funk and hip-hop trio free dystopia got the groove to lift you out of dystopia on ‘trial & error’

I’m not sure if there’s a better band name for this moment in time than Free Dystopia. Despite the name though, the band is anything but dystopian. Their latest EP Trial & Error, is a collection of funk, hip-hop, indie rock, and a little jazz for good measure that has the power to lift you out of the darkest despair. Led by singer / bassist ARTLOVETRAP, the trio has an easy chemistry that comes off in the interplay on opener “Panties.” The interplay between the members is highlighted in the instrumental jam “The Flood,” which builds from DEMIGODQ’s simple guitar riff into a heavy crashing beat courtesy of drummer RONDON before washing away to nothing. The closing songs “Last Year” and “Liability” features ARTLOVETRAP’s best lyrics, balancing introspective musings and pleas for strength. Check out the whole EP below along with the video for “The Flood.”

this punk-rock empress shows off her bluesy roots in summertime single

Clear, sharp rasp of singer Cole William’s voice is a force to be reckoned with. Not because it’s especially loud or acrobatic, its the vulnerability and sincerity that comes through on her new single, “Free”. An indie-rock vibe heavy track that reminded me of road trips never taken. The New Orleans-based singer/songwriter/producer/composer’s eclectic ear shines through with her rootsy, blues-y melody and intoxicating down-to-Earth vibe.

“My song “Free” represents my truth and foresight. I dream vividly and these dreams always come true. This song is my message to all people and I need them to hear it and receive the vibrations. If you’ve ever felt stuck, cornered, boxed in, pushed aside, unloved, unappreciated, then it’s time to free yourself from those shackles and go deep. It took a lot of strength and knowing to leave everything in Brooklyn, literally everything. But I needed to do it to become free. I’m so free I don’t ever want to be in bondage again, and I won’t.”

Photo by Eli Merge

alt rock legend claude coleman jr of ween makes inspired noise on amandla’s latest ‘laughing hearts’

Though he’s more known as the drummer for alt rock mainstays Ween, it’s a damn shame Claude Coleman Jr’s solo project amandla doesn’t get the same attention. With bits of soul, post-punk, indie rock, and folk, Coleman’s work with amandla is inspired. The multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter turns in his most emotional set yet with the dynamic Laughing Hearts.

Kicking off with a blues riff that quickly morphs into an alt-psych jam, “Follow What Brings You” boasts the kind of haunting-but-driving melody that makes amandla something move. It’s no surprise that the record’s best moments tend to be when Coleman strikes a balance between his glacial melodies and bubbling rhythms. “Stay Awake” follows a distorted bass riff that would make Lou Barlow cry before turning into an angular jam. While “In A Lovesong” shades in a post-punk anthem with synth squiggles and a vibraphone.

The album closes with the heads-and-tails pair of “Forever For Always” and “I Get Around.” The former is a lush elegy that never builds but constantly deepens. The latter is a stripped down retro rocker that both undercuts and underscores the seriousness of “Forever For Always” with Coleman’s trademark leftfield humor. “Don’t fuck with my rock and roll.”

Check amandla out on tour this summer with Angelo Moore & The Brand New Step. Dates and cities will be announced soon. Check for more info.

celebrate the black roots & redemptive power of rock with alt rebels harville’s new track

“No T-Bone Walker
There would be no Beatles tunes”

Brooklyn’s Harville is one of the most exciting bands to come up in the past year. Their fiery blend of alt rock, soul, and hip-hop gives them a unique sound in a scene often obsessed with conforming to what’s in. Harville’s latest single “Spill” is a tribute to the power of rock to transform the world. Singer Jonathan Singletary enumerates the black roots of rock, citing a youth spent studying Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters, before getting down to the anthemic closing line: “we won’t survive these divided states.” Lots of rock bands have songs about the redemptive power of rock, but few have the sincerity or power of Harville.

send your ears into orbit with psychedelic indie band monoculture’s latest release

“Think outside your mind”

Here’s a little something to melt your ears. Monoculture’s heady mix of psychedelic, indie, jazz, and math rock ought to come with a masters in music theory. But despite the mind-altering complexity, the band keeps it grounded with a tempting groove and Olan Mijana’s plaintive vocals. And then the mathy breakdown kicks in and it all goes into orbit.

