Super-group The White Mandingos, comprised of rapper Murs, Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer, and Ego Trip magazine founder Sacha Jenkins, is releasing its debut album, The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me, on Fat Beats in June. A concept album about a Harlem projects-dwelling rocker, it’s shaping up to be an incisive, satirical, and unique blast of dub-infused rap punk.
It’s one thing to say a lot on an album; it’s quite another to actually have something to say. Drawing from artists who are equal parts entertainer and activist, Ill Bill uses his new solo album, The Grimy Awards, as a platform to both tell his story of growing up around drugs and violence in Brooklyn and sound the alarm against blind acquiescence to authority.
The former Non Phixion MC, coming off recent collaborations with La Coka Nostra and Vinnie Paz, teams with a host of collaborators and producers — including Large Professor, Pete Rock, El-P, HR of Bad Brains, and more — to showcase both the scars and the life lessons that come from being a hip-hop heavyweight with nearly three decades in the ring.
In the early 2000s, members of New Lows were cutting their teeth in Think I Care, playing in Sheer Terror’s tradition of Celtic Frost-worshiping hardcore punk. After the demise of Think I Care, New Lows appeared with an ugly, punishing demo and a similarly aggressive seven-inch record.
The band recorded an LP with CC from Mind Eraser that was initially shelved due to inner turmoil and a near breakup. However, New Lows resumed activities as a band, and Harvest of the Carcass, its proper debut, now sees the light of day, taking the Boston metalcore tradition into a raw and primitive place.
New Lows plays in a style that recalls the crushingly heavy and simplistic late-1980s punk/death-metal hybrid of bands like Asphyx and Bolt Thrower. Bands affiliated with the hardcore scene, like Ringworm and Merauder, have been blending these sounds since the early 1990s. Recently, several hardcore bands have risen to prominence with sounds that are much more death metal than they are Bad Brains. This new crop of bands includes New Lows as well as Nails, Harms Way, and Mammoth Grinder.
Each Tuesday, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.
This week, we spoke with Neal Becton, owner of Som Records in Washington, DC. The small, well-curated record store is a staple in the DC community, and Becton is the force behind a number of events like the annual DC Record Fair and the monthly Brazilian Rhythms party. Having made three trips to Brazil primarily for the purpose of digging crates, there’s no question that Becton is committed to his craft, and Som’s diverse selection reflects his unequaled passion for music.
What can someone expect when visiting Som for the first time?
A small but tight shop with the best selection of used vinyl in DC. Being fairly small forces me to curate instead of just throwing everything out in the bins. I dig for records four to five days a week, so there’s always new stuff in here. I do sell new releases and touch a few genres that the other local stores don’t touch.
ALARM music editor Jamie Ludwig headed to meet friends at Dick’s Last Resort in Chicago last week. Unbeknowst to her, she was about to experience an intimate performance — with youngsters celebrating birthdays — by legendary Bad Brains frontman HR.
Enlisted by John Zorn, Bobby Previte, Merzbow, Dave Douglas, Bad Brains, the Beastie Boys, and dozens of other influential and notable artists, Jamie Saft is a massive talent. His work on assorted guitars and keyboards transcends countless genres, and his next solo release — Black Shabbis on Zorn’s Tzadik label — combines traditional Jewish music with metal.