Hip Hop Music

Song of the Day (BLM): Fugees – Zealots

Day 8. I actually wanted to choose a different Fugees song for this, Rumble In The Jungle (feat. A Tribe Called Quest & Busta Rhymes), but it isn’t actually available on Spotify & I feel that the blogposts & the Spotify playlist are intrinsically linked.

Instead, I have chosen the song Zealots, which is easily my favourite tune from Fugees critically & commercially massive 1996 album, The Score. Every MC on this track gives top tier performances but my MVP would have to be Lauryn Hill. Her verse is ridiculous, her rhyme scheme is incredibly sophisticated & complex.

I haunt MCs like Mephistopheles, bringing swords of Damocles
Secret service keep a close watch as if my name was Kennedy
Abstract raps simple with a street format
Gaze into the sky and measure planets by parallax
Check out the retrograde motion, kill the notion
Of biting and recycling and calling it your own creation
I feel like Rockwell, somebody’s watching me
I got no privacy whether on land or at sea
And for you biting zealots, your raps are cacophonic
Hypocrite, critic, but deep inside you wish you had the pop hit
It hurts don’t it, a refugee come to your turf
And take over the earth

See my rhymes, are the type of fly rhymes
That can only get down with my crew
And if you try, to take lines or bite rhymes
We’ll show you how the refugees do

Yeah, yeah behold, as my odes, manifold on your rhymes
Two MCs can’t occupy the same space at the same time
It’s against the laws of physics
So weep as your sweet dreams break up like Eurythmics
Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectile
Whether Jew or gentile, I rank top percentile
Many styles, more powerful than gamma rays
My grammar pays, like Carlos Santana plays “Black Magic Woman”
So while you fuming, I’m consuming mango juice under Polaris
You just embarrassed cause it’s your last tango in Paris

And even after all my logic and my theory
I add a “Motherfucker” so you ignant niggas hear me
Crew remember take notes, as I sow my rap oats
And for you biting zealots, here’s a quote

Another MC lose his life tonight, Lord
I beg that you pray to Jesus Christ, why
Oh Lord, father don’t let him bury me, whoa

You can try but you can’t divide the tribe
These cats can’t rap, mister author I feel no Vibe
The magazine says the girl should have went solo
The guys should stop rapping – vanish like Menudo
Took it to the heart, but every actor plays his part
As long as someone was listening, I knew it was a start
For me to get my chance, grab my pen and revamp
Do a cameo while everybody do the dance
Quick now, cause you running out of luck-a
Playing Mr. Big, I’m gonna get you sucka
While you munching at your luncheon
I’ll be planning your assassination, then hit you like the Dutchman

I compress sound sets with my rap DBX
Then drop vocals on my 456 Ampex
Bring terror to the shop of horror
As she cry, “mi amor, ” the phantom dies in the opera
And to the younguns who carry gadgets
And kill six days a week, then rest on the Sabbath
Violence ain’t necessary, unless you provoke me
Then get buried like the great Mussolini
And for you biting zealots, your rap styles are relics
No matter who you damage, you’re still a false prophet

As a bonus, here’s the excellent Rumble In The Jungle (feat. A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes & Forte):

Looking for some fantastic music to listen to? Why not check out the Song of the Day (BLM) Spotify playlis?

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Indie Rock Music Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: Mercury Rev – Yerself Is Steam

Someone in a Facebook group asked today for recommendations of artists & albums a little like The Flaming Lips. I suggested Mercury Rev as I feel that they have material which is similar in style & intensity to each phase of The Flaming Lips discography. I think the poster was more interested in the more melancholic, Psyche Pop of the Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots-era but thought they may be interested to hear two songs which almost serve as polar opposites within the Mercury Rev discography: Chasing A Bee & Goddess On A HiWay.

Another reason I thought it would be interesting to suggest Mercury Rev to this Facebook user is that the two bands are very closely linked, sharing personnel at various parts of their careers. Mercury Rev frontman Jonathan Donahue played guitar with The Flaming Lips for around two years, appearing on the albums In a Priest Driven Ambulance and Hit to Death in the Future Head.