The full album ‘Blueprint for Dysfunction’ dropped today. Check it out:
Blueprint for Dysfunction by Monoculture

premiere: indie rockers le vice let their freak flag fly in their punchy new single “boys & girls”

Co-produced by Donnie Scantz, Le Vice’s latest single “BOYS & GIRLS” is an in-your-face, all-encompassing banger. Big, bright, and bold, “BOYS & GIRLS” is a playful shoulder-moving grove that has all the makings of a pool party staple and rebellious youth anthem for all the black sheep out there who just wanna have a little fun with the people who ‘get them’. Incorporating elements of rock and electro-pop, “BOYS & GIRLS” is as punchy and intoxicating as pool-side jello shoots.

“This song is like a call to all the kids (and adults) who feel just a little different than everyone else!” Le Vice tells AFROPUNK. “The bad kids who like to stay out all night and party with their friends until the sun comes out. The ones who might feel more comfortable out with their “people” than they do at home with their own family. The bohemians who think outside the box and don’t work a 9-5. The weird kids. All of us.”

premiere: alt rock trailblazer michael jablonka’s “flump” is a sugary rush

Like candy it takes its name from, London rocker Michael Jablonka’s latest single “Flump” is sugary and chewy, twisting and vibrant. “For some reason the riff reminded me of the marshmallow sweet,” Jablonka tells AFROPUNK on the stripped down dirty riff that anchors the song. It’s alt rock at its most essential, layered with a confectionery hook and a driving beat. The song is at once sludgy and sweet, and like any good candy leaves you wanting more.

Catch Michael Jablonka May 19th at the Great Escape Festival at the Queen’s Hotel in Brighton.

Photo by Latoyah Gill

dance-punk sounds fuel indie rock band bakar’s anthem “million miles”

“I can see your star in space / You’re a million miles away.”

It’s not every day you hear a song that makes you stop in your tracks and Just. Listen. But Bakar’s “Million Miles” is not every song. A hazy mix of indie rock, dance punk, and hip-hop, this is the kind of track that demands attention. With the explosive energy that fueled Bloc Party in their early days, Bakar rides a wave of angular tension that simmers into a washed-out chorus before bubbling over into a straight up dance punk beat. That’s the recipe for a straight up anthem.

premiere: portland indie rockers no kind of rider explore universes of tension in “dark ice”

It’s all about tension and texture for Portland-based indie rock band No Kind of Rider!
Their new single blends ethereal vocals and atmospheric guitars over a cutting beat, enveloping Sam Alexander’s voice in a haunting fog.
“Dark Ice” is from the band’s debut full length Savage Coast out June 2018.
Alexander describes the track, saying:

“There’s a natural tension that occurs in some relationships.  Especially where there is potential for greatness.  Breakthroughs only come during moments of struggle.  Dark Ice digs into that tension.  Sex and love and power get confused in those moments. Sometimes you know something is so right that it hurts.  You have to plead your case, you’re willing to throw yourself on the ground for it. This track has our roots woven into it.  There’s Tulsa in those guitars. There’s gospel in the bassline. The full stops and unison lines come from our soul.
This track shouldn’t exist. I mean, we put so many influences together that I’m surprised it makes sense at all. It takes so many left turns but I think that the internal tension helps support the concept of the song. We wrote this pretty early in the process of this record and it set the stage for the sound of album. A part of the energy is there because we forced ourselves to write it faster than usual. We never really took our time agreeing on how the song should sound so there’s still a lot of fight in the track.”

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.