalley's Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music) is an invitation to the biggest street side car show in the small town of Massillon.
Download here.

Shuriken, Leisure Memories

The latest offering out of Sao Paolo/Perdizes-based label Cloud Chapel is a tableau of guitar skronk, sample collage, and pleasantly congenial vocal ooh-ing alla Young Prayer era Panda Bear, when it was all about syllabic flourishes rather than words, per-se.
Download here.

Cool Calm Pete, The Ups & Downs

The best Valentine's Days spent alone ever.
Download here.

Malibu Wands, Trondheim

Malibu Wands tell a more opaque tale written in the same dark red ink, with the kind of unholy commitment to unrelenting swathes of cold, smokey noise and unspoken melodic tension that could be a vision of hell, or at least the Scandinavian tundra one passes through to get there.
Download here.

Absent Fever

In the tradition of Beko DSL, Absent Fever is a new free digital release label brought to all of us by the brains behind the tumblrz verb/re/verb and Flashlight Tag.
Visit their site to get downloads.

Recess, Recess EP

We've been bumping “Escalators” since the summer, enjoying the swagger of The Clubhouse's blue notes and Sene keeps the vibes in that smoothed out soul as tracks like “The Gentleman” detail Sene's daily operations of keeping it classy, despite the fit of his jeans.
Download here.

Hellfyre Club, Prometheus (sampler)

With the troops assembled, Hellfyre Club has its first sampler called Prometheus, which features E-Super, Intuition, Open Mike Eagle, KAIL, Sahtyre, VerBS and Bomb Zombies. Prometheus is blown out in electro-sonics as the crew discovers its own fire within and presents it to the masses.
Download here.

B. Lewis, Science Within Reason

Quite effortlessly, B. Lewis welds jam rock horns with bluesy work song vocals, glitched out synths and crackling drums, then cascades into the electro-R&B vibes that FlyLo, Bilal and Shlohmo are cultivating as of late.
Download here.

Blissed Out, Empire State

An artists' argument with his label is unfortunate, but to your benefit.
Download here.

Intuition, I Ruined These Songs For You Too

The sequel injects 16 bars of humble cool into indie darlings like Phantogram, Javelin, Neon Indian and Frank Ocean, then directs the hypemachine at the elders of indie by sampling Sublime, The Strokes, Erykah Badu and Raphael Saadiq.
Download here.

Rich Hill & Nero, Howling at Hades

While there are missteps like inching too close to the Halloween score for “Nightmare” and “Where They Go” (only in a different key), at the heart of Howling At Hades are two troublesome rappers that lurk hard like strangers in the night.
Download here.

Willie Green, Four Seasons – Spring Movement

On Four Seasons – Spring Movement, Green intersperses Greenback's trademark cackle, but the long playing collection is purely instrumental bliss meant to take to the park or the first BBQ of the season.
Download here.

Jensen Sportag, The Wet Mix

Jensen Sportag recast its finer moments from Pure Wet, crafting defacto remixes that guide down, down, down to the pleasure center. Enjoy with care and a change of sheets on hand.
Download here.

Brazillian Money, This Is Not A Dream

Meet Garret Johnson, freaky British Columbian who preps squawking messy garage slabs at home and sends them off freely to the world on his bandcamp.
Download here.

Long Long Long, Who The Fuck Said Family Ain't Family No More

This Halifax-based jangly experimental indie group have songs that kind of sound like DD/MM/YYYY slowed down by 80%.
Download here.

Caddywhompus, The Weight

The collection of four songs congeal into a mass of schizoid structural fades and plenty of distorted bombast with no center of gravity and rays of guitar shredding haphazardly in all directions.
Download here.

Al Lover, Distorted Reverberations (of Reverberating Distortion)

Al Lover employs his trademark techniques on his trusty MPC, along with plenty of effects pedals, which is fitting considering his source material is probably honing similar effects gear. His committment to the hardware that gave hip hop its first breaths of life is principle in pulling the rhythm and blues from the modern scuzz.
Download here.

