Sunday, September 5, 2010

sweet street sweepers seldom sweep swept streets

Tom Morello and Boots Riley (Street Sweeper Social Club)
Ok, kilter, you can do it. You can write this review without referring to Tom Morello's previous, well-known project combining rap and rock. Just pretend that "anger toward the device" band never existed. Take a deep breath, and let's go.

You know Tom Morello. He moonlights as The Nightwatchman and was the guitar player in Audioslave, as well as, um, other projects. He writes catchy, riffy guitar lines and uses the guitar as a musical weapon as much as an instrument. You may also know Boots Riley, sociopolitical activist and co-founder of The Coup, one of the best underground acts of the 2000s. What do you get when the two join forces? They're called Street Sweeper Social Club (hereafter referred to as SSSC), and they recently released The Ghetto Blaster EP.
The album is explosive and energetic, layering politically-charged rap over chunky rock riffs. It's like nothing you've ever heard...uh...before...
Screw it.

SSSC is similar to Rage Against The Machine in theory and concept. It has moments that almost sound too familiar to the Rage fan in me (I mean that in the best possible way, of course). That's where the comparisons stop, though. Riley has a decidedly different flow than Zack de la Rocha, and he knows how to mix politics with a party. SSSC also has more moments that truly resemble, what do the kids call it, hippity-hop? That's not to say the driving guitar and bass lines aren't there, but there seems to be a little more texture here than what we've heard before. Add in some well-chosen covers (LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out and M.I.A.'s Paper Planes) and you've got a pretty interesting EP. You can listen to the covers on your own; check out the opening track, "Ghetto Blaster," for an idea what SSSC's sound is like.

Download Street Sweeper Social Club - Ghetto Blaster

Oh, ok, here's a cover for you. Don't say I never did anything nice.

Download Street Sweeper Social Club - Mama Said Knock You Out

The (International) Noise Conspiracy (c) Elin Berge 2008
A little research shows that this band intends to be more about the experience of a live show, bringing people together to dance their Communist socks off. I'll be watching for a chance to see them. Expect a review when that goes down.
Speaking of hip Communist bands, I'm going to sneak in some (International) Noise Conspiracy here. Just because I love them.

Download The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Smash It Up

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