Chasing A Bee is the opening track from Mercury Rev’s gnarly, noisy debut album, Yerself Is Steam. It’s maybe not fair to refer to it as ‘overlooked’ per se, but I definitely feel that it deserves a higher place in the pantheon of great Indie Rock albums which we revere to this day. On one level, Chasing A Bee is a chaotic & furious assault of brutal guitar noise but, on another level, it is melodic Psyche Pop based around the hypnotically childlike melodies you’d expect from Syd Barrett or Ringo Starr. The juxtaposition between these elements is a surprisingly apt way of musically charting the experience of Psychedelic drugs. There are moments of elation & moments of horror. There are segues between the melodic Pop & harsh noise that feel like that moment when a bad trip turns into a good trip.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to describe the music of bands like Mercury Rev & The Flaming Lips in terms of psychedelic drug experiences. The Flaming Lips named one of their own compilations Finally the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid. I think the title of this Flaming Lips compilation is an excellent description of the early Mercury Rev sound.

From Chasing A Bee, Yerself Is Steam wonders into faster, upbeat territory with Syringe Mouth, a terrifying Glam Punk stomper with shrieking backing vocals & twisted gnarly guitar patterns & feedback snaking between breakneck mechanical rhythms. This is very similar to very early Flaming Lips.

Coney Island Cyclone tones down the speed, emphasises the melodies & keeps the feedback & amp noise levels very high. This is the kind of thing which could’ve seen some chart success if it was marketed properly (& the abrupt fade out at the end was less abrupt).

Blue And Black starts with David Baker’s sinister monotone vocals following narcotically deranged nursery rhyme melodies & technicolour self harmonies. The music remains restrained for much of the first half, but you can feel the simmering menace of the creepy melodies & building noisescape. Something like a revving chainsaw appears around the 3-minute mark, threatening to send the song tumbling into a violent noise storm which it never quite does. The implicit threat of chaotic noise is almost Lovecraftian. The evil glimpsed in the shadows, or just missed, is far more psychologically terrifying than even the most well rendered CGI monsters.

Sweet Oddysee Of A Cancer Cell T’ Th’ Center Of Yer Heart is another epic Psych Rock noise fest in the vein of Chasing A Bee. This one however, is built around Johnathan Donahue’s falsetto melodies & almost Prog-ilike percussion elements. This is cinematic in scale in a way that much of their later music doesn’t quite reach. With it’s repetitive explorations of chord structures & explosions of guitar noise this could well be seen as a foundation stone, alongside Kentucky weirdos Slint, of the genre which would eventually become known as Post Rock.

Frittering, another long, cinematic jam, fades in over some clean, acoustic guitars that sound completely alien in the sonic landscape this album has painted thus far. Reverb-soaked vocals sound like they’re coming from miles away & melodic lead guitars start to appear like anarchic butterflies (or bees) frittering around the psychedelic landscape. There’s a big payoff at around 2:30, when the percussion drops in & the noisier guitars overtake the pleasant acoustic strumming in volume. From that point on, the melodic vocals are buried in a shoegazey mess of pedal noise & amp feedback. Different melodic elements surface occasionally through the melancholic murk.

Continuous Trucks And Thunder Under A Mothers Smile is a noisy skit. A blast of semaphoric bleeping, distorted radio chatter & furious guitar riffing. At 44 seconds, it’s over before you’ve properly heard it & we’re into the epic 12 minute finale.

Very Sleepy Rivers is doomy, sinister noise track. Built around hypnotically simple rhythms & melodies, it’s said to be about a serial killer, the rivers a metaphor for the calm of a serial killer & their tendency to snap, on a moments notice, into brutal, bloody violence. There’s an ebb & flow quality to Very Sleepy Rivers, which plays beautifully into the thematic imagery of rivers.

The band released a single, Car Wash Hair, which didn’t appear on the original release of this album. It was included on later reissues & on a second disc that was bundled with international releases, entitled Lego My Ego (which is available as a separate album on Spotify etc.). I’m going to include the video for Car Wash Hair here, as I feel it acts as a kind of “missing link” between the noisy, art Rock of Yerself Is Steam & the cinematic, Psyche Pop of later albums like Deserters Songs.

