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The Underside of Power

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by Algiers

Feature Records for the week beginning Mon 3 Jul 2017

Algiers The Underside of Power (PBS Feature Record)
Algiers are a band that is transatlantic in more ways than one – members based on two continents, with a sound that somehow draws as much on gospel and northern soul as it does on goth and gloomy UK post-punk. It’s fitting then, with the political events of the last 12 months that their second album The Underside of Power seems very much a response to rise of Trump and the fall of a united Europe. The result is a release that is more cohesive than their eponymous 2015 debut, while expanding into new sonic territory.

It’s hard to imagine a more disparate grouping of styles being so successfully mashed together, and on paper it sounds like a terrible idea to do so – gospel, soul, post-punk, even elements of grime and trap? It really should be abhorrent. Vocalist Franklin Fisher is the glue for these mismatched elements, and production from Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Gruff Rhys) certainly doesn’t hurt, with programmed drums and samples sitting effortlessly alongside live instrumentation.

Thematically, The Underside of Power tackles all the poignant issues of late capitalism – institutionalised racism and the Black Lives Matter movement, our crumbling systems of governance and the rise of crypto-fascism, and importantly, how to remain human and keep your resolve among this mess. It doesn’t always make for easy listening, but it is an incredibly compelling response to the apparent hopelessness of the Brexit-Trump era.

Kardajala Kirridarra Kardajala Kirridarra (featured on The Breakfast Spread)
Kardajala Kirridarra directly translates to ‘Sandhill Women’... Kardajala is the name of the mysterious bush woman from the sand hills behind the community of Marlinja.

The band Kardajala Kirridarra who are the descendants of this mysterious bush woman consist of strong women from the Northern Territory communities of Marlinja and Kulumindini (Elliott). Melding the contemporary with the traditional, the music they create is sung in both Mudburra and English and tells the story of the connection between Aboriginal women and country as a reminder about the importance of women as creators.

The songs have been specifically created to empower women in all aspects of their role as creators from young girls through to being mothers and grandmothers.

This collaboration has focused on honouring language and culture and Kardajala Kirridarra sing in both Mudburra and English. This has been an opportunity for the band to give life to the language of their ancestors through poetry and song and it is a powerful example of the synergy between traditional and contemporary Australian Indigenous music and the importance of sharing language and culture.

The band was brought together by the Barkly Regional Council’s National award winning ‘Barkly Desert Cultures’ Multimedia program. A youth Diversion program aimed at using music and film to express stories and social issues of young people living in the Barkly Region of the NT. It brought Beatrice to the Marlinja where she met Eleanor and there they connected over Bjork, bush medicine and a mutual love of Larlija (tea) and music.

From these early days till now the band have gone on to win an NT Song of the Year award in the folk category, performed at Golden Plains Festival, Wide Open Spaces and Barunga Festival and were the first all-female band to perform at Bush Bands Bash in 2016.

This week's Top 10: 
Algiers - The Underside of Power
Kardajala Kirridarra - Kardajala Kirridarra
Floating Points - Reflections: Mojave Desert
Terry - Remember Terry
Joyce Prescher - Home
Gian Slater & Hieronymous - Where The Rest Of The World Begins
Various Artists - Closed Circuits: Australian Alternative Electronic Music of the 70s & 80s Vol. 1.
Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
Hello Satellites - Bright Face

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