Album Review: Tairrie B, ‘Vintage Curses’

Vintage Curses coverArtist: Tairrie B
Album: Vintage Curses
Our Verdict: 10/10
Release date: 14th August
Find it at: Bandcamp
Review by: Graeme Blackwell

“Tairrie B is back with killer, innovative, old-school West Coast influenced hip hop album Vintage Curses.”

Let’s get the bullshit out of the way so that we can get to the good stuff, shall we? Right?

Right.

Tairrie B is 50. Get over it.
Tairrie B is white. Don’t like it? Go home, asshole.
Tairrie B is – gasp – a woman. Holy shit. What do you want for spotting that? A medal?

Newflash, bozos. Tairrie B knows who she is. It’s the skin she has lived in, loved in, laughed in and had beaten, battered and bruised on life’s journey. She’s still here. She’s still standing. She’s still fighting for her art and her truth. She owns it, and you won’t be able to hold that against her.

You got nothing good to say? Then shut the hell up and don’t say anything at all.

Okay. Glad that’s out of the way.

Tairrie B BTC video launch promo shot
Photo: Tour Bus Live

The good news for the rest of us is that Tairrie B is back with new solo rap album Vintage Curses and making killer, innovative, old-school West Coast influenced hip hop; music that is expertly realised with originality, depth and nuance; music that pays respect to those who have come before and lays the ground for those who will follow; music that is fiercely her own and true to both Tairrie and itself.

Once signed to N.W.A. lynchpin Eazy E’s Ruthless Records imprint Comptown Records, Tairrie B released her debut rap album The Power Of A Woman in 1990, a trailblazing slab of sedition containing plenty of skill, vim and vigor and one that paved the way for many female artists to follow.

Ultimately a move into the rap-metal hybrid band Manhole followed (later becoming Tura Satana), before the fully fledged metal behemoth of My Ruin emerged from the ashes at the turn of the new millennium. A 20 year, highly-acclaimed career as a screaming metal potentate was the result, fueled by the heavy riffs of the man who would later become her husband, Mick Murphy (who also co-produced and provided the live instrumentation found on Vintage Curses.)

But rather than fighting against each other, Tairrie’s experiences in both the hip hop and metal worlds work together to highlight the elements of their shared DNA, weaving together like a musical double-helix and knitting with her long-standing interest in the arcane and occult to create a whole new breed of sound; an as yet unidentified new species of rap.

Witness the mind-melting mesh of old-school beats with The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” in lead single “Beware The Crone”, The Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” in the relentless throb of “Wicked Witch Of The West Coast”, Frankie Valli’s “Grease” in the LA hymn “Sky Above, City Below” and – yes – even Cliff Richard’s “Devil Woman” in closing track “Devil May Care.” Sugarloaf, Dave Lee Roth and Pentagram make appearances elsewhere, and all of them could probably have learned a thing or two from Tairrie about re-inventing yourself with grace, credibility and a healthy dose of “fuck you” attitude.

Tairrie B July 2015
Photo: Samantha Davis, Rose & Rainbow Photography

But it’s not just the samples that delight. Lyrically, Tairrie is on excoriating form too, tackling her early career history (“Check your discs you’ll find me, but if ya don’t betta check your history. First dropped in nineteen ninety, one of a kind when Eazy signed me”), her time fronting some of metal’s finest bands (“The hair got blacker, the voice got deeper, I got stronger while they got weaker”), paying respect to the architects of the West Coast sound and name-checking female pioneers from music, art, poetry and the spirit realm. Sylvia Plath and Hecate are both very welcome here.

There’s equally deft wordplay on the themes of the “Witch” and the “Bitch” too, Tairrie reclaiming the maligned language of heavy magick and re-framing it as an empowering and positive force (she reworks “witch” as “Women In The Coven of Hip Hop”, just as she did the word “bitch” back in 1990, re-defining it as “Being In Total Control of Herself.”) Not for this woman the empty self-agrandising so apparent in much modern mainstream hip hop; rather the ownership of all that is thrown at her, both good and bad, and the ability to transform it in to something strong and powerful, both for herself and those who listen.

That’s not to say that Vintage Curses is relentlessly serious, dour or heavy-handed, though. The dynamics of the rhythm and flow of the album are infections in themselves, and anyone with a love of the old-school will likely find themselves unable resist either head or – for the more athletically minded – body popping to the carefully curated big beats, as well as smiling wryly at the electrifying original hooks and instrumentation (there’s genuine fun to be had listening to Mick Murphy, the Birds Of Satan’s Wiley Hodgden and Studio 606’s chief-engineer and Teenage Time Killers alumnus John Lousteau intoning “Beware the crone, just like Medusa she will turn you to stone!”, like harbingers of doom from some Olde English Hammer horror, during the chorus of the album’s first single.)

For all her extraordinary and accomplished work in the world of metal, Vintage Curses makes it hard to shake the feeling that Tairrie B’s heart-of-hearts still lies deeply in the world of rap and hip hop. The collection of songs has an otherworldly energy that is spellbinding in its intensity, and a close and careful listen to the work shows a depth of craft and skill that only comes with the kind of raw, passionate hard work and experience that flows from the belief that this is what you were born to do.

Tairrie B, wordslinger, truth-bringer, multi-faceted and mercurial maven bringing the heart back to hip hop, it’s fucking great to have you back.

