Sunday, January 02, 2011

Idol Threat's Top 10 Posts of 2010 [FREE]



(Click the "Jump" below to go straight to the list.)

So I decided that I'd do a solid for all you lazy bastards and cheapskates out there and list my Top Posts of 2010. This way if you don't want to go through the trouble of looking through all my posts or if you're new to my blog than you can get this great overview of what's offered here. And if you're already a frequent visitor (thank you) then you at least get to see what I consider my Top 10 posts and maybe download something you might have missed and share this list with others. (The title for each list item is a clickable link that brings you to the original post where you can download the release for FREE.)

My rules for choosing what to pick for the list was that the post would have to be a free download (essentially making this a list of the Best Free Albums of the Year) and the download would have to more or less be from 2010. I also tried to get a good cross-section of genres so that you weren't all just seeing a bunch of Hip Hop posts or Jazz posts or something (the latter of which was severely lacking this past year which will hopefully change in 2011.) So there might be some favorites I left out because they were originally released before 2010 or so I could make room for other genres so feel free to chime in down at the comments section with your personal favorite posts. For now you'll have to settle for mine after the jump:




eLZhi - The Leftovers (Unmixedtape)
The one good thing we can take away from the demise of Detroit Hip Hop group Slum Village is that it frees up eLZhi to move forward in his own career. If this mixtape is any indication of what he has in store then Slum Village breaking up was definitely a blessing in disguise. His EuroPass tour CD and debut The Preface were strong releases but this mixtape is different. It's raw, and I'm not just talking about it being unmastered, it's got a little more grime than his other albums but it's just the right amount to match his relentless lyricism. His previous releases always seemed to be lacking the grit needed to do him justice and The Leftovers Unmixedtape is a perfect step towards that direction. eLZhi has always had the best verse on any song he was on and here's an album full of reasons why.


Like Rats 2010 7-Inch Free Download
Like Rats' new 7 inch release has been in constant rotation for me ever since I got it, just like their demo from the previous year. This 5 song release is just shy of 13 minutes but there isn't a single dud on here. I could play this album 3 times in a row without even flinching. Out of all the bands who has been blending black metal with hardcore of late Like Rats is the only one who has yet to disappoint. Recent albums from Black Anvil, Celeste, The Secret and Withered seemed to lean more towards the black metal end of the spectrum, but unfortunately for them the change didn't seem to add anything new to the table. Their blend with hardcore and/or other genres is what made them interesting to begin with so a shift towards a more traditional black metal sound strips away what made them so unique. Like Rats got it right the first time and hasn't change a thing yet, let's just hope it stays that way.

Have a Nice Life - Time of Land [EP]
Have a Nice Life released one of the best double albums to surface in a long time when Deathconsciousness came out in 2008. Their melancholy, cavernous, ambient "doomgaze" was a breath of fresh air; air which just happened to be a dense fog of darkness. I remember them putting out a compilation of demos and outtakes entitled Void which was compiled by fans & released for free, and it almost surpassed what was found on their debut. Combined with Time of Land we have here a duo whose free releases surpass most peoples' discographies. If this stuff is their cast-aways then I can't even begin to imagine what their future output will sound like. Have a Nice Life's latest EP doesn't have as many heavy moments as Deathconsciousness, but they manage to balance it's depression with hope alot better on this mostly instrumental release. It's only 24 minutes long but it stretches those minutes out forever, leaving the listener in a haze that they won't easily fall out of. Luckily for us it's a place we won't mind staying for awhile.


Chicago Thrash Ensemble - 7 Song EP
And here's yet another EP that made the list. These small releases may be the way to go in these days of short attention spans and 99 cent songs. If you can't get it right in 15 minutes or less then you probably shouldn't bother with full albums. Chicago Thrash Ensemble released a 7 song scorcher that also didn't leave my rotation when I first got it. If you didn't get it from the name Chicago Thrash Ensemble is a hardcore/thrash band from Chicago. They play music that's short, fast and to the point and their songs are catchy as shit. Sure it doesn't really break any new ground but who needs to when you sound this fucking good? No need to re-invent the wheel when you can just ride it fast and hard. It'll get you where you need to go.


Ras Kass – The Endangered Lyricist
There's not that many artists out there who have enough material for 2 "best of" releases, and there's even less artists out there who would give them out for free. Ras Kass is one of my favorite lyricists and his classic debut Soul on Ice is one of my favorite Hip Hop albums. The two volumes of his The Endangered Lyricist series contains songs from his entire career and they're both available for free. They even contain tracks from his two unreleased albums Goldyn Child and Van Gogh. Back in the day Ras Kass was all set to make the leap from being an underground legend to becoming Dr. Dre's newest recruit but got derailed by jail time and label woes. He's been slowly making his return back and with moves like his "Save the Ras Kass" campaign and releasing these 2 free compilations he's well on his way back to the top. You can't go wrong with either of these volumes but I put the first volume on the list simply for the fact that it has Nature of the Threat on it. It's one of the greatest Hip Hop tracks ever made.



