Music

Nothing Great About Britain

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At a time when the music industry’s fat cats are once again tightening their grip on the grime scene, Slowthai’s highly anticipated new album defies genre boundaries with a dirty, grimy album of class struggle and resistance.

Fresh off his “99p tour”, the 24 year old’s debut LP, Nothing Great About Britain, is a refreshing injection into the UK hip-hop scene, combining multiple genres that were popular during his childhood in Northampton. This has secured Slowthai (Tyron Frampton) a place at the top of the UK grime scene.

Psychodrama

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Dave first rose to fame as a teenager in 2016 through his freestyle clips on grime and UK rap platforms. Since then he has proved to all listeners that he’s a lyrical genius and a talented musician who can even play the piano.

More importantly, Dave must be respected as one of the brightest conscious and political rappers alive today. He supports Love Music Hate Racism and has dedicated his song Question Time to dissing Theresa May’s austerity. Psychodrama is the 20 year old artist’s debut album.

Drill music and social exclusion

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If you type the words “Incognito blessed” into your preferred internet search engine it will bring up a very poignant three-minute drill music video set in and around the Brandon Estate in south London. One of its six tower blocks, Molesworth House, is prominently featured in the film but the area is not just a grey and grim concrete jungle. The estate is just south of the lush green expanse of Kennington Park. I know the area well. On sunny days like those we enjoyed for much of 2018, these spaces are full of people relaxing and having fun.

Cocoa Sugar

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There has been no shortage of new music released so far this year, but little to lift the heart and soul. Thankfully Cocoa Sugar, the new album by Young Fathers, has answered the call.

It is the third album from an Edinburgh trio comprising Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham “G” Hastings, who won the Mercury Music Prize in 2014 with their debut album Dead.

Mark E Smith: proletarian individualist

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Mark Brown appreciates the contribution of The Fall’s irascible lead singer, who died in January.

Mark E Smith, enigmatic, unruly founder, frontman and driving force of the influential rock group The Fall died, aged 60, in late January. He was an often inspired, regularly drunk, sometimes awkward and, more often than not, brilliant musical artist.

The Spark

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You’ve got to hand it to Enter Shikari, these four friends from Hatfield. Few bands from the British alternative scene have managed to achieve such dizzying heights of acclaim and success while still maintaining such fresh ideas, social awareness and playful sense of humour.

The Underside of Power

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The Underside of Power is four-piece Atlanta based band Algiers’ follow up to their powerful self-titled post-punk meets Southern gospel debut album.

The band take their name from the city at the heart of the Algerian revolutionary war that fought and won independence from France in the 1960s. And they are back with a whole new level of fiery energy and an even more defiant political message.

Damn

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Two years ago Kendrick Lamar delivered one of the landmark albums of the decade. To Pimp a Butterfly combined the brilliant, imaginative musicality of artists such as Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus and Thundercat with Lamar’s sharp observations about the “post-racial” society that Barack Obama’s presidency had supposedly ushered in. One of its stand out tracks “Alright” quickly became one of the anthems of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

Freedom Highway

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Rhiannon Giddens first made her name with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who played string-band music, heavily relying on the banjo and fiddle. The band formed after the first Black Banjo Gathering in North Carolina in 2005 and helped to reclaim a lost tradition of African-American country music. Their music reached its peak in 2010 with the joyful sounds of “Genuine Negro Jig.”

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