Where the Gods Are in Peace
Since their 2012 album Antibalas, the Afrobeat collective have seen a number of musicians leave for other projects, but as Where the Gods Are in Peace shows, the Brooklyn band have benefited from an influx of new players, too. Perhaps the youth movement in this 12-piece band were weaned on early Antibalas — this five-track LP resurrects everything that made the group such an important part of the New York funk scene in the early 2000s. With an album-long theme revolving around the ascent of an alien who joins forces with natives to save the world, Antibalas seem more than ready to push themselves to another musical level. (Afrosound/Daptone, daptonerecords.com)
Was there pressure to write songs about the Trump
this new blast of instrumental rock is written all over the album artwork: thematically, the collective speak out against corporate excess, the exploitation of labour, the hopelessness of war and government-branded forms of self-inflicted domestic terrorism and the complacent, false sense that this country may be a better nation than the rest. It’s not unusual for Godspeed to articulate such things on a record sleeve, but bolstered by a few guests (Bonnie Kane, Craig Pederson) and the knowing ears of engineer Greg Norman, their music truly animates the frozen, sardonic text. “Undoing a Luciferian Towers” is a dirge that somehow shimmers, while “Bosses Hang” begins as a haunting bass and guitar three-chorder before strings and drums propel it skyward. Vital and vibrant, “Luciferian Towers” is a stunning addition to their storied catalogue. (Constellation, cstrecords.com)
Saxophonist Martin Perna: I think people get what we’re going with, because the last thing we wanted to do was add to the noise. The term “reactionary” tends to be used to describe the political right, but it could also describe the left, in that we’re just waiting for bad things to happen and then get mad and indignant about them.
Is there a drawback to being a political band?
The thing about being politically prescriptive is that we can’t always walk the talk. We [play] summer festivals, and we have people that we don’t really support, like a tobacco company, and we’re like, “Okay, we’re here now and fans are expecting us to play.” The other thing about being political is that the world that we live in is full of contradictions. mostly because the Toronto-based MC fills the mixtape to the brim with galvanizing anthems. “Honey Brown/Money Brown,” is a prime example, thanks to its paper-getting chants. Other cuts, like “Everyday,” “10 Year Plan” and “Facts Only” fall in that same invigorating vein. But Fresco also shows his versatility on this release. Songs like “PSA #1 (No Rest for the Wicked)” and “PSA #2 (All My N*ggaz Know)” both feature instrumentals that are more soulful and harken to an earlier era of hip-hop. The latter laments the struggles that his less fortunate friends have to face on the streets; it’s a stirring, socially conscious track that’ll move even the most hardened of street hustlers. How U Survive Through Life Everyday (H.U.S.T.L.E.) finds Fresco not merely surviving, but downright thriving. (soundcloud.com/razfresco) on last album Differentology — and a successful title track remixed by Major Lazer and starring Busta Rhymes — Turn Up is clearly aimed at a wider audience. It accomplishes this with tracks that feature heavy Major Lazer influences, notably “Dance in Paint” and the EDM-minded “Way Up.” That said, Garlin knows his hardcore Carnival season audience, and serves up the throwback feel of “Turn Up” and “1995.” Switching it up with a hip-hop feel on the Damian Marley collaboration “The Message,” Garlin reveals his versatility. Turn Up successfully rides a balance between traditional and experimental soca. ( VP, vprecords.com)