uk singer farai pops open some “punk champagne”

Fuck that pink champagne— we want the punk champagne.

This rad new track from Farai “Bukowski-Bouquet” is a defiant kiss off to the “poor rich girls” and “poor rich boys” all “drowning in First World problems.” The Zimbabwe-born, London-based singer/rapper mixes post-punk, grime, and hip-hop for a sound that’s simultaneously ferocious and jubilant — which is fitting for an artist whose name literally means “joy” in Shona. Joined on the project by producer TONE, with whom she bonded over their shared pan-African heritage (he’s Afro-Guyanese and Welsh), Farai creates a cocktail of punk directness and flourishes of soulful warmth.  “It’s time for the bright young things to rise,” she sings early in the song. Damn right. It’s time for y’all to rise.

Farai’s fierce full-length debut, Rebirth, is out on Big Dada Records on November 30th. 

ganser’s “pastel” is a shot of pure post-punk ice

Building from a tenuous groove to a full on jagged freakout, the lates single from Chicago post-punk quartet Ganser is a killer. Singer and bassist Alicia Gaines’ vocals are sharpened icicles, all biting sarcasm and cold-eyed cast-off, while Charlie Landsman’s guitar sounds exploding shrapnel. The band is as tight and focused as ever, constantly threatening to veer into pure noise but never losing that driving, insistent pulse. Winter is coming, and “Pastel” is exactly the kind of shot of sonic freeze that you need to face the cold cold world.

Pastel by Ganser

samurai shotgun’s white supremacy clapback

Rise up for what’s right!

Every new release from Tampa’s Samurai Shotgun is like a mini revolution. Their latest single, “Eye See Red,” is a powder keg of punk rock and hip-hop. Frontman Mateo shreds the notion of civility with a call to “clap back tenfold” at white supremacy. DJ Qeys continues to bring some of the best scratch work to ever share the stage with a distorted guitar, while the rhythm section keeps it anchored. “Eye See Red” is practically a manifesto. This is the shit you march in the streets shouting.

Eye See Red by SAMURAI SHOTGUN

If you missed Samurai Shotgun at this weekend’s AFROPUNK Fest in Atlanta, here’s where you can see them next.

shirley tetteh’s nardeydey mixes alt-pop and post-punk

Even among all the young talents on the rise from London’s incredible new jazz scene, Shirley Tetteh stands out as a true don. She is a guitarist of high renown, and a key member of the spiritual-jazz big-band Maisha and the all-star, all-women’s ensemble, Nejira. But on “Speedial,” her first single under the name Nardeydey, Tetteh also reveals herself a fabulous alternative pop singer-songwriter.

Speedial by Nardeydey

Though Tetteh says “Speedial” is under the influence of jazz progressives like Ornette Coleman and Kurt Rosenweinkel, it could not be easier on the ears if it tried. Over an inviting mix of rolling percussion, and a guitar riff detuned and jagged enough to be classified post-punk yet melodic enough to be full of Afro-pop sweetness, Tetteh addresses a partner not sitting in front of her: “I wish I had you on the speedial/just press a button and your person appears,” she sings as matter-of-factly as you like, intimating a complex modern relationship.

Yet by the time we reach the chorus, and Tetteh’s voice ascends to a strong insistent falsetto, and the vibe has become more passionate and elemental. “So I’ll sing to thunder/dance my rain/I will sleep with the fire,” she sings — before returning to her phone, “don’t wait for me.”

It’s a masterful turn-of-perspective, one that the songwriter and singer pulls off with comfort. And it makes us very excited to hear more. With all the other stuff Shirley Tetteh has got going on — both Maisha and Nejira also have albums scheduled for 2018 — it’s fascinating to wonder what the rest of the Nardeydey project will sound like.

blxpltn’s “no english” is a call to action

If you don’t know by now, BLXPLTN is straight-up one of the fiercest punk bands out there in 2018. Their razor-edged social commentary and high energy performances are a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. It’s been two years since the duo’s prophetic album, New York Fascist Week, and the time has only sharpened their resolve.

TaSzlin, Javelin and Jeremy’s latest single and video, the focused and ferocious “No English,” takes aim at the language of colonialism. Shots of a man fleeing ICE jut through, as the band is seen tearing up the song in a dark field. It’s a visceral and powerful call to action, not to mention one of the best songs the Austin punks have put out over the course of their five-year run.

BLXPLTN will be taking the stage at AFROPUNK’s Carnival of Consciousness in Atlanta, on October 13th. You won’t want to miss it.

