There are 6m postcodes in London, what's happening in yours?
Published November 20th 2017
Simon Cowell's got nothing on this lot
Not that long after I left uni, I wrote for a Zine called Toy Pirate, which showcased some of the best stuff under the cultural Radar every month. I even saw Klaxon's second gig in a basement, which was lucky of me to witness a minor movement in British cultural history, the birth of New Rave and the blurring of rave, rap, indie first hand. Question is, will we see a movement that will have the same impact as punk had, or is British youth culture coming to a point where it's run its course and is going to be superseded by Asia?
Fortunately, the next wave of culture warriors is out on the attack and they're profiled in the second part of this special article. They're coming in stealthily and ready to drop their sonic payload at a pub near you.
This excellent blend of punk, soul, funk, metal and psychedelia is state of The Art Afropunk that mixes the heavy riffs of Sabbath and Motörhead with the funk of Sly and The Family Stone at its best, with the multicultural collage the lead singer, Yinka's, of south London. His song, 'Sometimes The Streets of South London Remind Me of Brooklyn' encapsulates this with deadly accuracy. Even I agree with the sentiment, as you have Polish shops selling Polish sausage to Irishmen to make a stew while Nigerian Hi-Life plays on the radio, only to be followed by eurodance.
Yinka, my friend, you've really hit the nail on the head. This man could be the Jimi Hendrix of the Twenty-First Century.
Jean Genie's Massive Hugs
Jean Graham is a troubadour in the tradition of Joan Armatrading, David Bowie and Nick Drake, whom Bruno Wizard of The Homosexuals said that she articulated the dreams and aspirations of her generation in her ballads.
Her acoustic guitar really takes you in and blows your mind with the utter simplicity and passion that she articulates her generations dreams and aspirations.
Pink Diamond Revue
If you took Link Wray, Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and John Barry and put them together in a Soho strip joint in the early to mid-1960s, the end result of this would be The Pink Diamond Revue. Their mix of surf and blues guitars, B-Movie samples and analogue synths really capture the seedy underbelly of London that has long gone, but still resides in our unconscious. Their lead guitarist is a Soho native whose dad actually ran a strip joint when he was a kid, so it gave him rich pickings to draw upon.
If art is a window to other worlds, perhaps this is window to an alternate history where Soho is still going strong and psychedelic. A place where Quinten Crisp drops Acid with mods gone psychedelic and Peter Cook shares a spliff with a stripper, just not in the conventional manner. Perhaps this is an alternate future too.
The Fish Police
One of the funniest bands to come out of south London, The Fish Police are the brainchild of Dean Rodney. Mixing hip-hop, funk and hilarious lyrics about Chicken Nuggets for tea, anime, superheroes, cartoons, video games and south London life, Dean Rodney could be the English Wesley Willis. As part of the Heart 'N' Soul collective in Deptford, he's one of London's finest underground musicians, not to mention a visionary one too.
He once had a dream about a band with 72 members, but when he asked who they were, they replied: "We're DRS." Then it struck him, they were the band he wanted to make. Comprising of 72 collaborators from Germany, Brazil, Croatia, China and Japan, The Dean Rodney Singers were born for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, with the help of Heart 'N' Soul and Goldsmiths College.
One of the wittiest songwriters of The Heart 'N' Soul Collective is Nathan Persad, whose sixties-inspired tunes recall the British Invasion and Carnaby Street. In an alternate version of history, he could've been Brian Wilson, but his songwriting is one of the best and most underrated in London. His best song? Girl On The Spectrum, which is inspired by his own experiences with Asperger's Syndrome. It's no whingefest, but it's one of the wittiest songs you're going to hear all year.
This man is the Brian Wilson for our times.
Time to play my Wild Card
Although this article is five more cultural warriors to look out for in 2018, fighting mediocrity in British culture, I can't resist putting in a wild card: Deadcuts.
Deadcuts are a truly magickal music band who bring Killing Joke, The Birthday Party, Mega City Four and the eerie sounds of post-punk kicking and screaming like a sacrificial lamb into the twenty-first century with eerie guitars and almost ritualistic atmosphere that could summon the most evil aspects of the human psyche into our consciousness and make us wage battle against it, or question it.
They've worked with Brooklyn's Flatbush Zombies on a groundbreaking collaboration and Even Anthony Fantano of Needle Drop approves it. Have a listen for yourself.
If these are cultural warriors, Deadcuts are truly the special forces in the fight against the stranglehold hold on our culture held by Simon Cowell. The best way you can enlist is to go see them live, especially when the Fish Police are playing SXSW in 2018.