One downside of only publishing the Rebel Beat podcast once per month is that I feel there is just TOO MUCH GOOD RADICAL MUSIC OUT THERE to fit onto a monthly show! So this is a bit of an attempt to bring together some things I’ve been listening to lately – all artists that I hope we’ll feature as guests on the podcasts some day, and albums you should check out. So hope you enjoy this video mixtape!
Fiver – Audible Songs from Rockwood
Fiver is the solo project moniker of Simone Schmidt, a gifted songwriter, ex lead singer of One Hundred Dollars, and also a dear friend of mine. For her upcoming album, due out in April, Simone spent years doing research in the Ontario archives about women who were locked up in the Rockwood asylum in the 1800s. The result is a beautiful collection of songs based on some of the real stories of women who were incarcerated there. If you want to hear a great interview with Simone, as well as teasers for some of the songs, check out this recent episode of The Imposter podcast. And here’s a great little mini-doc about the album!
To me, Montreal’s very own Narcy can do no wrong. In a climate of heightened xenophobia and racism against refugees, this video couldn’t have come any sooner.
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank you 4 Your Service
In the last episode of The Rebel Beat, we dedicated our Turn It Up segment to the hip-hop group that really needs no introduction, A Tribe Called Quest, for giving a rousing resistance-drenched performance at the Grammy awards last month. Beyond an amazing show of force, which included members of the group breaking through a brick wall to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban, their new album is solid gold. And if you haven’t checked out the video for “We The People” yet, do what’s right for you…
A Tribe Called Red – We Are the Halluci Nation
The other Tribe! I can now say that hands down, A Tribe Called Red’s latest album was my favourite of 2016. It shreds. Colonialism. And they have a new video out – a beautiful celebration of urban Indigenous existence. What more to say? Enjoy!
Kaytranada – 99.9%
Ok, so as I’m sure you know, Moonlight recently won Best Picture at the Oscars, and don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful, crucial film, but part of me feels that this was also a highly-dramatized performance of Hollywood white-liberal back patting. We still live in a world where police are killing Black people, and Black trans folks are being murdered with impunity, and little media coverage. These are times where we need to celebrate Black queer artists more than ever. Kaytranada’s album does just that. He won the Polaris Music Prize (also an award show that had been criticized in recent years for choosing white artists over Indigenous musicians and musicians of colour) for best Canadian album for “99.9%” this past year, and hey, who couldn’t love a video with a cute dancing robot? Plus, I gotta rep hard for my Montreal artists!
Damn, so the political climate in Quebec has been devastating lately. At the end of January, 6 men were killed by a white supremacist Trump supporter as they were praying at their mosque. Then, in the weeks following, several mosques in Montreal were vandalized, and a bomb threat was sent to Concordia university in Montreal specifically targeting Muslim students. I feel like this is a time when we really need to amplify the voices of people of colour in Quebec. People who have been here all along, who carry communities, struggles, ideas and art. A few bomb videos from Webster, Nomadic Massive, and Syncop.
Body Count – No Lives Matter
So I only really knew Body Count, the “rap metal” outfit featuring Ice-T, from their heavy as fuck anti-cop tune “Cop Killer” (seriously, you gotta peep that song RIGHT NOW if you’ve never heard it!). And then a friend of mine shared their latest with me, and it’s on heavy rotation in my apartment!
If you’re from Canada, then Gord Downie probably needs no introduction. But if you’re not from the freezing colonial shit-pile of a country that I call home, then I’ll tell you that Gord Downie is the lead singer of The Tragically Hip, arguably one of Canada’s most famous rock bands who never really made it big beyond our borders. Sadly, Gord was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last year, and The Hip did their final cross-Canada tour in the summer of 2016. But amazingly, Gord’s swan song was to put out a solo album documenting the life of Chanie Wenjack, an Indigenous boy who died trying to escape a residential school in the 1960s. The album is chilling, and comes with a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire. Crucial listening to learn from Canada’s colonial past, and to build a decolonized future.