Artist Spotlight: ELI
One of the metrics of a great artist is their ability to reinvent themselves through sound. It’s a fine balance between establishing self while also exploring the diversity and capability of musical intonation. ELI is one such artist. So early on in her career, her sound traverses multiple planes, transporting listeners through a series of experiences. Her most recent show is testament to that. Amidst an intimate gathering in South London, Eli took to stage and across 30 minutes, explored the span of alt genres.
Fresh off her most recent track, Too Much, Eli is establishing herself as an artist to remember. Rooted in community, an ELI performance is like being in the warm embrace of long separated friends, engaged by the excitement of catching up on the intricacies of small stories. There is a depth in Eli’s vocals that captivates her listeners, a reminder that music is a fluid thing. Too Much feels like an adventure, a genre fluid track that refuses to be one thing. I Rule is much softer, leaning heavily into its accompanying instruments. On guitar, Eli let’s loose with powerful guitar riffs. On drums, Mike embodies the rockstar feel of the track and Greg leans into the soothing synths of the track.
Alt music is not new. Afropunk is rooted in the resistance and community of the Black punk. While there has been a shift in perception and the mainstream, Black alternative artists are still finding their way. Alt is an amalgamation, as ELI says. She is indie, she is Afro pop, she is soulful. ELI is a unique blend of the musical experiences that reflect her heritage and environment as a London based, Nigerian, Ivorian singer, song-writer and producer. All these experiences and sounds are cultivated in her musical journey and all roads have led to this point.
This year ELI would like to build more of a community. Find more of the communion that was lost in the pandemic while being a reflection to and of people that look like her. As an alt artist, ELI is breaking the rules of sound and creating something familiar yet entirely new. This is the world of ELI and there’s so much more to come.
the txlips hold little back in their latest video
If you turned up with us this weekend in Atlanta then you know rockers The TxLips are hard as hell. The Atlanta-based band of babes premiered a new song for us at the festival and now they’re ready to bring you guys the official video for their latest, “Another Tear.” Check it out.
this masked and mysterious trap/hip hop/rock group throw tradition out the window and challenging the status quo
Don’t let right wing pundits convince you that the voice of the artist isn’t crucial in times of political turmoil. Art is a renowned tool of resistance and Trap/Rock/Rap group Monsters On The Horizon are joining the age-old tradition of using music to challenge the status quo. This group is creating an alternative lane for ‘Art x Music x Connection’ by subverting traditions in music relating to production and marketing. Taking a page from the likes of Daft Punk and The Gorillaz, the group wear masks to conceal their identities in our current age of social media and over-exposure. The mystery surrounding the group adds to an existing allure built on a reputation of releasing albums on Halloween and Friday the 13th.
“We, as Monsters On The Horizon, are here to challenge the status quo and encourage a new perspective. We believe in music and art as a vehicle to awaken ideas and desires in others and promote introspection and observation of the world around us. Mr. Scary is a culmination of that belief, specifically in creating a dialogue with respect to the many issues plaguing society today”
Their newest single ‘Mr. Scary’ drops tomorrow on Friday the 13th, bringing with it a blend of Trip-Hop, Trap as well as Urban and Rock and Roll vocals, delivering a soundscape that exudes a sense of power and even resistance. Most bands have to build their name touring the NYC bars/club circuit but Monsters on the Horizon keeps to their ‘tradition’ of throwing tradition out the window by having a monthly ritual event that started with 13 friends and now hosts hundreds and features other underground musicians.
Monsters On The Horizon are AFROPUNK Battle of the Bands contenders and have shows on Tuesday July 17th at Coney Island Baby 169 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 w/ Beauty in The Machine. Saturday August 4th for the Get Carried Away Music Festival which will be on a Yacht departing from Brooklyn Army Terminal 140 58th St, Brooklyn, NY, and and a mini tour for the Salem Horror Movie Festival October 10th – the 14th in Salem Massachusetts.
