Mat Ward

A Breath Of Stale Air
Local Resident Failure
Pee Records
Released June, 2012
peerecords.com

Newcastle punks Local Resident Failure are heavier than Clive Palmer, tighter than Gina Rinehart and have just dropped a motherlode of a debut album.

But the analogies with Australia's mining fat cats end there. A Breath Of Stale Air spits gobfuls of bile at right-wingers, from the mainstream media to racist rednecks - not least on "Every Day's A Holiday On Christmas Island", the band's scathing condemnation of xenophobia.

A Rough Guide To The Dark Side
Daniel Simpson
Zero Books
Release date: August 31
www.roughguidedarkside.com

Most mainstream media journalists would kill to get one of their stories on the front page of The New York Times. But when that happened to the newspaper's Balkans correspondent in 2003, he was less than thrilled.

Daniel Simpson had already resigned in disgust at the paper's support for starting wars, and was serving out his notice. He had reached what he calls "a mirrored ceiling" in his career.

Black Sheep of The American Dream
Death By Stereo
Released April 24, 2012
Viking Funeral Records
http://deathbystereo.com/

Californian hardcore punk band Death By Stereo have long been known for their politically charged lyrics, energising the scene with their debut If Looks Could Kill, I'd Watch You Die 13 years ago.

Standing Strong
Yung Warriors
Payback Records
Released April 2012
http://www.yungwarriors.com.au

"We wanted to do everything on this album," Tjimba Possum-Burns tells Green Left Weekly. He is talking about Standing Strong, the aptly-titled second album by Yung Warriors.

On the record, the Aboriginal hip hop crew he fronts with his cousin, Danny "D-Boy" Ramzan, take listeners on a journey from hard-hitting politics to straight-up party tracks.

Forever Sky'high
Sky'high
Elefant Traks
Released May 25, 2012
Stream the whole album at:
www.skyhighforever.com

Rapper Sky'high is a strong, Black woman surrounded by strong, Black women. "This is correct," she tells Green Left Weekly. "My family's full of strong, Black women."

But when asked if there are any strong men in her family, she replies: "My father and brothers' father both passed away."

Sky'high
Forever Sky'high
Elefant Traks
Released May 25, 2012
Stream the whole album at:
http://www.skyhighforever.com/

Rapper Sky'high is a strong, Black woman surrounded by strong, Black women. "This is correct," she tells Green Left Weekly. "My family's full of strong, Black women."

But when asked if there are any strong men in her family, she replies: "My father and brothers' father both passed away."

Mark Stewart
The Politics Of Envy
Future Noise Music
Released March, 2012
http://www.markstewartmusic.com/

"Genius and lunatic are two sides of the same coin," says Mark Stewart. The post-punk pioneer is telling Green Left Weekly about "Method to The Madness", a song on his star-studded new CD, The Politics Of Envy.

But he could just as easily be talking about dub-reggae doyen Lee Scratch Perry, Clash co-founder Keith Levene or mindbending moviemaker Kenneth Anger, all of whom appear on the album.

Or he could, of course, be talking about himself.

On June 16, 2012, an all-female line-up of artists put on a Sydney gig to raise funds for women prisoners after funding for the charity Sisters Inside was cut by the Liberal state government in Queensland. Green Left TV spoke to event organiser Shannon Hall and Aboriginal rappers Naomi Wenitong, of The Last Kinection, and Sky'high.

Fans of Aboriginal rapper Caper may see his failure to secure a record deal as a mystery.

After all, he has made global news headlines, got his promo videos on national television, become a daytime radio favourite and even had an award-winning documentary made about him.

But Caper, also known as Colin Darcy, sees plenty of reasons.

"Man, it’s hard to make it as a rapper and it’s harder to make it if you’re a rapper who is Aboriginal," he tells Green Left Weekly.

Fans of Aboriginal rapper Caper may see his failure to secure a record deal as a mystery.

After all, he has made global news headlines, got his promo videos on national television, become a daytime radio favourite and even had an award-winning documentary made about him.

But Caper, also known as Colin Darcy, sees plenty of reasons.

"Man, it’s hard to make it as a rapper and it’s harder to make it if you’re a rapper who is Aboriginal," he tells Green Left Weekly.

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