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Indie Compilations & Label Samplers Indie Rock Music

Terminal Sales Vol. 1: Songbook of Songs – a Sub Pop sampler

So here we go again with another excellent Indie compilation. And another sampler from the Sub Pop label. This time we’re looking at the 2005 Terminal Sales Vol.1: Songbook Of Songs, the first of 5 volumes. By the vagaries of eCommerce, I am currently in possession of Vol.1, 2 & 4 of the series. Vol. 3 & 5, I have found, though they are prohibitively expensive at this time. If you want to buy them for me, or have a copy you’d like to send me, then please get in touch. I know you won’t but I thought it’d provide you, my reader, with a little chuckle in these dark times. “He expects me to what?” I’m sure you’d be in hysterics at my baldfaced cheek if I hadn’t gone on to invalidate & ruin the joke (or is it a prank?) by explaining it to you. For this I apologise.

Opening up, we have the excellent Garage Rock shenanigans of The Constantines, who we also saw on 2004’s Patient Zero. Working Full Time ticks all of the boxes of the early ’00’s Garage Rock revival, therefore maybe arriving a year or two late. I can definitely picture them sharing a bill with the likes of The Hives & The Datsuns. Rocking those ’03 summer festivals.

A Frames, a Punk band named after an advertising board, contribute Galena, a spiky, aggressive slice of late ’70’s style Punk which totters on the precipice of Post Punk. You’d expect to find it on compilation devoted to either genre, to be fair.


Portland, Oregon’s Sleater-Kinney (named after a freeway exit road in Washington State) lay down their trademark brand of patrician Punk Rock. All angular Post-Punk rhythms, noise rock guitars & soaring Grunge choruses, Entertain is accomplished & exciting. They should have been way, way bigger than they were.

California by Low is sunny (as you’d guess from the title), upbeat Indie Pop. A minimal arrangement with diabetes inducing melodic sweetness & warm pleasing vocal harmonies. Ticks all the right boxes for an Indie band bothering the charts in the early to mid ’00’s. It’s a wonder it was never used on an advert.

Fruit Bats Lives Of Crime is artful, minimal Pop Rock. I was surprised to find that they’re from Chicago as I thought they dripped with hipster, New York coolness & artfulness. Some of their chord changes & key changes swerve across the alternative music freeway & into the Prog lane. These moments of uncertainty give this tune a character & identity I struggle to put my finger on.

Love As Laughter

Dirty Lives by Love As Laughter is a more Pop orientated affair than their usual brand of abrasive, lo-fi Rock and Roll. It wallow’s in the kind of seedy American background class that drinks beer from a cooler box in an after hours gas station. The kind of working class sleaze that unites such diverse bands as Silver Jews & Suede. Bet that’s a pair of bands you hadn’t expected to see in the same sentence. Love As Laughter populate this realm with a Glam Rock swagger which wasn’t too fashionable in 2005. Nether the less, it was novel & welcome.

Kinski take us back to the realm of the Garage Rock revival with The Wives Of Artie Shaw. Artistic, noisy & just on the Punk side of things, Kinski aren’t dissimilar to another Sub Pop band I’ve recently rediscovered & fallen in love with, Comets On Fire.

Italian Psych Rockers Jennifer Gentle are as indebted to the sonic textures of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd as you’d expect from their name. Even the cod-English accent (& language come to think of it) suggests a musical anglophilia which is typical of my only experience of Italy. My band were invited to play at a British Beer Festival in Ferrara. The man who ran the festival also runs a British themed bar in the town, complete with Carnaby Street & London Underground signs. I Do Dream you is ridiculously Barrett-esque, even down to the swirling Hammond Organ & busted up vintage amp sounds.

Austrian Hippy Folkster, Kelley Stoltz, delivers some fuzzy, lo-fi Indie Rock with a similar New York, hipster vibe as the Fruit Bats tune mentioned above. Some energetic piano playing gives it a smokey barroom vibe, an Indie Rock drinking song.

Wolf Parade, with You Are A Runner, And I Am My Fathers Son, is the stuttering, lo-fi Post Punk sound of the band at the beginning of a long career. Percussion is the key here & the song’s unusual rhythm’s are as unsettling as they are hypnotic.

Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen, also at the beginning of a long & successful career, delivers the characteristic upbeat, lo-fi Pop which he’s famous for this day. Completely off kilter, Clinically Dead is an absolutely amazing piece of music which heralded what was to come beautifully. As well as being a musician, VanGaalen is multitalented & is also extremely proficient as a visual artist & animator. His production skills are also in high demand & at least a couple of albums in my collection were recorded by him in his studio.

Pretty Dress by Rosie Thomas is wonderfully anthemic but dark Folk Pop. This is probably the cleanest, most “commercial” song on this album & I would expect to hear it on everything either gritty BBC dramas or gritty Scandinavian Noir dramas.

Holopaw’s Curious is lo-fi, experimental Indie Pop music with one of the most unusual sonic palates here. Opening with a straighforward, clean acoustic guitar, it builds & morphs into an unusual soundscape of synthesisers, oboe’s and stuttering rhythms. This sounds way ahead of it’s time. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this as a new song coming out tomorrow.

The Postal Service

Be Still My Heart (Nobody Remix) is the kind of falsetto voiced, metronomic Psychedelia I love bands like The Flaming Lips for. At once futuristic sounding & nostalgically retro, The Postal Service are a unique band with a unique sound which I will definitely be exploring in greater detail going forwards.

Iron & Wine’s Woman King is rhythmically propelled, downtempo Folk with a fuzzy, bluesy vibe. There’s a mantra-like quality to it. An almost hypnotic invasiveness. You’ll be whistling or humming Woman King well into the following day after listening to it.

The Baptist Generals keep the dark Folky vibes going Under A Cloud. The most melancholic sounding tune here. & probably the most minimal in sound palate. We’re treated to a raw, stripped back performance consisting of just fuzzy guitar & voice. Other instruments are overdubbed onto it in the second half of the song but the minimal feel remains, even when it’s wrapped in soft tones of violins & basses.


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Indie Rock Music Rock

Manic Street Preachers – Roses In The Hospital demo

If only I’d waited until today for the blogpost about Manic Street Preachers demos I would have been able to include this excellent version of Roses In The Hospital.

This one is definitely a pale imitation of the finished product which appeared on the album. It’s too bouncy & upbeat compared to the beautiful anthemic melancholia of the album version. & is that the guitar riff from album track Yourself used as a bridge on this version? Interesting how they removed one riff from this demo & developed it into a totally new song.

Despite my above criticisms I still love this. It’s great. I love how, as also mentioned above, it provides a window into the bands songwriting process. The idea that they may have decided that Roses In The Hospital had to many great melodies in it so why not write a whole new track out of one of them.

There doesn’t seem to be an upload to YouTube of this tune yet though it is available on Spotify etc.

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Hip Hop Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (BLM): Public Enemy – Fight The Power

Day 5. Conscious, paramilitary, civil rights orientated Hip-Hop legends, Public Enemy smashed it in this video for their 1989 resistance anthem, Fight The Power. Chuck D was one of the loudest, clearest voices for civil rights & community togetherness from the beginnings of Public Enemy up until the present day.

Earlier this year Chuck D & Flavor Flav (Public Enemy’s flamboyant hype man & occasional vocalist) had a huge public falling out over politics, specifically over former Democratic progressive candidate Bernie Sanders & hard-right, authoritarian, impeached Republican president, Donald Trump.

Spike Lee produced and directed two music videos for this song. The first featured clips of various scenes from Do the Right Thing. In the second video, Lee used hundreds of extras to simulate a massive political rally in Brooklyn. The extras carry signs featuring Paul Robeson, Marcus Garvey, Chuck Berry and Martin Luther King Jr. Tawana Brawley made a cameo appearance. Brawley gained national notoriety in 1987 when, at the age of 15, she accused several police officers and public officials from Wappingers Falls, New York of raping her. The charge was rejected in court, and she instead was sued for supposedly fabricating her story. Jermaine Dupri also made a cameo.


Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight 
As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight

1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart ’cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you’re missing y’all
Swinging while I’m singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweatin’
And the rhythm rhymes rollin’
Got to give us what we want (uh)
Gotta give us what we need (hey)
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you’ve realized the pride’s arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothing’s strange
People, people we are the same
No we’re not the same
‘Cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved let’s get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
To make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

Elvis was a hero to most but he
Elvis was a hero to most
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
‘Cause I’m Black and I’m proud
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years if you check
Don’t worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) let’s get this party started right
Right on, c’mon
What we got to say (yeah)
Power to the people no delay
Make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (yeah, yeah, yeah)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (come on)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (yeah, yeah, yeah)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (come on)

Yo check this out man
OK talk to me about the future of Public Enemy
The future of Public Enemy gotta

Looking for some great music to listen to? Check out the Song of the Day (BLM) Spotify playlist.

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Indie Rock Music Rock

Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against The Soul & Drug Drug Druggy demo recordings

Over the last couple of weeks Manic Street Preachers, gearing up for the release of the long awaited Deluxe Edition of unloved classic Gold Against The Soul, have release two previously unreleased demo recordings as singles/teasers.

The first of these was the albums title track, Gold Against The Soul. The punkier, more lo-fi production shows the song in a whole new light. Stripped of it’s studio rock sheen, Gold Against The Soul is revealed as downtempo, polemic Rock with an, almost robotic, drum machine feel to the rhythm.

Drug Drug Druggy is often seen as a bit of a throwaway. An upbeat rocker about addiction & depression. They rarely play it live & the title is slightly in ‘cringe’ territory. The fidelity drop brings out different instruments to the album version. There’s a very nice organ part playing beneath everything else which I couldn’t swear, one way or the other, is on the original version. Multitalented multi-instrumentalist James Dean Bradfield shines magnificently here. His voice sounds incredible, the rhythm guitar is choppy & precise, & the lead guitars are as good as any that he’s played before.

As a bonus they have also uploaded this Top Of The Pops performance of their single Roses In The Hospital. Fun trivia: that isn’t Nicky Wire miming the bass. He had just got married & was un honeymoon, forcing him to miss the TOTP performance. To replace him they gave their tallest roadie a Minnie Mouse mask & asked him to mime along. Everything in a TOTP performance, bar the vocal, is mimed anyway so it made no difference. Manic Street Preachers lore is awash with such incidents. As a teenager I used to have abootleg VHS cassette which featured all of the bands TOTP performances so I had seen this before.

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Blues Music

Song of the Day (BLM): Robert Johnson – Come On In My Kitchen

Day 4. Legendary guitarist & blues singer Robert Johnson is the main protagonist of one of the most enduring legends in American mythology. The tale goes that he met The Devil at a crossroads at midnight. He handed The Devil his guitar & The Devil tuned it for him. From that day forth, the guitar would stay magically in tune & Johnson’s guitar playing would be almost supernatural in ability. Various myths tell of how he was a terrible guitar player who the other blues singers laughed at. He went away & came back with amazing ability. His death, at the age of 27, is thought to have been him paying the price of his faustian Deal.

I have chosen Come On In My Kitchen for no other reason than it is my favourite Robert Johnson song. If you haven’t heard it before, you should definitely give it a listen. There’s a strong argument to be made for Robert Johnson & his contemporaries being the fathers of pretty much all modern music.


You better come on in my kitchen
Well, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors
Ah, the woman I love, took from my best friend
Some joker got lucky, stole her back again
You better come on in my kitchen
It’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

Oh, she’s gone, I know she won’t come back
I’ve taken the last nickel out of her nation sack
You better come on in my kitchen
It’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors
Oh, can’t you hear that wind howl?
Oh, can’t you hear that wind would howl?
You better come on in my kitchen
Well, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

When a woman gets in trouble, everybody throws her down

Lookin’ for her good friend, none can be found
You better come on in my kitchenBabe, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors
Wintertime’s comin’, it’s gon’ be slow
You can’t make the winter, babe, that’s dry, long, so
You better come on in my kitchen, ’cause it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

Want to listen to some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (BLM) playlist on Spotify.