Bring your masks.
fuck la migra! the latest afropunk mixtape is a declaration of immigrant rights
The truth is that immigration law has always been about white supremacy. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 on down to the founding of ICE in 2003, these are explicitly racist laws designed to preserve a racist power structure, and they were always headed here: internment camps to imprison immigrant children and punish families for seeking a better life. We stand with refugees and immigrants the world over to demand an end to racist immigration laws. Close the camps. Reunite the families. Fuck la migra.
01. Intro: Abolish ICE (June 2018)
02. Samurai Shotgun – The Blast
03. Ebony Bones – No Black In The Union Jack
04. Fantastic Negrito – Plastic Hamburgers
05. Denzel Himself – Thrasher
06. Interlude: Rep. Maxine Waters (June 2018)
07. Mereba – Black Truck
08. G Matthews – Choices!
09. Emicida & Ibeyi – Hacia El Amor
10. Harville – Spill
11. Curtis Harding – It’s Not Over
12. Rest Ashore – Concussion
13. Interlude: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (June 2018)
14. Deathgrips – Black Paint
15. Joji Abot – Gods Among Men
16. Interude: Leah, 12 Year-Old Speech (June 2018)
17. Marci Phonix – Liberties
true love conquers all in newcomer obongjayar’s engrossing new single
Obongjayar is a London-based Nigerian-born artist still beaming from the 2017 release of his second EP ‘Bassey’. Today, the alternative singer is out with his brand new single “Adjacent Heart”. A deeply personal ballad that takes flight under Obongjayar soaring vocals for this heartfelt Paul White-produced track creating an unpredictable magic that defies songwriting convention in an unusual, but an engrossing way. “Adjacent Heart is all about taking time, being attentive to love and being loved – whatever that means to you,” says Obongjayar. “It’s about recognizing and appreciating the tiniest things that can make all the difference”
decolonize & reclaim! the latest afropunk mixtape is streaming now
Decolonize land. Decolonize thought. Decolonize bodies. Reclaim the narrative. What does it mean to decolonize? What does it take to reclaim? Those are the questions asked by our latest Mixtape: Decolonize & Reclaim. Songs from artists like Angelo Moore, Childish Gambino, Le Vice, DOOKOOM, Baloji & Shingai, and many more wrestle with these complex questions, and envision worlds free of internal and external colonial bullshit. Turn it up and take it back.
01. Le Vice – Boys & Girls
02. Interlude: Quetzala Carson (August 2017)
03. The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk)
04. Aphrotek – River Styx Ride (ft. Mike Ladd)
05. Interlude: Decolonize This Place (April 2018)
06. Monoculture – Movement
07. All Cows Eat Grass – Air Castle
08. Ajo – Gotta Love It
09. MTA Interlude
10. Yuno – No Going Back
11. Pete Wilde – Lucy
12. Unlikely Heroes – Tazzy
13. Vodun – Spirits Past
14. DOOKOOM – Gangstaz
15. SCARLXRD – Burns
16. DUCKWRTH – Boy
17. Interlude: Now This / Decolonize the Brooklyn Museum
18. Angelo Moore & The Brand New Step – Inner City Blues (ft. Butterscotch)
19. Baloji – Soleil de Volt (Shingai Remix)
20. Childish Gambino – This Is America
Album artwork photography by Sammy Sampson / @Sammysampsonphotography
premiere: congolese hip-hop pioneer baloji & shingai of the noisettes team up on the joyful “soleil de volt”
It’s always a good day when there’s new music from Shingai of The Noisettes, and today we’re excited to share her collaboration with the great Congolese rapper Baloji. Shingai’s remix of Baloji’s “Soleil De Volt” adds an irresistible propulsion to the song without sacrificing a single joule of energy from the original. Her distinctive voice melts over the syncopated rhythms, while small touches echo vintage house. It’s that magic collaboration that brings out the best in both artists while working towards a cohesive unity of purpose.