Claire Evans, Fly On, UFO

Fly On, UFO is an abduction into the alien territory of sci-fi disco, a sub-genre that is suprisingly dedicated to the themes of dystopia, android love, teleportation and unidentified flying objects. Seriously, none of these songs are loosely applicable inclusions. Each song was clearly written with an intergalactic future in mind.
Download here.

14KT, 14KillaTape

Producer 14KT is on the rise, providing soundscapes for Elzhi on his reworking of Raekwon's “Verbal Intercourse” on Elmatic, a handful of Danny Brown tracks (“Cartier” and “Generation Rx”) and a slew of other Detroit rappers.
Download here.

Noveller, Glacial Glow

Taking her guitar manifesto to withering heights on Glacial Glow, Sarah Lipstate subtly sheds much of the drone while adding many more layers of melody, creating, as she puts it, a wider sonic palette. The resulting product is a slow burning work of art that is worthy of its namesake, one where the beauty behind Lipstate's orchestration comes to the forefront; this is not noise for the sake of art, but rather everything is done with a delicate purpose.
Stream here.

Busdriver, “Bloom” (Radiohead Rethink)

Busdriver had a few words regarding the intentions of his Radiohead remix:
THE SONG LOOSELY DEALS WITH THE POLITICAL UPHEAVAL DU JOUR AS WELL AS THE BRAND OF COMPLACENCY AFFORDED TO TODAY'S LIBERAL-MINDED AMERICANS. IT'S FUN…
Download here.

RIVKA, RIVKA

RIVKA is a Pittsburgh-based electronic duo who siphon off the smoother tactics from a few of the blogosphere's favorite trending textures: their self-titled album is simultaneously chill as fuck and self-consciously aware of down-pitching choice interludes and smacking some tracks with that MPC hi-hat and saw-tooth synth (see lead-off “Kid Animal”).
Download here.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Modcast #82

UMO pitch shift the ever-loving hell out of Brandy, SWV, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Aaliyah, but beneath the vocal fuckery are homages to thorough New York rap productions that are only missing DJ drops from Evil Dee. Who knew Brandy wanted to be down with Boot Camp Clique?
Download here.

Flying Lotus, Lovers Melt 2

FlyLo took to his Lovers Melt concept with a renewed fervor on the second installment, selecting 2.5 hours of summer heat from his crates. The second edition features some of FlyLo's favorite songs ever, which also happen to be iconic summer songs like William DeVaughn's “Be Thank For What You've Got” and Bobby Caldwell's “What You Won't Do For Love” .
Download here.

Dirty Beaches Bandcamp

Alex Zhang Hungtai neé Dirty Beaches sat in front of the bandcamp for a good chunk of time, making available dozens of tracks that previously would have required a bit of well-intentioned mediafiring and/or real-live crate digging at your local, slightly off music store, if you have one of those in your area.

John Maus' Mix for Rough Trade

It's a bit of a drawback that Maus' mix-making skills resemble his speech patterns, jittery and disjointed, but the man has a lot on his mind, making the fluidity in expressing it difficult. Thus Gregorian chant records and symphonies are pitted against nervous breakdowns in psyche from The Castaways and Electric Prunes.
Download here.

Some songs from Actress

A group of tracks picked up from Actress' Twitter feed. Laurel Halo's Antenna was in our top albums of the year list, but our impression of “Constant Index” never gave the impression she was out to make us purr. In fact, we're still not sure how Actress tuned into the prurient side of “Constant Index”, but we'll allow it.
Downloads here.

MUTWAWA, “March of the MUTWAWA Police”

Black Dice feedback distortion skitters over hulking shadows ominously recessed in this slab of static electricity that freaks over flattened transistor radio beats and an undulating pulse.
Download here.

Skratch Bastid, The Entertainer mix

Much like Skratch Bastid's 110% mix from '09, The Entertainer is just under an hour's worth of of seemlessly blended DJ wizardry. Bastid has little issue with mixing Naughty By Nature over Suzanne Vega's “Tom's Diner”, pretty much beating Girl Talk to the punch. But that's the extent of the comparison, as Bastid is a legitimate DJ with an artillery of scratches, juggles and remix techniques on wax far beyond Gillis' laptop skill set.
Download here.