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Indie Rock Music Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: Two Dollar Guitar – Weak Beats And Lame-Ass Rhymes

I think Spotify has recommended Two Dollar Guitar for me because Steve Shelley, drummer from Sonic Youth, is their drummer. I’m not 100% sure how their recommendation algorithms work, but it has previously recommended another act to me, Spectre Folk, which also features Steve Shelley. Of course it could be due to the genre too. Two Dollar Guitar are a lo-fi Indie Rock band with a melancholic, poetic vibe. Very much my cup of tea.

Weak Beats And Lame-Ass Rhymes has a gloomy, faded glamour to it. Country -Rock singer-songwriter vibes juxtaposed with urban, New York decay. Nels Cline, ambient experimental guitar guru & Wilco member, guests on opening track, Solitaire. Other tracks, like Kilroy, have an upbeat bounciness to them, emanating from the superb rhythm section consisting of the aforementioned Steve Shelley & ex-Cell bassist David Motamed. Singer Tim Foljhan’s romantically depressed drawl over these bouncy, upbeat rhythms calls to mind something like People by Silver Jews. In fact the Silver Jews comparisons are quite apt for much of the album. Especially the more melancholic, Country-tinged tracks.

Guest female vocalists Janet Wygal, Christina Rosenvinge & Carla Bozulich add a sweeter, softer atmosphere which takes the edge off of the existential angst apparent on several of the songs, including the Berman-esque Green Room.

Personal highlight for me is 7-minute sad slacker ballad Wilding. It opens with the sound of drizzly, urban rain & a slow, plodding bass line. Foljhan’s vice sounds absolutely crushed & depressed. A bleak & mournful monotone which I find strangely comforting. A spoken word section only heightens the menacing vibes. The song fades out to the same drizzly rain effects but with the sounds of distant thunder creeping in.

If you’re able to withstand a healthy dose of melancholia or, better still, find it as comforting as I do, then you should definitely check out Weak Beats And Lame-Ass Rhymes. The excellent musicianship also makes this essential listening for most Indie Rock fans.

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Hip Hop Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (BLM): A Tribe Called Quest – We The People

Day 3. Okay, maybe I’d rather choose an older, classic Tribe tune but We The People is definitely the most relevant one to share right now. Released a mere week after the election of impeached president Donald Trump, We The People is concerned directly with the wave of populist nationalism, racism & intolerance that was sweeping the US at that time. The video is also very timely, dealing with police intimidation & violence against black people.

We The People was also one of the final verse Phife Dawg recorded before his untimely & tragic death in 2016. RIP Phife Dawg.

We don’t believe you ’cause we the people
Are still here in the rear, ayo, we don’t need you
You in the killing-off-good-young-ni**** mood
When we get hungry we eat the same fucking food
The ramen noodle
Your simple voodoo is so maniacal
We’re liable to pull a juju
The irony is that this bad bitch in my lap
She don’t love me, she make money, she don’t study that
She gon’ give it to me, ain’t gon’ tell me run it back
She gon’ take the brain to wetter plains, she spit on that
The doors have signs with, don’t try to rhyme with
VH1 has a show that you can waste your time with
Guilty pleasures take the edge off reality
And for a salary I’d probably do that shit sporadically
The OG Gucci boots are smitten with iguanas
The IRS piranha see a n**** gettin’ commas
N****s in the hood living in a fishbowl
Gentrify here, now it’s not a shit hole
Trendsetter, I know, my shit’s cold
Ain’t settling because I ain’t so bold but ay

All you Black folks, you must go
All you Mexicans, you must go
And all you poor folks, you must go
Muslims and gays
Boy, we hate your ways
So all you bad folks, you must go

The fog and the smog of news media that logs
False narratives of Gods that came up against the odds
We’re not just n**** rappers with the bars
It’s kismet that we’re cosmic with the stars
You bastards overlooking street art
Better yet, street smarts but you keep us off the charts
So motherfuck your numbers and your statisticians
Fuck y’all know about true competition?
That’s like a AL pitcher on deck talking about he hittin’
The only one who’s hitting are the ones that’s currently spittin’
We got your missy smitten rubbing on her little kitten
Dreaming of a world that’s equal for women with no division
Boy, I tell you that’s vision
Like Tony Romo when he hitting Witten
The Tribe be the best in they division
Shaheed Muhammad cut it with precision
Who can come back years later, still hit the shot?
Still them tryna move we off the fucking block
Babylon, bloodclot
Two pon yuh headtop

