“WORKING” is an empowering new hip house track and official video from Cartel Madras, which was directed by the group and Gabriela Osio Vanden. The visual, which stars the duo and fellow THOTNATION collective member Jide (who produced and mixed the song), saw it’s premiere earlier today at Berlin’s Pop Kultur Festival. “WORKING” marks Cartel Madras’s first new material since the release of their Age of the Goonda EP late last year, and is available now through all DSPs worldwide through Sub Pop (with the exception of Canada from Royal Mountain Records).
Single Art Photo Credit: Oliver Whitfield Smith
Cartel Madras’s Eboshi and Contra had this to say about the song, “Ever since ‘Housey’ off of our first mixtape, Trapistan, we’ve been really excited to make our next house track. In terms of hip house, we’ve been influenced by the likes of sharp lyricists with strong aesthetics such as Azealia Banks and Cakes Da Killa; they’ve been genre touchstones for us since before Cartel Madras. Much like ‘Housey,’ ‘WORKING’ is a queer, party track which pulls from our experiences as bad bitches in the music scene from the LGBTQ+ community. Once Jide, also a member of our collective, made us this beat we knew exactly what we wanted to do with it. This video is a love letter to the campy, color-coded Eurodance videos of the 90s.” And producer Jide offers this, “‘WORKING’ is heavily inspired by artists like Disclosure and Geotheory. I wanted to go for a vibey UK House track. I wanted some tension and didn’t want to give it to you all at once.”
“WORKING” was produced as a commissioned work of the Pop-Kultur Festival, funded by FACTOR Canada and the Government of Canada.
What people are saying about Cartel Madras: “They’ve got an absolutely wicked flow — think M.I.A. meets Cardi B. Hints of traditional Tamil music are sprinkled throughout.” [“Goonda Gold”] - Stereogum
“Cartel Madras are smashing barrier musically and are sure to blow your mind with their uniqueness.” [Age of the Goonda] - CLASH
“Full of raw, powerful, nonchalant energy” [“Goonda Gold”] - Gal-Dem
“Age of the Goonda is an invigorating five-track blast…More, please.” - The Wire
“Comprised of six tracks, the EP possesses layered bass lines pumped with adrenaline, a range of Indian classical instruments weaved in and hooks that stay in your brain for days.” [Age of the Goonda] - NME
“Age of the Goonda provides an electrifying burst of the duo’s live show energy in concentrated form.” - Loud & Quiet
“In pop analogy, this hip-hop duo comprising Calgary-bred, Chennai-born siblings Bhagya and Priya Ramesh is somewhat like a Tamil Pulp Fiction-meets-MIA. With a carousel of bad-ass, no-fucks-given, brown girl anthems, Cartel Madras is brought to life by two sisters who don’t shy of braggadocio (you can’t miss their stack of gold jewelry) as they spout songs about feminism, empowerment and inclusivity.” [“12 New Musicians Set to Breakthrough in 2020”] - Vogue India
On October 23rd, 2020, Clipping will release Visions of Bodies Being Burned, the follow up to their acclaimed 2019 release There Existed an Addiction to Blood, and the second installment in its sociopolitical horrorcore series. The album, which includes the standouts “Say the Name,” “96 Neve Campbell (feat. Cam & China),” “Pain Everyday (feat. Michael Esposito),” and “Enlacing,” was produced by Clipping, mixed by Steve Kaplan, and mastered by Rashad Becker. Visions of Bodies Being Burned also features guest appearances from Ho99o9 (“ Looking Like Meat”), Jeff Parker & Ted Byrnes (“Eaten Alive”), Sickness (“Body for the Pile”) and Greg Stuart (“Invocation (Interlude)”). The final track, “Secret Piece,” is a performance of a Yoko Ono text score from 1953 that instructs the players to “Decide on one note that you want to play/Play it with the following accompaniment: the woods from 5am to 8am in summer,” and features nearly all of the musicians who appeared on both albums.
The album’s first single “Say the Name,” transforms Scarface’s evocative lyric from “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”—“Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned”—into a screwed-down Chicago ghetto house loop, mixing together a palette of inspirations including 90s industrial music and Bernard Rose’s 1992 film Candyman. The “Say the Name” lyric video was directed by longtime visual collaborator Cristina Bercovitz.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned is available for preorders through Sub Pop Mega Mart. Preorders of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited, Loser edition on mixed red/orange/yellow colored vinyl (while supplies last). Meanwhile, LP preorders of Visions of Bodies Being Burned throughout the UK and Europe from select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on gold vinyl (while supplies last).