Monster Rally's new old Crystal Ball EP

Über-tasteful sample collagist Monster Rally made available a 17-track pile-up of tracks he recorded “in a unbelievably hot attic” in July 2010. He's calling it “pay what you want,” which we suggest interpreting as “hundreds of dollars per track,” but could just as easily be “virtually nothing,” which is why we dub this gorgeous eliding of weed-curated lost vinyl treasures as a most bountiful Approved Theft.
Download here.

J. Cole, Any Given Sunday #1 EP

Had the NFL not returned this autumn, J. Cole was prepared to make Sundays a little less depressing by giving away free music on a weekly basis leading up to his September 27 release date.

ERAAS, ERAAS

Brainy structures and crisp production and a band that's massively tight on their recently released self-titled and self-released debut.
Download here.

Dibiase's Knocksteady Live podcast

Featuring a mighty healthy beat set from Dibiase. It's high time the Green Llama representative release a follow-up to last year's Machines Hate Me, which still gets spins. The first half hour is Dibiase behind the SP404, letting all the imperfections and haphazard samples collide because as he sees it, “The imperfection could be a perfection sometimes.”
Download here.

Terius Nash, 1977

Terius Nash, a.k.a. The-Dream, released his first free download record entitled 1977. There's an aggression on 1977, that suggests Nash intends to set the record straight as to who's the fuggin' boss 'round here. It should also be noted that Pharrell rapped his ass off on “This Shit Real Ni**a”, to a point that even the shitty “rock out” outro could not negate Skateboard P's savvy, yet savage, business advice for the naysayers to make “hatin-ass-nigga.com.”
Download here.

Pure X Cassette Mix

It's kind of comforting to think of Pure X sitting around listening to down-pitched Lionel Ritchie and excerpts from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack as part of their daily routine — sure, the band isn't indicted in the chillwave massacre, but their tastes are filthy with the seed of 80s schmaltz.
Download here.

DJ Haircut, Do Over DJ set

Mayer Hawthorne can croon with a pillowy tenderness akin to Smokey Robinson, but before he found those soft pipes he was DJ Haircut – the deejay with an arsenal of funk, soul, disco and fledgling hip hop birthed from those genres. DJ Haircut gave Hawthorne the night off this past weekend at LA's Do Over affair.
Download here.

Mr. Muthafukin eXquire, Lost In Translation

Mr. MFN eXquire claimed Lost In Translation was written during a rough patch in the past three years as a form of therapy. Makes sense, as opening track “Triple F” has eXquire spazzing out with a Tourette's-ish “fuck'emfuck'emfuck'em” chorus.
Download here.

J57, The Analog Tape

J57 waxes nostalgia on The Analog Tape for the era that included sounds reminiscent of the Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Show on WKCR. The legendary show featured demo tapes and in-studio freestyles from artists like Big L, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and Cam'ron.
Download here.

James Pants' beat archive

James Pants was busy with his excellent self-titled record in the spring and never got around to cleaning. With summer coming to a close, Pants is clearing out the archives with a collection of beats made between '01-'07 and this is just Vol.1. We have yet to digest the entire package, as its 1.5 hours of beats, but in our half hour of jamming we are quite pleased with Pants' cleaning process. Here's hoping Vol.2 covers '07 to the present – our favorite Pants era.
Download here.

Backwoodz, The Cost Of Living tape

The mixtape is 15-tracks of autumnal boom bap from Backwoodz' roster Willie Green, Vordul Mega, Billy Woods, A.M. Breakups, Elucid, Marmaduke, Bond, Pastense and HiCoup. They are joined by affiliates and friends Open Mike Eagle, Junclassic, Nasa, Man Mantis, Eleven, Teddy Faley, Cavalier, Megabusive and L'Wren.
here.

Cool World, 9-21-11

Cool World make the kind of music you'd expect and occasionally hope kids straight out of ivy leagues (Brown) to be making – not overly influenced by the tide of nü waves of the late Oughts, just sort of caught up in the 90s Slumberland swirl and writing songs about baked goods hanging by the lake on the eve of someone's impending death.
Download here.

