premiere: river spirit’s unclassifiable “fall”
“Genres? Where we’re going we don’t need genres.”
Hailing from Detroit, a city where musical movements are born on the regular, River Spirit cross lines no-one else had even noticed were intersecting. Their new single “Me I Fall” bares traces of jazz-punk, Oakland Afropop, math-rock, and a little classic R&B for good measure. Jagged riffs vie for space with Vanessa Reynolds’s plaintive, expansive melodies. It’s haunting one moment, riveting the next. Basically, it’s a lot of awesomeness packed into a little over two minutes.
River Spirit (photo: Tricia Talley)
“Me I Fall” is the title track to the band’s forthcoming full length. The record has been years in the works. The band tells us that “the album explores what it means to fall apart and what can be created when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to unravel; spaces of transition, the feeling of being submerged, literally and metaphorically.”
River Spirit, ‘Me I Fall,’ image by Hillary Illyssa
Me I Fall is due out January 25th. That’s a ways out, but helpfully we’ve calculated that you can listen to “Me I Fall” roughly 69,617 times between now and then. You’ll want to.
smashing boy band cheesy codes, alt rapper jpegmafia turns backstreet boys song upside down
When R&B/Hip Hop unseated Rock and Roll as the most listened-to genre in the US at the end of 2017, the dominance and influence of Rap/Hip-Hop could no longer be ignored. Like many dominant cultures, there are artists who reside on the fringes, subverting trends and keeping to the underdog tradition of questioning the established status quo. U.S. Air Force Veteran turned Alt-rapper and producer JPEGMAFIA brings the center to the fringes with his tone-shifting flow and psychedelic subversion of traditional beats and beloved classics.
“Where MC Ren, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E mixed their politics with language that stoked the post-Reagan moral panic, JPEG-fluent in internet-native irony and bad-faith arguments-wields those tactics to serious, sometimes disarmingly earnest ends…. Entirely self-produced, Veteran is a remarkable exercise in sound and texture.” – PITCHFORK
JPEG was born in New York to Jamaican parents and currently resides in Los Angeles while building a name for himself in Baltimore/Maryland. Even with his Baltimore acclaim, he doesn’t prescribe to the growing Baltimore sound because his writing and delivery shift and adapt and breakneck speeds. In his latest offering ‘Millennium’, JPEG takes on Backstreet Boys’ classic, ‘I Want It That Way’, delivering half remix/half cover with smooth lyricism and an eclectic production. The song introduces itself as “easy listening” because of its mellow style but the add-libs and humor-laced critique speak to JPEG’s eccentric and multi-faceted approach to production.
JPEG will embark on The Reverse Christopher Columbus Tour this Fall in support of his fourth studio album Veteran. The 22-date tour will kick off on August 29th in Vancouver after he takes the stage at AFROPUNK BROOKLYN on August 25th.
premiere: afrofuturist electro-soul artist alxndr london’s “jury judge executioner” is ear melting
“Sometimes I feel like a restless volcano; hot lava forever travelling. Jury Judge Executioner is me coming face to face with an understanding, and I’m one hundred percent at peace with it.”
Alxndr London’s music exists at the intersections of acute angles. Traces of neo-soul and electrofunk blend with his Afrofuturist aesthetic. On his latest single “Jury Judge Executioner,” Alxndr London bends his sharp angles into something unexpectedly smooth. Working with producer Haich, it’s an adventurous cut from an artist who is rarely anything less than adventurous. London describes his forthcoming 2023 EP as “an allegoric story arc where religious, political, satirical, spiritual, numerological and Afrocentric themes meet fantasy and science-fiction.”