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Clipping’sThere Existed an Addiction to Bloodreceived acclaim from the likes of Pop Matters, who said, “Apocalyptic, claustrophobic, with danger in the air; in other words, reminiscent of our current moment in US history. Horror movie themes float amidst the background, but this is hip-hop, riddled with allusions to classics of the past while living in a now setting of vampires, zombies, and ghosts (#7, “The 20 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2019”).” Meanwhile, Treble Zine had this to say, “There Existed an Addiction to Blood turns to horror as its conduit for dealing out home truths. Daveed Diggs remains in the highest tier of contemporary MCs in America, taking obvious joy from spinning between frisky, tongue-in-cheek junk culture references and cold, compact sucker punches of truth (#18 / “50 Best Albums of the Year”).” And Stereogum, in its “Album of the Week” review offered this, “There Existed An Addiction To Blood, even more than Clipping’s past albums, has gotten under my skin. That’s good. That’s what horror stories should do. Send in the clowns.”
[Photo credit: Damien Maloney]
About Visions of Bodies Being Burned In the horror genre, sequels are perfunctory. As the insufferable film bro Randy explains in Scream 2, “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate—more blood, more gore. Carnage candy. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.” Last Halloween, Los Angeles experimental rap mainstays Clipping ended their three-year silence with the horrorcore-inspired album There Existed an Addiction to Blood. This October, rapper Daveed Diggs, and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson return with an even higher body count, more elaborate kills, and monsters that just won’t stay dead.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned is less a sequel than it is the second half of a planned diptych. It turns out, Clipping took to the thematic material of horrorcore like vampires to grave soil. In the years following Splendor & Misery—the band’s acclaimed dystopian science fiction-rap epic—they simply made too many songs for one album. Before the release of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Clipping and Sub Pop Records divided the material up into two albums, designed to be released only months apart. However, a global pandemic and multiple canceled tours pushed the release of the project’s “part two” until the following Halloween season.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned contains sixteen more scary stories disguised as rap songs, incorporating as much influence from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker, and Shirley Jackson as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Brotha Lynch Hung. Clipping are never critical of their cultural references. Their angular, shattered interpretations of existing musical styles are always deferential, driven by fandom for the object of study rather than disdain for it. Clipping reimagine horrorcore—the purposely absurdist hip-hop subgenre that flourished in the 1990s—the way Jordan Peele does horror cinema: by twisting beloved tropes to make explicit their own radical politics of monstrosity, fear, and the uncanny.
There’s a well-worn adage in film scholarship that says: Every era gets the monster it deserves—meaning during each period of history, different monsters come to embody the specific sociopolitical anxieties of the time: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and antisemitism, Godzilla and the atom bomb, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and McCarthyism, Anne Rice’s vampires and the AIDS crisis. While these figures are largely reactionary, Clipping intentionally recast their figures of monstrosity through the lens of an antiracist, antipatriarchal, anticolonial politics to address the struggles of our current era. The album’s first single, “Say the Name,” transforms Scarface’s evocative lyric from “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”—“Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned”—into a screwed-down Chicago ghetto house loop, mixing together a palette of inspirations from 90s industrial music to a certain mirror-bound, bee-keeping, hook-handed former-slave/urban legend. The second single, “’96 Neve Campbell” is a tribute to the self-aware “final girl” character of the post-slasher film cycle, featuring Inglewood’s Cam & China, who prove they do more than survive the masked killer—they preemptive-strike his ass.
The band also connected with fellow noise-rap pioneers Ho99o9 for the song “Looking Like Meat,” which more closely resembles the full-on sonic assault of Clipping’s first album, Midcity, than any of their music since. Among Clipping’s peers, Ho99o9 reveal themselves to be the perfect collaborators to fit into the album’s thematic world. Eaddy and theOGM deliver the most unhinged, viscerally alarming moment on the entire record.