All you Black folks, you must go
All you Mexicans, you must go
And all you poor folks, you must go
Muslims and gays
Boy, we hate your ways
So all you bad folks, you must go

RIP Phife Dawg memorial memorial

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Indie Rock Music

No Age – Goons Be Gone

Summer 2020, and No Age are back out on the street! Effortlessly raw and extravagantly indulgent in one practiced swoop, they set their live/bedroom internal clock and get out early into a glorious windtunnel of naked beats and sunbaked guitars, forming a wave from which they hang eleven tunes. A perfectly balanced set, ranging from their classic punk and indie to ever-evolving soundscapes, in their maybe their most direct statement yet.

Blurb from No Age Bandcamp.

This is an album that I have very much been looking forward to. The distinctive sound of No Age’s two-man wall of sound never fails to rouse me from the doldrums. Goons Be Gone is their second album to be release on the seminal Indie label, Drag City (home of, among others, David Berman’s Silver Jews & Purple Mountains). After the high quality of the previous album, Snares Like A Haircut, expectations are high.

Opening track, Sandalwood, ploughs a deep furrow of lo-fi noise rock with the kind of Pop sensibilities that made them a cult success in the first place. The choruses & vocals seem to lift the song up into some quasi-heroic Indie mythology. I think I described them, in another post, as being like the Ramones from a parallel universe where the Ramones were obsessed with Sonic Youth, rather than the other way around. I can almost hear the Ramones cover of Making The Nature Scene in my head right now.

Sandalwood ends with a wash of amp noise & distorted feedback which segues beautifully into the fist pumping opening riff of the excellent Feeler, which I reviewed as a single several weeks back. It’s stirring, Pop infected Punk music with swathes of swirling guitar noise & the catchiest chorus you’ll hear all year.

Smoothie does what it says on the tin. It delivers a downtempo, almost ballad-esque, tune formed form atmospheric, ambient guitar textures. It retains the purposeful & powerful drumming though. It’s dreamlike & almost psychedelic, revelling in reverse-reverb on both guitar & percussion parts.

Working Stiff Takes Break is almost a skit. A short experiment with delay & reversed sampled guitar parts, it leaves the listener feeling slightly uneasy .

War Dance is another stormingly strong single which I reviewed several weeks ago. Stirring, quasi-heroic sounding noise Rock.

Some of their effects pedals

Toes In The Water is one of No Age’s signature ambient noise jams. Modular synth arpeggios grating uncomfortably against a wash of guitar noise creates a surprisingly warm & inviting soundscape. Fans will be familiar with this kind of track.

Segues comfortably into another upbeat rocker which was released as a single, Turned To String. Uplifting vibes are enhanced by a neo-Ramones chord progression, swirling ambient guitar noise & purposeful, powerful rhythms.

A Sigh Clicks is droning, detuned guitar noise, slow drumming & shouty talk singing. Would fit perfectly onto Sonic Youth’s early, No Wave influenced releases.

Puzzled sees some more sampling experimentation, opening with some low pitch shifted vocals before it drops into a late ’80’s/early ’90’s alternative rock anthem. The spell is broken repeatedly by digital manipulation such as the digital delay employed on the vocals throughout. A highlight for me. Would have made a great single. If you can imagine SonicYouth’s Expressway To Yr Skull mashed up with Driveway To Driveway by Built To Spill then you’re close to imagining how this excellent song sounds.

Head Sport Full Face is the most recent single & it isn’t long since I reviewed it. It’s an atmospheric rocker with a four to the floor beat & swirls of noisy guitar underpinning Pop melodies & a No Wave sound palate. The retro, VHS-style, double exposure video is excellent.

The tempo takes a slight dip for excellent closer, Agitating Moss, which is more of the same Noise Pop or Dream Punk. This isn’t a bad thing & I’m left with a smile on my face & warm feeling in my heart that no matter how shit the world gets, No Age will always be there making their gloriously heroic Noise Pop.

Goons Be Gone is released today on Drag City. Why not buy it from Bandcamp as on Fridays, Bandcamp waive their fees. Artists get 100%.

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