"s/s/s started to sound like the Nazi Schutzstaffel with a lisp so we had to change it. We wanted a word with three S’s and Sisyphus felt like a capable anti-hero—endless struggle, the human plague, the existential condition. We are all working towards nothing. Also, the apparent futility of this collaboration—a black rapper from Chicago, a white singer-songwriter from Detroit, and an arty producer with cool glasses, though I dunno where Ryan’s from, Cleveland? We have so little in common but we have deep love for each other and we are pushing that stone together." That's Sufjan Stevens, talking about his collaboration with the rapper Serengeti (David Cohn), and singer/producer Son Lux (Ryan Lott), who released their Beak & Claw EP last year as s/s/s (Bandcamp), and have recently released their debut album as Sisyphus (Bandcamp). [more inside]
Graham Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole are a musical trio from Scotland. They first met at a local hip-hop night for under-16 youth in Edinburgh, where the music scene is more focused on indie rock than beats and rapping. They started collaborating a few years ago, and now go by the name Young Fathers. They mix rap, grime, modern R&B, afro-beat, noisy samples and more, though they write music from a pop-perspective, and consider themselves "pop boys." They have two short releases that are something between EPs and albums, plus a handful of singles. Their primary releases, Tape One and Tape Two, have been (re)released on the US label Anticon, and they have a handful of official videos: Deadline, Sister, Rumbling and Romance are the first four tracks from Tape One; I Heard is the first video from Tape Two; The Guide is separate single to stream and/or download, for free on Soundcloud.
Rapper Sole, originally from the Northeast, but now more associated with the West Coast, has had an interesting career in hip hop. [more inside]
David Cohn, AKA Serengeti, has been described as "the quirkiest, deepest rapper", and "a writer who happens to rap". He has put out several albums but has encountered virtually no commercial success whatsoever, despite some raw works on the topics of absentee fathers, heroin, and a fictitious UFC fighter. Chief among his creations is alter-ego Kenny Dennis, with origins in what has become his most famous track, "Dennehy". Kenny is a Chicago sports superfan with a mustache "the size of Mike Ditka's forehead" who loves actor Brian Dennehy, O'Douls, brats, and chops, 'sconsin, the Sears Tower, and his wife Jules, and who passionately defends Steve Bartman. [more inside]
The details are hazy, but somewhere outside of Toronto in the winter of 2004, on a stretch of highway near the U.S. border, a computer onboard a large bus spontaneously combusted. Some point the finger at the driver, others blame a faulty battery. Whatever the cause, Themselves and the Notwist were stranded. Gigs were cancelled. Meals were skipped. Shady motels were booked in below-freezing weather. It was the fifth breakdown of the tour, and despite those frustrations, a minor language barrier and the unfamiliar terrain, a cross-continental brotherhood was forged. Seven years later, the megagroup 13 & God have two albums, a live CD and and an EP as proof of that fateful tour. Join Doseone for a track-by-track commentary of their new album, and listen to the album, streaming on Soundcloud.
As a solo performer, Martin Dosh isn't your typical one man band. Watch him construct densely, beautifully layered songs via live looping. [more inside]