Thursday, 25 June 2020

Top Tens: Ten Black Artists You Need To Check Out

The current Black Lives Matter movement has made a lot of people stop and think about a lot of things, myself included. It’s quite clear that most white people have a lot to learn about the oppression that people of the black community have to deal with on a daily basis. Something that I’ve heard brought up a lot is how stupid racism is, given that so much of our culture comes from black people. Black people have played a major role in shaping popular music. I’ve been looking at my own listening habits and realised that I don’t listen to many bands that have black members. This was obviously never a conscious decision – I’ve never checked out a band because of the colour of their skin – I mostly pick new bands based on whether or not I like their artwork. That said, I’ve come to the realisation that I should make a lot more effort to check out new music from black artists. And having a platform such as CPRW, I feel like I have a responsibility to showcase more diverse acts rather than just white guys.

For this top ten I took to the Internet to research and discover some bands that I’ve never listened to before. I was very strict on myself to make sure not to include bands I had listened to and enjoyed in the past. It was also very important for me to only have bands that I genuinely liked and not to include acts just because they have black members. Please check out these ten bands and spend some time checking out more bands that aren’t just four white chaps. Music is an art for everyone and comes from all walks of life. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make the effort to discover new, different and diverse artists.

Action/Adventure are a self described “heavy pop punk” band from Chicago, Illinois. Since forming in 2014 the five piece have been super prolific with an impressive eight releases under their belt. Their most recent is the single Tuck Everlasting. This is strong single that really shows off considerable songwriting ability. It’s a melodic pop punk song that has plenty of highs and lows and really gives you the feeling that the band are taking you on a journey.

Art Sorority
Art Sorority is the acoustic project of Daoud Tyler-Ameen. When I first listened to Art Sorority I was instantly taken aback by Daoud’s brilliant voice. It’s softer than my usual tastes enjoy when listening to acoustic music but I found it absolutely captivating. Daoud isn’t the most active with Art Sorority anymore, his most recent release is an album full of demo versions. His most recent release of fresh and finished material came out in 2014 and is named Older Boys. You should definitely spend some time checking it out. Daoud also plays drums in the band Bad Moves who just put out a new EP named Cape Henlopen.

Dirty Rotten Revenge
Another band from Illinois, Dirty Rotten Revenge come from the town of Bloomington. The four piece band play intense punk rock that has taken influences of skate, hardcore and street punk to create something quite special. I really like music to fill me with energy and Dirty Rotten Revenge certainly do that. Dirty Rotten Revenge are due to play The Fest in Gainesville at the end of the year (if it goes ahead). If I manage to get out there, I will definitely be looking to check them out live.

Joncro are a three piece garage punk/noise rock band from Canada. Something I really enjoyed listening to Joncro was their ability to surprise me, going from quiet lo-fi songs to louder, more rambunctious tracks and playing both extremely well. They appear to be a very productive band when it comes to releasing music with a number of singles and EPs released in the past few years.

Meet Me @ The Altar
I’ve seen Meet Me @ The Altar appear on a few lists promoting black musicians and after listening to them I can completely understand why. The three piece’s take on the pop punk genre is fantastic. In vocalist Edith Johnson they have an absolute star and she’s brilliant backed up by Téa Campbell (guitars) and Ada Juarez (drums). Meet Me @ The Altar clearly have all the tools to become huge stars in the future.

Rebelmatic are a New York based four piece who have been going since 2008. Mixing soulful vocals and groovy melodies with hardcore punk, the band aren’t shy when it comes to talking about their politics. They are a powerful band who I imagine put on an incredible live show. The band are getting set to release their debut album, Ghosts In The Shadow, and it couldn’t have come at a more relevant time. Rebelmatic could be one of the most important bands of 2020.

Screaming Toenail
South London four piece Screaming Toenail are a great band to listen to if you want to educate yourself on black history that hasn’t been whitewashed. Their 2015 EP Territorealities lays down some important facts that you need to know. Musically it’s hard to pigeon hole Screaming Toenail. They fall somewhere between emo/shoe-gaze and indie rock. I wish I was aware of this band years ago as I feel like they are vital to making an important change in UK culture.

London/Zurich based pop duo Th’sheridans certainly don’t fall into my usual listening tastes but their chirpy, upbeat music really won me over. Tackling subjects such as food, dating, small towns and more recently radical softness as a response to racism and sexism, Th’sheridans aren’t afraid of covering a wide range of topics. On May 1st they released a new single named I Don’t Wanna Be Dismembered that I’ve been listening to a lot since discovering it.

Undead Generation
South Africa’s Undead Generation (formerly known as The Tsotsis) describe themselves as a “punk fusion” band with the intention of creating positive change through their music. The band take classic punk and just have fun with it, adding poppy hooks, big riffs and also some brass instruments to create their own unique style. Their 2019 album Carling, My Darling: Blood, Sweat and Beers is a brilliantly varied release that certainly deserved more attention worldwide.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.

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