Each track pairs a different expression of horror with one of Clipping’s signature metamorphic takes on a hip-hop subgenre. “Eaten Alive” pays tribute to the Tobe Hooper film of the same name, aping the swampy drag of No Limit and their ilk over a jagged jazz-rap instrumental featuring Tortoise guitar genius Jeff Parker, and experimental LA drummer Ted Byrnes. “Enlacing” posits Lovecraftian cosmic terror as the result of a psychedelic drift into nothingness, played as a smeary, cloud rap haze. “Pain Everyday” uses real EVP recordings—said to be the voices of restless spirits—atop a cinematic, Venetian Snares-like breakcore collage, as a call-to-arms for the ghosts of lynching victims to haunt the white descendants of their murderers. And “Check the Lock” is a spiritual sequel to Seagram’s classic track “Sleepin in My Nikes,” describing a drug kingpin’s paranoid descent into madness.
While There Existed an Addiction to Blood ended in an all-cleansing fire, Visions of Bodies Being Burned concludes with the break of dawn in a forest, providing the false hope that those who have survived the horror thus far might just be safe for good. The final track, “Secret Piece,” is a performance of a Yoko Ono text score from 1953 that instructs the players to “Decide on one note that you want to play/Play it with the following accompaniment: the woods from 5am to 8am in summer,” and features nearly all of the musicians who appeared on both albums.
Since their last album, Daveed Diggs—the group’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning rapper—has starred in the TNT science fiction series, Snowpiercer, voiced a character in Pixar’s Soul, and portrayed Frederick Douglass in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird. Writer Rivers Solomon’s novella based on Clipping’s Hugo-nominated song “The Deep” has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards, and won the Lambda Literary Award for best LGBTQ SF/Fantasy/Horror novel. Clipping’s song “Chapter 319”—a tribute to George Floyd (AKA Big Floyd) the former DJ-Screw affiliated rapper who was murdered by police officers in May of 2020—was released on Bandcamp on June 19th and raised over $20,000 for racial justice charities. A clip of the song also became a popular meme on TikTok, generating over 50,000 videos in which leftist teenagers rapped the song’s lyrics (“Donald Trump is a white supremacist, full stop…”) directly into the frowning faces of their conservative parents. The band also contributed a Skinny Puppy-esque rework of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” to Save Stereogum: An ‘00s Covers Comp.
For 2020’s Record Store Day, Clipping released Double Live, a collaboration with sound artist Christopher Fleeger. All the audio was recorded during Clipping’s 2017 tour opening for the Flaming Lips, but the microphones weren’t pointed at the band. Instead, mics were placed in toilets, taped to ceiling pipes, tied to trees, worn by roadies, hidden all over venues. The results were then synchronized and edited over more than a year. Double Live is perhaps more a musique concrète experiment than a traditional live album. On the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon said it sounded “Weird.”
In his “Album of the Week” review for Stereogum, Tom Breihan described There Existed an Addiction to Blood as “cold, confrontational music, even when it slaps, which it often does.” Visions of Bodies Being Burned slaps even more often than its predecessor, although perhaps the only club it will do so in will be the burnt-out, radiation-poisoned rave of some science-fiction dystopia. Their new album finds Clipping building upon the language of their already-revolutionary music, while still making the trunk rattle on dilapidated hearses and demon-possessed Plymouth Furys. Never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.
Loma’s “Half Silences” is a sublime standout and visual from Don’t Shy Away, the group’s forthcoming album. Band member Jonathan Meiburg says of the track, “‘Half Silences’ was the first song we recorded for Don’t Shy Away, and we kept tinkering with it after we soft-released an early version last year. When you start making a record, you don’t know which songs will make the cut—but this one always seemed to belong, and we wanted to give the final mix (and its DIY video) a proper debut. People have asked if the fireworks are CGI. They aren’t.”
PASTE calls “Half Silences” “hushed and hypnotic,” and Gorilla vs Bear notes the song’s “haunting” vibe. Meanwhile, Clash Magazine says of the track, “‘Half Silences’ has a slightly more raw, visceral feel to their debut, its jagged guitar lines underpinning those fine vocal performances. Nuanced and mature, it’s the sound of those musicians further strengthening their bonds, while exploring fresh territory.”
Don’t Shy Away will be available on CD/LP/CS/DL October 23rd, 2020 on Sub Pop. The eleven-track effort featuring “Ocotillo,” the aforementioned “Half Silences,” ”Elliptical Days,” “Homing” and the title track, was produced and recorded by the band at Dandysounds in Dripping Strings, Texas—with the exception of “Homing,” which was produced by Brian Eno.