Know Nothing - Live Bootleg 9/24/10
I know this was a recent post but it's so good that I felt it deserved a spot on the list. It's the only live album on the list but the raw recording only adds to the appeal of their songs. Know Nothing plays a blend of blackened sludge-grind that makes them sound like the buzzing of a swarming plague signaling in the apocalypse. You may dread it's approach but the end of the world never sounded so good. I've seen so many bands not live up to their amazing live shows so this is at least a good way to avoid that disappointment. I can only hope that their official release will sound as good or better than this, for now we'll have to settle for this bootleg. Be thankful, back in the day bootlegs were only available on tape and would wear out after awhile, but you can play this digital recording as many times as you want without worry of decay. And trust me, you will.


Atlas Sound: Bedroom Databank Vol. 1-4
If you're tired of all the short EP posts I've been listing how about a post with almost 3 hours of free material? Bradford Cox's "ambient punk" side project Atlas Sound sounds very much like a stripped down version of his band Deerhunter. This 4 volume collection of demos and unreleased material range from the acoustic to the electronic to the slightly psychedelic. I have to admit I haven't heard all of the material he put up for download but with this much to sift through it's hard to absorb it all. From what I was able to listen to these four volumes are quality releases and it's insane that they're all available for free. The posting of these albums also started some controversy when Sony removed the post from Bradford's site. He soon re-posted the link which was reasonable considering the music was made in his personal bedroom and therefore not even officially owned by Sony. So say fuck you to "the man" and get to downloading.


Isaiah Toothtaker - Yiggy
Isaiah Toothtaker
. Kind of sounds like a fairy tale character doesn't it? But not from the normal fairy tales we're familiar with, more like the violent original old school German kinds that were meant to scare children shitless. Hailing from Arizona the land of the lame laws, this MC moonlights as an owner of a tattoo shop and also runs his label named Machina Muerte. This syllable bender has crafted a very refreshing Hip Hop album with his compilation Yiggy, coupling creative cadence and offbeat emphasis in his rhymes to fit perfectly over his futuristic beats & stark synths. Sounding like a supernatural space thug, Isaiah gives us high hopes for a followup. Meanwhile we have his upcoming project Human Suit to look forward to, which also include rapper Mestizo and producer Meaty Ogre. Download this HOARD.

Mona De Bo - Nekavejies, Sis Ir Speles Ar Tevi
I have to admit, I squeezed in the review of this album a couple of weeks ago just so I could include it on my year end list. This album is so good it would have made my list even if it wasn't free. Mona De Bo's metamorphosis from indie/garage rock to an instrumental drone band was definitely a change for the best. They combine the dynamics of post rock with later-era Earth drone and replace the Americana with more classical elements, creating something wholly unique. Mona De Bo remain a cut above the rest of all the "drone clones" by avoiding being derivative and using their influences as inspiration instead of as a strict template. Nekavejies, Sis Ir Speles Ar Tevi transcends genre labels and is another fine example of an album that is greater than the sum of its parts; the name may be in Latvian but the music is universal. Do yourself a favor and enjoy this free album.

Thou - Entire Discography
If you've been reading my blog then you should have seen this one coming, any band that offers (practically) their ENTIRE discography for free download is an impressive feat unto itself. You combine that with the bands prolific output and amazing track record of quality releases and you have the formula for must-have downloads and Idol Threat's official top post of 2010. Thou is a sludge band from Baton Rouge, Louisiana that infuses the normally stale and over-populated genre with a fresh take that integrates post rock structures, intelligent lyrics, raspy black metallic screams and a DIY/punk ethic. And trust me, it sounds good. So good in fact that I would pay for each and every one of these songs offered for free download on their site (which I've basically already done via vinyl purchases.) Their forward-thinking music marketing methods and reputation for never failing to deliver to fans is proof that free music can be a viable promotional tool. That is if the fans actually support the band in some way. So remember, buy merch, attend shows, or at the very least spread the word. Take that mentality with you in this new year. Enjoy.

So that's Idol Threats first annual Top 10 Posts list, or the Best Free Albums of 2010. Read it, hate it, tolerate it and share it. It's a great jumping off point for new readers. I hope you'll at least like one release posted here, but do yourself a favor and try a few you're unfamiliar with. Hell try them all and sort it out after, and explore the rest of the blog archives while you're at it. Shit they're free so what do you have to lose? But be careful, you might just end up exposing yourself to something new. Next post will be the Top Non-Free Albums of 2010. Beware cheapskates.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent post! I will try to not be lazy and listen to some of this stuff. You make Thou in particular sound good, and I really dug the (non-free) Slum Village album.

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  2. T, you are a beast! No shit!

    I feel guilty. Like, I owe you for all the groundwork you do in posting all this FREE schtuff. Not to mention, posts that aren't pretensious, rather, made with insight & passion.

    Thanks, for consistently providing FREE music I enjoy, and a heightened sense of guilt & self -loathing!
    -Z-

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