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.

afropunk mixtape #045 goes hard for summer’s end

It’s been one hell of a summer; record-breaking heat waves, the death of a Queen, But it’s also been a summer full of boundary-pushing music and radical movements. Oh and the epic AFROPUNK Festival in Brooklyn. This month’s mixtape is a celebration of liberation, featuring new music from Black Pantera, Roses Gabor, Bobby Sessions, and more. Play it loud and be as free as you wanna be.

01. Thutmose and NoMBe – Run Wild
02. Bobby Sessions – Unchained! (feat. Zyah)
03. Denzel Curry – Black Metal Terrorist
04. Danny Denial – Crises
05. Monster on the Horizon – Mr. Scary
06. Interlude: James Baldwin
07. Cedric Burnside – We Made It
08. Gabrielle Sey – Break My Silence
09. Pleasure Venom – These Days
10. Interlude: Aretha Franklin (1968)
11. Tika – Get Up
12. Roses Gabor – Illusions (feat. Sampha)
13. H.E.R. – Lost Souls
14. Nickel&Rose – Americana
15. Jacob Banks – Chainsmoking
16. Black Pantera – Punk Rock N*gga Roll

 

 

Cover photo by Mel D. Cole shot at AFROPUNK Brooklyn

unleash your inner rebel with brazil’s black pantera

Since their first singles, Brazilian metal trio Black Pantera has cemented themselves as one of the most vital heavy groups out there. With outspoken social criticism and fiery sound that bridges the gap between punk and metal, the short of it is: if you’re not listening to Black Pantera, why even bother having ears?
Their latest single is a blistering anthem of defiance destined to become an AFROPUNK staple. “Punk Rock Nigga Roll” was timed to release with their appearance at this weekend’s AFROPUNK fest in Brooklyn, and it’s the perfect encapsulation of what they do. It’s explosive, inventive, and it’s as much as a celebration as it is a call to rebel.

video premiere: “culture vultures” are hit hard in blues rockers black joe lewis & the honeybears’ latest

Raw and direct, the new track from Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears takes aim at culture vultures. “Culture Vulture” adds some stripped down cowpunk to the band’s palette of throwback blues and R&B, while Lewis delivers some of his most pointed lyrics to date. “Culture Vulture” is sharp as knives.

“Culture Vulture is a song about those who consume everything from the masses to create their identity while thinking it’s their own culture and influence that is under attack from others they perceive as different,” Joe Lewis tells AFROPUNK. “They think some kind of urban revolution is needed to preserve what’s theirs. Which allows the Powers that be to play off their fear mongering and watch the world burn. ‘That’s porno for the agency.’”

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears’ latest record, The Difference Between Me & You drops September 7th. Pre-order it here.

premiere: light, darkness, sex & death permeate punk rockers pleasure venom’s visceral video for “these days”

Pleasure Venom frontwoman Audrey Campbell is known as much for her singing as for her music videos, so it’s no surprise that the latest single from the band is ambitious as all getout. It’s a dual format video for “These Days,” first as a traditional video and second in 360 degree stereoscopic VR. The traditional format finds the band performing in an empty field with gas cans burning, interspersed with riot footage and vintage Soul Train dance clips. It’s a jarring series of contrasts, that heightens the tension at the heart of Pleasure Venom’s music. Flash cuts highlight the tension between celebration and rage.

The VR version is a profound technical achievement, though it scales back the ambitious imagery and editing by nature of the format. With a camera placed in the middle of the field, band members swirl around you. You control the camera as Campbell moves throughout the rest of the band. It’s visceral in a different way than the heightened editing of the traditional version; instead of being presented with a series of radical contrasts, you’re in charge of your experience. Though I wasn’t able to view it on a VR device (the only phones I will use are made by Nokia, are indestructible, and come with snake. End of story.), even on a laptop screen there’s something unexpectedly exciting about playing the role of camera person in a video. It’s immersive in a way that’s entirely unique.

For Audrey Campbell, those contrasts are the heart of the song: “When I wrote the song, I was feeling very great and very shit at the same time. I wanted to play with that paranoiac state visually and see what happened. At the time I was falling for someone, which always feels amazing, yet I was also coming out of a pretty dark time and situation. I consider it a study on light and dark, sex and death. Fire and more fire. Beautiful and ugly shit. The contrast of isolating ourselves and putting on your finest coat to dance on a car and just let loose and push through the bullshit, but the feeling of sugarcoating things should be evident. It’s a lot more colorful and fun to look at than anything I’ve done so far, yet my politics always tend to seep through. I’m hoping the tiki torch in the beginning will not go over everyone’s heads. That “Alt-Right” march was so ridiculous. Can’t believe this is what we have come to.”

Check out the traditional cut above and the VR version below.

Photo by Victoria Renard