One L-FRESH The LION Vienna People Recordings Released May 9, 2014 www.l-fresh.com Rapper L-FRESH The LION is as well known for his activism as he is for his music. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the Sydney-raised Sikh about his newly released debut album, One. * * *
The Snowden Files Luke Harding Random House February 2014 352 pages, $30 Luke Harding's The Snowden Files is a well-constructed overview of the biggest intelligence leak in history - but it is not without its flaws. The Guardian journalist tells a detailed story of Edward Snowden - from his childhood in a military, Republican family, his short education and brief, failed army career, to his meteoric rise through the intelligence services that eventually enabled him to turn whistleblower.
World View AWKWORD February 2, 2014 www.awkwordrap.com
Spoiled Indentity EP Iron Reagan Relapse Records April 1, 2014 Free download Radical punk-metal supergroup Iron Reagan have just released a free 13-track EP and are now playing it live across the US. Vocalist Tony Foresta and drummer Ryan Parrish answered some questions for Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward while they were driving to Dallas. ***
RAPtivism Aisha Fukushima March 2012 www.raptivism.bandcamp.com Travelling the world is a big enough challenge for most people, but Aisha Fukushima also managed to make a politically-charged hip-hop album while she did it. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the California-based "rap activist". *** You collaborated with rappers in the various countries you visited on your travels and emerged with a powerful album. Has your wanderlust been satisfied or do you have another similar album in the works?
The Show Will Go On Mau Power Coming soon www.maupower.com Mau Power's new album takes listeners through the big changes in his life - and the first of those came when he was jailed. "In 2001, I got incarcerated," the Torres Strait Islands rapper tells Green Left Weekly. "And that time I was in lock-up for nine months." Mau Power, also known as Patrick Mau, was put away for grievous bodily harm after a street fight in the southern Queensland country town of Toowoomba.
Necrocracy Exhumed Relapse Records Released August 6, 2013 www.relapse.com/exhumed Californian death metal band Exhumed couch their cutting politics in horror-themed lyrics. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to frontman Matt Harvey. ***
Hip Hop, White Supremacy & Capitalism: Why Corporations Infiltrated RAP Music Solomon Comissiong Released November 2013 www.solomoncomissiong.com The politics in early hip-hop music inspired Solomon Comissiong to become an activist, author, lecturer and film-maker. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to him about his work, which uses rap music as a tool to educate and organise. ***
Radical Dilemma Rebel Diaz Released December 4, 2013 www.rebeldiaz.bandcamp.com Rebel Diaz's much-anticipated debut album tackles a quandary faced by many activists - the "radical dilemma" of trying to change the system while being trapped in it. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the Bronx-based activist rap duo, made up of brothers RodStarz and G1. ***
Condemned To The System Nausea Willowtip Records Released January 7, 2014 www.facebook.com/nauseala
Kill the Power Skindred Released January 24, 2013 Touring Australia from Feb 22 to March 3 www.skindred.net Welsh ragga-punk-electronica festival favourites Skindred have hit back at all oppressors on their latest album, Kill The Power - and they're bringing their hard-hitting message to Australia with the touring Soundwave festival from February 22. Big-bearded guitarist Mikey Demus spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward. ***
Corrupt Fucking System Doom Black Cloud Records Released December 23, 2013 www.doomcrustpunk.com Outspoken British crust-punk pioneers Doom have a stonking new album out and are heading to Australia. Guitarist and founding member Brian Talbot, aka Bri Doom, spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward. ***
Invasion Day 2014 Mixtape Brisbane Blacks Released January 26, 2014 www.1stnationsmobb.bandcamp.com As countless Australians donned their Cronulla capes and sank slabs of piss this Australia Day, non-profit publication Brisbane Blacks marked the occasion by releasing a free album full of protest songs.
High Hopes Bruce Springsteen Columbia Released January 17, 2014 www.brucespringsteen.net A recent documentary on veteran US rocker Bruce Springsteen asked fans to describe their hero in three words. The responses, compiled in the film Springsteen & I, were fairly predictable: "Badass, sensitive, perfect"; "Hope, energy, power”; “Earnest, inspiring, intense” and so on. The non-Springsteen fans reading this could probably think of a few far less kind words. But if I were to choose three, they would be: "Open to interpretation."
Phoenix Jimblah Elefant Traks 2013 www.elefanttraks.com Most people fear fire, but Jimblah embraces it. The element flares up again and again in the rapper's searingly original work - from his first album, Face The Fire, to the one that just rose from its ashes, Phoenix.
Green Left Weekly is taking a break for the summer from December 11 to January 22. To fill the void, it asked staff, contributors and others to recommend their favourite books of the year. Rachel Evans Green Left Weekly writer, activist, organiser How to Make Trouble and Influence People By Iain McIntyre http://goo.gl/l7GOfx