It would be difficult to argue there’s a more influential band in Austin right now ahead of Riders Against the Storm. The husband and wife duo of Chaka and Qi Dada are at the forefront of Austin’s progressive movement helping lead the city’s music industry into the future. Music, art, fashion, you name it…the three-time AMA Band of the Year does it all. Last Friday, RAS dropped their most provocative video yet…I know, I know…that’s a bold statement for this thought-provoking group. ‘Mali‘ gives homage to the forces/spirits bringing us back, and resurrecting us from the ‘dead,’ explains Qi Dada. ‘Mali follows two souls trapped in torture and humiliation tactics used on enslaved Blacks. The song and video is a statement about being recognized in the world beyond your trauma, and walking with a healthy arrogance, confidence, and self-realized power in the world.’
I have no idea how I’ve slept on Portugal. The Man for so long. But, I’m woke now. A few months back the ‘Lords of Portland’ dropped a fresh video for ‘Noise Pollution’ off of their upcoming album Gloomin + Doomin. Filmed in Alaska with director Michael Ragen, the psychedelic video features Zoe Manville and Mary Elizabeth Winstead along with an unconventional ‘chest day’ routine. The video was posted with the following message from the band:
“It’s been a rough month y’all.
Not to be dramatic and shit, but there’s a flood of noise right now that feels like it might drown us all. And it’s harder and harder to tell what’s fact, what’s opinion, and what’s just straight up bullshit.We’re not able to make sense of it, much less tell you how to make sense of it. Thank God there’s music for that. We’ve been working on a new record with your boy Michael Diamond for awhile, but we made a quick stop in Alaska with filmmaker Michael Ragen to shoot this video. Seemed like the right time to show it to you. We’re in this together.”
You can’t talk about Houston hip-hop without mentioning Lil Keke. The legend that gave Houston its ‘Southside’ anthem has been putting it down for the 713 since 96’. Twenty-one years after he pimped the pen on 3 N The Mornin’, Don Ke is still one of the most versatile lyricists in the game. He proves with just two versus on ‘After The Laughter’ that his flow hasn’t lost a step and he can still wreck a track. The video keeps it simple with the Herschelwood Hardhead front-and-center framed by the Houston skyline. That’s it. No fluff, no fillers, just Lil Keke and two scorching versus.
So, I just watched War Dogs this past weekend and although it proved to be a fairly entertaining way to kill two hours it was the closing credits that left the greatest impression. As Miles Teller’s character David Packouz finds himself alone in a Miami hotel room with a briefcase full of cash the screen goes black with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ ushering in the credits. This 1988 classic from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is hauntingly prophetic as the baritone vocals covers topics from AIDS, social problems, and relationship and religious issues.
Photo of Portugal. The Man by Phillip Leach