Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Junkyard Empire’s Acts of Humanity Vol. 1 & 2

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Junkyard Empire: Acts of Humanity Vol. 1 & 2Junkyard Empire: Acts of Humanity Vol. 1 & 2 (Mediaroots, 7/12/11)

Junkyard Empire: “We Want”

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Morrow: Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Junkyard Empire is an emphatically political five-piece hip-hop/jazz/rock crossover ensemble, topping a groove-heavy amalgamation with scathing rhymes and spoken-word speeches.

On its newest album, Acts of Humanity Vol. 1 & 2, MC Brihanu is incensed from the get-go, using the opening verses to cite a barrage of America’s fucked-up foreign policy while referencing the School of the Americas, the backing of military juntas and death squads, and support for dictators such as Augusto Pinochet, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and Manuel Noriega.

Though a handful of other tracks take a more personal approach, the vast majority is just as biting, addressing American imperialism, capitalism, Israeli aggression, and much more. The music and delivery, for the most part, are above average, but a bit of cheesy funk/R&B seeps into the mix — including a very “Shoop”-esque “hey-eee!” on “Regla.”

William Elliott Whitmore

Guest Playlist: William Elliott Whitmore’s top anti-war songs

William Elliott Whitmore: Field SongsWilliam Elliott Whitmore: Field Songs (Anti-, 7/12/11)

William Elliott Whitmore: “Everything Gets Gone”

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Folk songwriter William Elliott Whitmore graced the cover of ALARM 35 back in 2009, right after he had made the jump to Anti- (read story here). At the time, he was promoting his new album, Animals in the Dark, which saw his blues-infused creations bolstered by additions of pedal steel, organs, strings, and drums. Now, he’s set to release a new full-length, Field Songs, which speaks to a uniquely American experience. Never one to hide his political beliefs, Whitmore was kind enough to share with us 10 of his favorite anti-war songs.

10 Anti-War Songs
by William Elliott Whitmore

1.  Operation Ivy: “Unity”

A bit of protest from the Bay Area’s premier ska outfit.

William Elliott Whitmore

William Elliott Whitmore: Poetic Discontent

After three albums that touch on personal topics, the scratchy, soulful material of folk singer and banjo player William Elliott Whitmore gets a thematic overhaul, angling toward subdued political themes.