Iceland Airwaves 2022 – Day 3

We were still fighting off colds, so that forced us into a more chill mindset going into the last day of Airwaves. I made a trip down to Lucky Records around lunchtime to grab all the stuff they were holding for me and spent an hour or so back at hour place removing price stickers and getting all my purchases boxed and arranged for the trip home the following day. Man, this is a lot of stuff! But more on that in the next post.

We were back at Lucky later in the afternoon to see hip hop artist Cell7. This was our third time seeing her, and by far the best. She gave off a relaxed vibe and had some fun with the crowd, who had fun in return. If you haven’t checked out her 2019 release Is Anybody Listening? you need to track it down and give it a go. Her soul-infused style is exactly what we needed on a cold afternoon. In talking about the show later my buddy Ingvar, who has seen her perform way more times than me, he also noted it was the best he’d heard her.

There were some last-minute additions announced to the schedule at the Iceland Airwaves Center and one looked intriguing. PPBB describe themselves as “electro-funk”, and their debut track was titled “Shitballs”. Seemingly in contrast, however, their full name is the Post Performance Blues Band. So what to expect? Who knows, so I’m in!

And… I certainly didn’t expect this. It’s hard to explain the PPBB set. It was a blend of electro beats and performance art and avant garde and lyrics about the sensation of drinking and screaming about loving sorbet and a gold lame outfit and a member zipping herself up in a black bodysuit which included a full face mask then crawling on the floor through the crowd… So in other words, epic. I have no idea how the music comes across without the performance, but they have a few tracks on Spotify and you can be damn sure I will be checking them out.

After a quite home-cooked dinner in our rental apartment, we mustered enough energy for one more foray, walking down to Sirkus to see our friends from Revenge of Calculon play an off-off-venue set. Strolling into the joint it was looking very, very dead, with the band and their friend DJ Sue comprising about half the people in the room. But a few more folks made it down by showtime, including a pair of very well-dressed and very drunk 60+ year old local ladies who seemed to take a particular shine to bassist JC9000, and the guys played as if it was a packed house.

Hoodoo Fushimi – “ケンカおやじ” (“Kenka Oyaji”) (1987 / 2021)

I knew nothing about Hoodoo Fushimi when I grabbed this on an impulse the other day over at Seattle’s Selector Records, and despite repeated enjoyable listens, I still don’t know anything about the man. And I think I kind of like it that way.

Stylistically this reminds me a bit of the 1980s On-U sound, a blend of hip hop, electronica, disco, and funk, with some electric guitar thrown in for good measure. Honestly I have no idea what section I’m going to put this in, but I better remember where it is, because it’s going to be getting a lot more plays (though it does look to be on Spotify, along with Fushimi’s 1992 album Kusaya).

Originally put out in 1987, ケンカおやじ got the re-release treatment earlier this year, and we should all thank the vinyl gods for that because original pressings sell for hundreds of dollars. I paid about $30 for my copy, and it’s worth every cent.

Body Count – “Carnivore” (2020)

It seems fitting that a new Body Count album dropped in early 2020 given what a hot mess this year has been so far. COVID lockdowns, massive unemployment, over 100,000 dead in the US from the disease, and high-profile police killings followed by weeks of protests and riots. Frankly this is the perfect time for Ice-T and Body Count to arrive with Carnivore.

How many more innocent people and kids
Gotta get killed by these police, man
And then it’s always the victim’s fault
This is some fuckin’ bullshit

— “Point the Finger”

Lyrically Carnivore is similar to much of Ice-T’s hip hop output, filled with stories of crime, violence, and police brutality, with a thick layer of profanity spread over it like a glaze – the defiant rage is palpable, the only breather in the form of an “Ace of Spades” cover. Sonically it slips away from the thrash for which Body Count is primarily known, moving in more of a groove (or, dare I say it, “nu”) metal direction. Call it what you want – but whatever you call it, it’s heavy, and Ice-T’s seeming ability to vary his vocal style at will, sometimes mid-verse, allows every song to have its own unique flavor. Ice also does metal versions of two of his own classics, “Colors” and “6 In Tha Morning”, half-sung-half-rapped vocals driven on by metal rhythms and shredding guitars. The originals are in-your-face rage-fests that rail against, well, just about everyone. If you was starvin’, I wouldn’t fix you a hot bowl of shit. Even the ethereal contributions of Evanescence’s Amy Lee can’t take much of the edge off of tracks like “When I’m Gone”, instead sounding like a voice from beyond the grave and introducing a layer of melancholia to a rare introspective moment.

Overall I enjoyed Carnivore. My one criticism is that I’d like to hear more original stuff on here – with two self-covers and one originally by Motörhead we’re left with only eight originals. But that shouldn’t deter you if you’re a fan of Ice-T, because Carnivore delivers.

Tackhead – “En Concert” (1990)

I ran across this album while going down a Discogs rabbit hole a few weeks ago. There isn’t a lot of info about it online, but from what I can tell the recording is from a 1988 live Tackhead show in New York and it was pressed without the band’s approval. It sounds like only about 500 copies were made on vinyl, and there’s also a CD version from the same period. By all accounts it was never re-pressed, making it pretty scarce, and since it’s status is basically unofficial I figured it was only a matter of time until Discogs banned it from sale (currently the CD copy can’t be sold on the site but the vinyl can…), so I’d better jump on it while I could.

I have to admit that I had pretty low expectations for the sound quality – unofficial live albums are generally pretty marginal. So imagine my surprise when I dropped the needle on En Concert, because this thing sounds tremendous. The range is perfect – the lows are low and the highs are high, not exhibiting even the slightest bit of flatness. You can certainly tell it was recorded live, especially in the vocals, but I have to think this came direct from the soundboard because it’s so clean.

While I definitely enjoy Tackhead, I’m not super knowledgeable about individual tracks within their catalog. However, there are still some songs here I know, like “The Game” and “Ticking Time Bomb”, and I was caught off guard by the cool cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” on the B side.

I give En Concert a strong recommendation – it’s surprisingly good and reasonably priced based on what’s currently listed on Discogs. Get it while you can…

IndiaBoy & Pési-B – “The Rise of India” (2020)

With all the record stores closed I’ve been spending more time online looking for new and interesting music, and with Bandcamp offering specials that funnel profits to the artists or social causes quite a bit of my buying is happening there. Which is how I came to receive this CD copy of The Rise of India the other day. I’d originally run across the listing for it on Discogs and it intrigued me enough to go find and order it on Bandcamp.

I don’t know anything at all about this project other than that it’s based in Iceland. The artists describe their style as trap and that seems to fit as well as anything, the beats low and varying in tempo, the raps a bit languid and sticky as they coat the music in a layer of lyrical goo. The words are in Icelandic, though I find that doesn’t bother me especially with this more trap-like style where the flow and sounds are what I find most captivating. If I’m picking favorites I’d point you to the pair of “Ekkikan Et” and “Restinpeas Coby & Brian”. I’ve been playing this sucker non-stop since it arrived – definitely one of my favorite 2020 releases to date.

The first edition of the CD release is in an edition of 100. The packaging is a bit DIY, the booklet and inserts unevenly cut and the jewel case barely closing as a result. But that’s part of the charm. You can listen to the music and pick up the CD or a download on Bandcamp HERE, and it looks like there is also a limited edition (of one!) on clear vinyl as well.