The Liverpool hip hop scene finds it’s voice. And it’s Bang On. Getintothis’ Peter Guy and Mike Torpey rake through this week’s singles.
Bang On!: Hands High – Single Of The Week
When then teenager Elliot Egerton, aka Bang On! (then with an added ‘Mr’ to his moniker) dropped Scally Thugs back in 2009, Getintothis didn’t just exhale through excitement but also relief.
There’s been some criminal jibber jabber about the state of Liverpool’s hip-hop scene, some bang on, some wide of the mark. But it’s fair to say the city has needed a figurehead to flag up as justification for burgeoning promise – well, this is the one to pay attention to. And Hands High is a sign of that intent.
A grinding sledgehammer of a beat which manages to imbue a trademark scouse dance groove with a belting dubstep tremor.
Best of all, is Bang On’s machine gun delivery, cloaked in that distinctive rasping Toxteth tongue which captures his brutal energy and ferocious live reputation. Add into the mix Goetz Werner‘s vid – combining hilariously brilliant footage from The Blob Shop and the wreck/beauty of Liverpool’s urban sprawl – and you’ve finally a package this city can champion as its own.
Hands high indeed.
Hands High. Out December 6
Time for Scouse rap to stand up.
Janelle Monae: Cold War
Cold War is said to be inspired by the atomic bombs in Muhammad Ali’s fists.
There’s a parallel there because Kansas soul/R & B/hip hop singer Monae’s voice floats and stings in the same proverbial way.
Not the type of sound I usually go for, but Cold War‘s a belter with commanding, full-on vocals enveloped in a sensational guitar solo.
Bicycle Thieves: Gallivant
Not to be confused with the Washington DC band of the same name, who aren’t a patch on the Liverpool lads, Gallivant could be the song that exposes Bicycle Thieves to a wider audience.
Tom Hammersley‘s grizzly low register vocals create a haunting quality.
Catch them on November 11 at Mojo as part of Liverpool Music Week 2010.
Teebs: ‘Why Like This?‘
You may well ask. This is the sort of stuff you might hear in a lift en route to the top floor of an art gallery – dreamy, emotionless, stop start tripe.
The second ‘song’ of this LA artisan’s 3-tracker, Arthur’s Birds, is also aptly named seeing as it sounds like an aural aviary. Music to sip green tea to.
Stealing Sheep: What If The Lights Went Out EP
While we’re on the subject of aviaries, this trio of Liverpool-based thrushes initially have you reaching for the remote.
But there’s a delayed drop here. The sound builds, the harmonies become infectious and the disarming effect is such that by track four Sleep you’re well hooked.
And the closer There’s Only One is pure class.
Clock Opera: Once And For All
The London foursome go straight for the jugular with an epic slice of pop/rock inspired by a play about what it’s like to be a 13-year-old.
It’s Mika meets Brandon Flowers for a night out with the Scissor Sisters – and it works brilliantly.
Tacoma: In The Dark EP
Everyone seems to compare the Liverpool garage rockers to a different band.
Well I’ll give you the definitive answer – they sound like Tacoma. Rough, ready haunting and heavy with more than a hint of The Doors. Oops!
Lorn: None An Island
The attached PR nonsense says None An Island “combines Lorn’s trademark overt emotionalism, brutality and bleakness into something transcendentally beautiful”.
Sounds more like he’s harnessed a series of bites, shoved them into a sausage machine and spun the handle. Music for the loony bin.
The Gaslamp Killer: Death Gate EP
Dark and bleak – hardly a surprise given the name – movements turn to a refreshing blend of Turkish rock and jazz harmonies.
He’s a clever lad this William Bensussen and he’s perfected the way to layer sounds for an edgy, uneasy assault on the senses. Worth a listen.
The Jim Jones Revue: Shoot First
Said it before but it needs repeating; this is one sensational band.
Shoot First, second single from the Burn Your House Down album, is like the classic John Hiatt period of Slow Turning and Bring The Family – fuel injector vocals and meat on the bone production.
Les Savy Fav: Let’s Get Out Of Here
American guitar rock in the Fountains Of Wayne vein. Catchy and hooky, just needs stronger vocals.
The Bug: Infected EP
Opening track Catch A Fire, featuring King Midas Sound‘s Hitomi, works well thanks to a surprise guitar drop in the middle of the tune. Rest’s for people who don’t really music.