There are many people we can thank for the emergence of Rap Metal: Ice-T had his hardcore-metal band Body Count, Sir Mix-a-lot did a collaboration with Metal Church on a re-make of Sabbath’s Iron Man, but before any of those, in 1987, Anthrax released a tune called “I’m the Man” which was originally supposed to be a collaboration with the Beastie Boys and many people consider the first true rap metal tune. THIS however is the song that shot Rap Metal into the mainstream and inspired the epic Primus, Public Enemy and Anthrax tour in the early 90’s.
When Sam Dunn and Scott Mcfayden released their important documentary “Metal- A Headbangers’ Journey”, they introduced us to the “metal family tree” which they got a lot of feedback about…some good, some not so much…and they have expanded on in it in their new series Metal Evolution. Early Punk is a category in this metal family tree and is an important moment in the evolution of metal with bands like The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones who in 1983 did a cover of one of my favourite songs: Time Has Come Today by The Chambers Brothers.
Hardcore metal band “Poison the Well” were always sort of bubbling on the verge of happening but never quite broke through in the US; an amazing band currently on the dreaded “hiatus”. “Rubyblue” were an “almost was” all female pop group in the early 2000’s in the vein of Hanson but that never really panned out. These days, Derek Miller from Poison the Well and Alexis Krauss from Rubyblue make up the duo known as Sleighbells who since forming a few years ago have become the band that it’s really cool to like….until they hit the mainstream of course. Goddamn you cool police!
I’m pretty sure at this point we’ve seen just about every combination of musical genre which is never really weird until they are given an actual name. Like the idea of folk music being mixed with electronic seems totally fine to me but when I hear it called folktronica it makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. Luckily an artist like Beth Orton makes it OK again. She has collaborated with The Chemical Brothers and Ryan Adams and sounds perfectly comfortable in both of those worlds. Folktronica baby!
Paul Simon’s 1986 album Graceland is not only notable for it’s success: 14 million albums sold, album of the year at the Grammy’s, and still his most successful solo album to date-but also because of the cloud of controversy. At the time Simon was accused of breaking the cultural boycott against the apartheid regime in South Africa which resulted in a lot of backlash. Now, 25 years later, he has announced plans to revisit that album with a tour which will reunite him with musicians like Ladysmith Black Mambazo who helped him shape that album.
thanks for listening,