20 Great Albums You Can (Legally) Download for Free Right Now


You may have read last week that David Byrne and St. Vincent have followed up their excellent Love This Giant album from last year with a new EP entitled Brass Tactics. Apart from the fact that it contains a previously unreleased track, the most notable thing about the EP is that they’re giving it away for free, making it the latest addition to an ever-increasing volume of music that you can download — legally! — for free right now. There’s so much, in fact, that it’s kind of overwhelming. Here’s a selection of 20 records that Flavorwire recommends you add to your collection right now.

David Byrne and St. Vincent — Brass Tactics

So, let’s start at the beginning: this EP from David Byrne and St. Vincent, which as per their website comprises “one song that didn’t make it on the record, a couple of energized remixes of some of the album tunes and two live tracks of the sort of more familiar material we do in the set.”

Le1f — Fly Zone

The world is still waiting for Le1f’s official debut album, but in the meantime, this most excellent mixtape from January this year will do very nicely indeed — get it via his Soundcloud page. His similarly awesome Dark York mixtape from last year is also still available for free download — you can get it here.

The-Dream — Climax

Here’s something brand new — this was only released over the weekend. It features two songs from The-Dream’s recent album IV Play, along with a couple of other unreleased tracks. Get it here.

Damo Suzuki — Live at the TIR Club, Pskov, Russia

If you’ve never seen ex-Can vocalist Damo Suzuki live, it’s quite the experience. These days he basically travels the world, playing with local avant-garde musicians wherever he lands. This hour-long live recording dates from 2008, when he did a four-date tour of Russia and Belarus. The sound quality is great, and the musicians Suzuki was playing with — whoever they may be — are clearly pretty damn good too.

DJ Food — Kraftwerk Kovers

Also on the German tip, this is an epic multi-disc compilation of Kraftwerk covers curated by Ninja Tune affiliate DJ Food, who’s apparently been broadcasting them on the label’s Solid Steel Radio podcast since 2004. You can get the whole eight-disc extravaganza right here.

Death Grips — Ex-Military

Sadly, their cock-tastic album No Love Deep Web, which was released for free to much fanfare last year, is no longer to be had, but you can still get their debut mixtape here. There’s an argument to be made that it’s the best thing they ever did, anyway.

Various Artists — Primavera Sound 2013 Preview

Wish you were at Primavera in Barcelona last week? Well, yes, so does Flavorwire — but this is the next best thing, probably, a pretty epic compilation of a bunch of the acts that were playing this year’s festival. It’s still up for download here.

Various Artists — Adult Swim Garage Swim Compilation

And while we’re on killer compilations, this collates all the tracks released for Adult Swim’s Garage Swim project — if garage rock is your thing, then you’ll want to be clicking that link and downloading post haste.

Oval — Calidostópia

Curious summery Portuguese vocals over very glitch-influenced tracks, courtesy of German producer Markus Popp, who goes by the psuedonym Oval. You can preview the album via XLR8R, and if it takes your fancy, download it for free here.

TG Olson — Blood Meridian for Electric Drone Guitar

I mentioned coming across this a while back — last winter, in fact, when its bleak, sparse sounds made for a perfect soundtrack to gray skies and snowy streets. It makes perfect sense that it’s inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s masterwork, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Get it as a name-your-price download via Bandcamp.

John Vanderslice — Green Grow the Rushes

Vanderslice has a whole heap of stuff that can be had for free — this EP (named after an R.E.M. song, if I’m not mistaken) is particularly good and can be had via this link, but it’s worth browsing the “Full Album Downloads and Extras” section of his website and seeing what takes your fancy.

Various Artists — Death Waltz Records Fangoria Mixtape

As fresh as something very fresh indeed — this was released a couple of weeks back and is a pretty fantastically freaky collection of horror film influenced sounds and atmospherics. It was made for Fangoria magazine, and boy does it ever sound like it. Get it via Self-Titled Magazine or just use the download link above.

Glass Candy — various albums

The ever-munificent Johnny Jewel put the entire Glass Candy back catalog on the web for free download a couple of years back — you can thumb through the records to be had at the Free Music Archive and marvel at how different the band used to sound when they went by the name Glass Candy and the Shattered Theater (there are guitars!)

Various Artists — Tranquility Tapes Tabs Out Sampler

This compilation of beautiful ambient/downtempo/spaced-out music was one of Flavorwire’s most serene albums of 2012, and you can still get it via this link (it’s about halfway down the page, under the heading “Episode 16”).

Clams Casino — Instrumentals Vol. 2

A heap of fascinating instrumentals from one of the most influential producers in contemporary hip hop. There was a heap of fuss about both of his instrumental mixtapes when they were released, and rightly so, because they’re both great — Volume 1 is somewhat difficult to find these days, but you can still get Volume 2 here.

Mount Eerie — Seven New Songs of Mount Eerie

One from the archive — a crazily rare limited-edition CD-R released for Mount Eerie’s tour of Australia way back in 2004, now available as a free download via The Internet Archive (a site that does other things apart from host The Wayback Machine, y’know).

Jens Lekman — Presents for You

Also from back in the day, there’s at least an album’s worth of material for free download on Jens Lekman’s website — two early tour EPs (his 2005 US tour EP and the You Deserve Someone Better Than a Bum Like Me EP from his Australian tour the same year), his debut 2004 CD-R, and free tracks from each of his three studio albums. Also worth downloading: his excellent Summer in 3/4 Time mix, which you can get here.

Captain Murphy — Duality

The world now knows that Captain Murphy is indeed Flying Lotus, so some of the mystique around this free release from last year has been lost. But still, it’s well worth hearing, if only for the fact that it’s even weirder than most of FlyLo’s other work, which was weird enough to begin with. Get it here.

Angel Haze — Reservation

Before “Cleaning Out My Closet” (and the silly feuding with Azealia Banks), there was this: raw, uncompromising, and a startling introduction to one of the hip-hop world’s most exciting new talents. It’s still online at DatPiff — get it via this link.

Mykki Blanco — Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Princess

And finally, while we’re on mixtapes that introduced the world to exciting new talents, here’s Mykki Blanco’s debut full-length mixtape from last November. With Blanco’s Betty Rubble: The Initiation EP just out, it’s a good time to revisit its predecessor, which sounds as fresh and vital as ever. Get it right here.