AIDS Wolf, Ma vie banale avant-garde

The band understands that not everyone can afford to buy music and they also realize you're going to find it for free anyway. So why not just give it to you? All you have to do is send a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) to the label (Lovepump United) and boom: you get a free digital download of Ma vie banale avant-garde AND a free AIDS Wolf poster.

Monster Rally's Coral LP remixed

Monster Rally released the Coral LP in January, which had us stoked on the power of its warming vibes. While the journos might have their heads up their asses, the remix community responded properly to Coral with 16 new takes on the album. Coral II: The Remixes is downloadable at Monster Rally's bandcamp with fresh takes from Teen Daze, Yalls, Roman Ruins, Superhumanoids and Monster Rally himself, to name a few.
Download here.

William Cody Watson, Night Music for Driving

The former Pink Priest continues to be a holy man of all that's glacial and ambient. Apparently the dreamy ultraviolence of Drive got his noble noise fingers going for a half hour EP titled in the tradition of titling things Music for [Ideal Environment Here]. Watson cites Gasper Noé films and I'm hearing some grizzly Dario Argento dismemberment in my future were I to drive to “No Heaven For Us”, but generally this is a wind-in-your-face top down kind of trip, not one with blades, and we suggest you take it promptly.
Download here.

Gonjasufi, 9th Inning EP

The EP sounds like a companion piece to A Sufi And A Killer. Gonjasufi is still croaking and rapping through distortion, while the presence of east Indian bounce and psychedelia holds strong. The opening cut and title track boasts a grandiose rapper production fugged up through lo-fi aesthetic.
Download here.

ReallyNathan, out of tune /// out of space

The instrumentals are all minor productions that create lasting impressions within 2-minutes, but function as further proof that Late Bloomers are going to be renovating the house by the time it completes its full length record.
Download here.

mnttaB, hastingsBeach EP

This band is pretty fun. Their description of their album sounds like it was written clad only in tighty whites at 4am with a bottle of whiskey spilling unnoticed on the night stand.
Download here.

Duke Westlake, Memory Palace

After striking gold in a dollar bin digging excursion, LA producer Duke Westlake caught the inspiration bug and crafted a collection of raw beats and instrumentals.
Download here.

Milo, I Wish My Rob Was Here

Milo lifts beats from Gold Panda, Shlohmo, Com Truise, Madlib and Flying Lotus for his mixtape, which dissociates the young rapper from his Chicago roots, but hearing him rap in a style akin to Serengeti or Open Mike Eagle, both LA transplants from Chicago, places him back in the Midwest.
Download here.

Back to the Future the Ride, Gay Wish

It's about 20 minutes of thick, spectral drone, coated in syrup with the occasional high tone mixed in, except for the track “Logic Rules”, which is the first time you'll get to hear someone say “Six hundred and sixty-six” through an autotune.
Download here.

Happy Trendy, Die Young

Edmonton, Canada's Happy Trendy's EP is completely low-fi soft pop, with a good measure of cheer and an even larger measure of audio distortion in the background to keep the saccharine at arm's length.
Download here.

Hellfyre Club, Veneris Nigrum

Veneris Nigrum features contributions from the LA imprints 2012 roster of releases, which includes Nocando, Open Mike Eagle, KAIL, E. Super, Rheteric Ramirez, Subtitle, VerBS, Sahtyre and Pistol McFly.
Download here.

Back to the Future the Ride, Chatroom Enhancing Drugs

Back to the Future the Ride's ambient and at times noisy sounds are surprisingly fitting with the '80s sci-fi comedy franchise extension. Brian Miller, ostensibly a time travel enthusiast, conjures bent timelines where present/futuristic glitches touch classicism of the past.
Download here.

Mueran Humanos live on WFMU

Argentinian/Berliner couple Mueran Humanos play bitter-seeming chants en Español (so they might be about unicorns and lollipops, I can't tell), sequenced over dark keyboards and spare drumbeats. “Monstruo” would fit in at any Manhattan goth-teen dance party.
Download here.

Bebetunes, “INHALE C – 4 $$$$$ MIXTAPE”

The first Bebetunes mixtape from James Ferraro is a grimy, oily mix of purple poison hip hop and the artists' trademark '90s synth swoops, all slowed down to an almost crunk tempo and released from it's reptilian cage.
Download here.

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