“I’ve been a Shingai fan for years now!” Baloji tells AFROPUNK, “I had the chance to see her live several times, she’s simply my favorite performer, showman and bassist with dexterity like none! We finally met during the Africa’s Express tour by Damon Albarn where she killed the show in a fantastic trio with Marques Toliver & Paul McCartney. She then accepted to play a role in my short film (The Kaniama Show) and we got in the studio the day after in Bruxelles: The session went extremely smooth as she’s an amazing soul! We plan to work together in the near future on more music and I’d love to direct one of her videos. I imagine that what we create will be no less than visually compelling”
If “Soleil De Volt” tells us anything, we can’t wait for what comes next.
Baloji’s latest full length 137 Avenue Kaniama is out now from Bella Union.
feel the pain of heartache in nu-soul mad scientist rosehardt’s latest visual album
“Heartache is a motherfucker”
Pacing around an empty apartment, Rosehardt spends much of the album-length video that accompanies Songs in the Key of Solitude trying and failing to get over a bad breakup. It’s a difficult and unflinching look at the cycle of getting over someone, made captivating by the depth of the production and the stunning cinematography.
“The best kind of pain is the kind you endure in the name of love”
The best moments come when Rosehardt lets himself look into the ugliest sides of a breakup with self-aware sarcasm. The self-love anthem “Wax” is absurd and frank, and its polar opposite “Come Away Death” finds the singer staring bleakly into the abyss and rolling his eyes at himself. It’s the kind of song that the tragically gone Scott Hutchinson spent a decade sharpening into daggers. “Goddamn” turns an awkward exchange with his mother about faith into unexpectedly riveting drama. His mother opens an orange with a million pounds of weight beneath it.
The album ends with the cast off shrug of “Solitude.” There’s no resolution, no big epiphany. Just life goes on, and the heartache keeps hurting. It’s refreshingly honest and simple, on an album that masks its ambition beneath a veneer of starkness.
Songs in the Key of Solitude is available digitally and on vinyl via Styles Upon Styles records.
rock out to psych garage band blac rabbit’s self-titled ep, it’s the uplift you need right now
Blac Rabbit’s self-titled EP was destined to be a soundtrack to summer. From the irresistible energy of the lead track “All Good,” to the hooks of “Over the Rainbow,” this is an album that instantly transports you to a chill afternoon with fuck-all to do. The best moments come when the garage band opens up and lets their psychedelic tendencies loose. “Mindspace” stretches 2 chords over 5 minutes creating ripples of ambiance to dive into, while closer “I Don’t Mind If You’re Around,” finds the band marrying the best of their instincts; breezy hooks on top of waves of chill. This is the uplift we’ve all been waiting for.
alt rocker tyler cole’s ‘we’re in love & the world is ending’ is the existential masterpiece the world needs
Tyler Cole’s We’re in Love & the World Is Ending is fucking rad. It’s 10 tracks of one of the best songwriters and producers to come up in the last few years stretching his arms and showing what he can do.
The conflict in the title runs through the songs which flip between love ballads and tear-down-the-system ragers. Sometimes over the course of a single track. Usually over the course of a single track. The best of them “The Government Song” and “Blow Up Your TV!” take that conflict to extremes. The world is a fucked up place and it seems to be getting more fucked by the minute, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty in it. It’s an anti-nihilist statement about finding the good in life to find the strength to fight the bad. And it doesn’t hurt that hooks are huge.
“I’m on the verge of blowing up / I’m sick of seeing Donald Trump.”
Some may come for the ballads (“Sidney Poitier” and “Next to Me”) others for the brawlers, but the songs where Cole smashes both into conflict are where the album becomes something special. The audacity of tracks like “Experimental Drugs” and “Bones Part Two” where transcendant strings waft in and out of existential crisis music is like nothing anyone else is doing right now. Look, when a Willough or a Dev Hynes guest spot isn’t even the highlight, you know you’ve got something going on. Don’t sleep on this one.