The EP drops April 23rd. See Alxndr London live in London on April 25th at Oslo (Hackney).
feel the exhilaration of noise hip-hop trio young fathers’ new album ‘cocoa sugar’
Since dropping the genre-defying Tape One in 2011, each new release from Young Fathers has pushed their sound into new uncharted territories. The Edinburgh trio can’t stand to sound like anyone else (especially not themselves) and their latest, Cocoa Sugar, is definitely unlike anything else you’ll hear today. Hip-hop beats collide with detuned synths and bursts of noise. Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and G Hastings jump between sung lines, chanted hooks, shout-alongs, and rapped verses sometimes on a single line. Cocoa Sugar is an exhilerating kind of chaos, where anything can happen, and usually does.
Though the album takes meandering turns through every sonic experiment Young Fathers can think to take, that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of hooks. Lead single “In My View” shines on an album the band has defined as their most “linear.” Take one listen and you’ll spend a week trying to get it out of your head. Elsewhere their talent for kaledoscopic lyrics that reveal unexpected depths with repeated listens. Lines like “I didn’t work this damn hard to stay where I belong” and “Don’t you turn my bright eyes blue / I’m not like you” from “Turn” make for the kind of defiant anthem that Young Father hands in like it’s nothing. There’s a liberation in their sound and lyrics that’s undeniable. Their willingness to push ideas and sounds past their limits is what makes them one of the most exciting bands out there.
Cocoa Sugar is out now on Ninja Tune.
video premiere: congolese electro collective kokoko! changes the game with rebellious “tongos’a”
Gallons of sweat pour out over hypnotic beats, while jagged post-punk guitars cut through the wash of homemade percussion and traditional Mongo patterns. Bursting out of Kinshasa, KOKOKO! take DIY to new heights. Their latest single “Tongos’a” captures the collective’s rebellious sound with visuals that blend a thousand influences into one captivating piece. If you’re not sweating yourself by the end of it, you need to watch it again.
Directed by débruit, Markus Hofko, Renaud Barret
DOP: Renaud Barret
Edit and VFX: Markus Hofko
Stream it on Spotify here:
Photos by Renaud Barret
french disco punk collective 10lec6 takes it to a whole other plane with ‘bone bame’
Calling their style Bulupunk, the French disco punk collective mixes dance beats, experimental electronica, hardcore punk, and Cameroonian music on their debut record. It’s an exhilerating mix that 10LEC6 pulls off like it’s nothing. (Their name is pronounced dix – lec – six in French to sound like “dyslexics” in English, which to a bi-lingual dyslexic like me is just ow my fucking brain… Though bonus points for a good multi-lingual pun.) Singer Nicole sings, raps, and shouts in her native Bulu over rhythms that demand your attention on the dance floor. Highlights like “Ayong Ya Yop” merge the bands billion sonic roots seamlessly, while they find life on the hardcore classic “Augusta.”
Bone Bame drops March 9th on Ed Banger. Meanwhile, check out their debut single “Bejdem Mebok” and their documentary short. If this doesn’t fuck your head up right, you’re not playing it loud enough.
premiere: destroy white supremacy with experimental duo divide and dissolve’s “abomination”
Divide and Dissolve are a two-piece who “create music designed to decolonize, dismantle white supremacy and empower people of color & Indigenous people the world over.” Comprised of Takiaya Reed on saxophone and guitar and Sylvie Nehill on drums, the duo experiments with heavy sounds and pure instrumentals to aggressively combat the colonization of our minds.
Their latest album, Abomination, draws ancestral inspiration throughout its eight tracks. “The album exists as a platform to transform the experience of space and time, to divide and to dissolve white supremacy, to decolonize, to fight for Indigenous Sovereignty which has never been ceded,” the duo says. It’s title track is a culmination of this mission.
“We exist in this world under vile and shameful conditions. A world in which some have the option to ignore the intensity of the colonising state,” the band explains. “One in which some of us are given the opportunity to navigate effortlessly and others with copious amounts of resistance.”