Download Vintage Curses now on a ‘pay what you want’ basis from tairrieb.bandcamp.com

Read our interview with Tairrie B here

Connect with Tairrie B at:
Facebook: facebook.com/tairrieb
Twitter: twitter.com/tairrieb
Instagram: instagram.com/tairriebmurphy

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Scott Weiland to front new GN’R/Disturbed ‘megagroup’

AOA Band Shot Jan 2015

Former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland has revealed that he’s fronting a new “megagroup” featuring Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal and Disturbed bassist John Moyer.

Art Of Anarchy are set to release their debut album in the Spring, with the lineup being completed by guitarist Jon Votta and drummer Vince Votta.

A press release announcing the news says: “Poised to become one of the biggest new bands of 2015, Art Of Anarchy is redefining the rock supergroup. Meet the ‘megagroup’ — members are rock legends in their own right with over 150 million in sales.

“The band started out of an 18-year friendship between Bumblefoot and the Votta brothers, dating back to the local New York music scene. Art Of Anarchy have emerged as a band willing to eradicate musical borders in pursuit of something brilliant. It’s all about songwriting and musicianship, which the band proudly displays on its self-titled debut album.

“The band also sees Weiland returning to his hard rock roots with a harder-edged sound than any of his previous efforts.”

Jon Votta says: “This is the record I always dreamed of making since I started playing guitar.”

You can watch the band’s album teaser trailer below:

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Nightwish reveal Endless Forms Most Beautiful tracklist

Nightwish Band Dec 2014

Nightwish have confirmed the full tracklist for their forthcoming new album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful.

The album is slated for release on the 30th of March via Nuclear Blast. Lead single “Elan” is due for release in February.

The full tracklist for Endless Forms Most Beautiful is:

Nightwish Endless Forms Cover 640x64001. “Shudder Before The Beautiful”
02. “Weak Fantasy”
03. “Elan”
04. “Yours Is An Empty Hope”
05. “Our Decades In the Sun”
06. “My Walden”
07. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”
08. “Edema Ruh”
09. “Alpenglow”
10. “The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula”
11. “The Greatest Show On Earth”

The album is available to pre-order now in a variety of formats. The band will begin a world tour on the 9th of April.

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Napalm Death reveal new album package

Napalm Death - Apex Pred Cover-001

The generals of British grindcore, Napalm Death, have revealed the cover art and tracklist for their forthcoming new album.

Apex Predator – Easy Meat will be released in January via Century Media Records.

Says Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury: “There are many meanings that you could grab from the new album artwork, I think. But one is the representation of how our natural and most basic needs for happiness and communication are being stripped away by materialism and pre-packaged garbage – crap that we don’t need, filtered to us through the media via the mega-corporations with the goal to maintain the bloated bottom line of profit.

“It’s all just stuff that will be obsolete in six months time. And behind the scenes of course, modern day slavery is alive, well and obscured by this facade. It’s all an exercise in deceit to shower us with fake fulfilment, while the poor and underprivileged fall further by the wayside.”

Frontman Barney Greenway adds: “When you go into one of those places with nourishment in mind and you’re greeted with some miserable, artificially-enhanced foodstuff contained in a bleak little receptacle of industrial plastics, it doesn’t exactly inspire you.

“To then fill that plastic tray with the dregs of meat production, well, that is the ‘easy meat’ in the title – representing the people who suffer for burgeoning consumption degraded and dumped in the most pitiful way.”

The full tracklist for Apex Predator – Easy Meat is as follows:

Napalm-Death-Apex-Predator-Easy-Meat01. “Apex Predator – Easy Meat”
02. “Smash A Single Digit”
03. “Metaphorically Screw You”
04. “How The Years Condemn”
05. “Stubborn Stains”
06. “Timeless Flogging”
07. “Dear Slum Landlord…”
08. “Cesspits”
09. “Bloodless Coup”
10. “Beyond The Pale”
11. “Stunt Your Growth”
12. “Hierarchies”
13. “One-Eyed”
14. “Adversarial/Copulating Snakes”

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UK doom rockers Clan sign with Bilocation Records

Clan Band Shot

UK based blues/doom trio Clan have signed with Bilocation Records for the physical release of their debut album, Witchcraft.

The album was recorded by the band – featuring guitarist and vocalist Matt Pearce, bassist Matt Rabong and drummer Ben Giller – using their own studio, equipment and production knowledge.

Said Bilocation in a statement announcing the news: “Their mixture of vintage hard rock and blues rock sounds and modern heavy rock elements has totally inspired us at the Bilocation/Kozmik headquarter! The release will be prepared now for a top notch vinyl sound and expanded gatefold artwork. The release is targeted for early 2015.”

The band played a killer support slot in the summer as part of LA metal legends My Ruin’s last ever UK show in Norwich. Trust us, you’ll be wanting to add Witchcraft to your collection as soon as possible. Watch this space for further news.

Witchcraft
is available in digital format now via Clan’s bandcamp page.

The full tracklist for the album is as follows:

Clan Witchcraft Cover01. “No Fairytale”
02. “War Paint”
03. “First Step”
04. “Leave It Be”
05. “Vultures”
06. “Little Headaches”
07. “Great Golden Sun”
08. “Life To Death”
09. “The Aging Wizard”
10. “The Death Of Witchcraft”

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