Late last month, Loma released the equally stunning Don’t Shy Away track “Ocotillo” to rave reviews. Stereogum calls the song “A languid and lovely piece of music that slowly builds up into widescreen catharsis. Cross’ powerful, crystalline lead vocal is a thing to behold.” Brooklyn Vegan offered this, “The gorgeously widescreen ‘Ocotillo’ that sounds as open as the Texas plain.” Beats Per Minute had this say, “Before long, the first tastes of woodwind appear, and from there Loma keep “Ocotillo” continually growing, oozing beauty and pomp as they subtly add in more layers. Cross’ vocals are heaven-sent, looking out over the vast plains created by the band, and together with her we sail through it, soon finding ourselves in thickets of wild and noisy brass and strings – utterly engrossed and captivated.” And For the Rabbits raved, “[‘Ocotillo’] is instantly intriguing, the band continuing their collaborative approach to writing, and shaping their creativity into something that’s both dense and dextrous; even as it gets loud and jarring it always seems to maintain it’s propulsion, always flowing, always moving, never standing still. The return of Loma feels like a second chance, a band who could so easily have slipped between the cracks, returning to give us the chance to make them realise just how loved they are, cherish their return, it’s a triumph.”
SUGAREGG, was produced and mixed by John Congleton and Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, with additional production and mixing by Graham Walsh, recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and Palace Sound in Toronto, Ontario, and mastered by Heba Kadry.
The record flows, hitting knee-skinning highs like “Stuck in Your Head” (“I just wanted to pick up the tempo!” Bognanno sing-songs as the band counts off), barn-burners like “You” (about, it seems, an absent parent) and the hauntingly discordant “Hours and Hours.” Whatever the subject matter, whatever the tempo, each track finds Bognanno full-throated, wild and free…their most self-assured album yet. [SUGAREGG/ 4.5 stars] - Rolling Stone
“‘SUGAREGG’ shows a musician at the top of their game, unafraid to take themselves a little less seriously than before.” [SUGAREGG] The Forty Five
“It’s a product full of joy, not maddening, but genuinely uplifting and encouraging. It’s also the best thing Bognanno has written. As the public is becoming increasingly accustomed to performances composed of lies and consistent sleight of hand, it’s rewarding to see someone go in the opposite direction and peel back the layers, revealing a freer and more transparent artistic self. It clearly hasn’t been easy, but on this basis, it certainly seems worth it.” The Line Of Best Fit
“The most explosive collection of songs from Bognanno’s discography.” [SUGAREGG] - Under the Radar
“…The songs on SUGAREGG feel like the singer, songwriter, guitarist, engineer and producer has reached a new level of comfort in her relationship with herself.” [SUGAREGG] - Nashville Scene
“This is joyous bubblegum grunge…Alicia Bognanno’s voice is as mesmeric and feral as ever, and her band sound simply, effortlessly, gigantic…you’re going to be rotting your teeth on SUGAREGG for weeks.” [SUGAREGG, ★★★★] - NARC
Today METZ shared the video for the second single off Atlas Vending, “Hail Taxi.” If METZ’s current mission is to mirror the inevitable struggles of adulthood, they’ve successfully managed to tap into the conflicted relationship between rebellion and revelry with the song’s tactics of offsetting their signature bombast with anthemic melodic resolutions. “‘Hail Taxi’ is about looking back. The lyrics deal with the idea of reconciling or coming to terms with who you were and who you’ve become,” shares frontman Alex Edkins. The stunning video, directed by A.F. Cortes, heightens these themes and expertly captures the same intensity as the alternately brutal verses and beguiling choruses of “Hail Taxi.” Of the video, Cortes says, “I wanted to tell a simple story that captures the song’s overarching theme. The idea of longing for the past creates many visual motifs and I wanted to create a piece that feels timeless and conveys a sense of isolation, highlighting that while we can hide our feelings, we can’t run from them.”
Atlas Vending, the band’s most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career will be released on October 9th. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Atlas Vending, the band’s fourth full-length album, sounds massive, articulate, and earnest.
Vinyl preorders in the UK and Europe from select independent retailers will receive the Loser Edition on light rose colored vinyl. A new t-shirt design is available as well. And in Canada, Atlas Vending will be available from Royal Mountain Records.