Take a listen to “Abomination” below!:
You catch them on tour on the following dates and cities:
2.15- Port Townsend, WA
2.16 – Olympia, WA – Le Voyeur
2.17 – Portland, OR Blackwater
2.21 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue w/ Polica
2.22 Chicago, IL Thalia Hall w/ Polica
2.23 Columbus, Ohio
2.25 Boston, MA
2.26 New York City, NY Silent Barn
2.27 Philadelphia, PA Century
2.28 Washington D.C
3.1 Baltimore, MD
3.2 Richmond, VA Florarva
3.5 Savannah, GA Quo Lab
3.7 New Orleans Mudlark Theatre
3.23 Oakland, CA Lucky Duck
3.25 Eugene, OR Old St. Nicks Bar
3.26- Seattle, WA
3.27- Vancouver, BC The Astoria
this all female-compilation of south african alternative and experimental music is what your ears need right now
Xannthe Cupido’s Subterranean Wavelength is quickly gaining a reputation as a home for underground music that seeks to actively break boundaries. Their latest project is a 10 track compilation that gathers together a collective of female artists from across South Africa. Tides offers a wave of talent ranging from dreamy indie pop to experimental hip-hop, folk-inflected soul to electronica, and it is so future looking the qualifiers to describe it haven’t been invented yet.
Like the best compilations, there’s a little something for everyone. Highlights like Umaah Screaming Sun’s “Wind Whistle,” Kajama’s “What We Came For,” Marley Bloo’s “Mimes,” and of course compilation curator Tribal Rebel Ludi’s own contribution “Luminance,” deftly balance the past and future. They pull inspiration equally from ancient traditions and the sharpest bleeding edge of the underground. The infinite possibilities of a laptop are anchored by the weight of history in a way that’s at once grounded and exhileratingly free. But if your interests range more towards the poppy with the experimentation kept as color, Floors’ “Leap” and “Family Tree” from Symphonica offer a lot to love.
Xanthe explained in a statement to OkayAfrica: “In a nutshell the project is a celebration of women who engage in the more left-field soundscapes in South Africa. The idea was also to highlight the presence of such women and that incredible things can be achieved with the absence of masculinity. The concept of “Tides” speaks directly to the notion of going through different motions of being a woman. It speaks of music (sound waves) , turbulence, consistency as well as the highs and lows of consciousness.”
explore the intricacies of black queer love and romance with south african duo faka’s ep ‘amaqhawe’
The South African duo FAKA is more than just a collective of performance artists, it is a cultural movement. This is the reminder on the group’s website, which tells of how they were formed in 2015 with a mission of expressing the experience of living in “black queer bodies navigating the cis-hetero-topia of post-colonial Africa,” which has since expanded beyond themselves.
But perform they do, and they do it well. Their latest EP, Amaqhawe, is the second in a trilogy of music offerings delving into the intricacies of Black queer love. Like everything the group tackles, their music goes beyond the expected, taking on not just romantic love, but self-love, unrequited love, childhood love and transactional love.
“Making this was a new experience for us. It was our first time collaborating with other minds on the production and it lead us to a space where we had more freedom to focus on the narrative of the EP,” FAKA explains. “We were deeply inspired by Gqom and that influenced a lot of elements, especially our storytelling style.”
Check out the groundbreaking EP below!
sail away on electro-soul artist alxndr london ethereal ep ‘today’
Kalimbas collide with jazz piano, electric percussion, beneath and ethereal ambiance before Alxndr London’s haunting tenor comes into focus. London’s music takes pieces of sound from across the African Diaspora and melds them into something beautiful, soulful, and deeply original on his latest EP Today. Highlights like “Kraken” and “Circus Of Mermaids” imagine dreams of oceans and mythical beasts. The production is dreamlike and magical; if Mermaids exist, this is probably the music they make while Krakens dance in the distance. “April” keeps the production grounded in the now with glitched out percussion and modern synths bursting out of the mythological seashore. Alxndr London’s latest EP is a dream half-remembered of a place that may never have existed, but somehow you can’t stop thinking about it.