Algiers -- The Underside of Power

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New album announced a few days back, and here's a mere snippet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwxUiEiXpck

So here's the thing:

I was lucky enough to be sent an early advance about a month back. Of course I was very excited to hear it, that's one thing. It's something else to start listening to it and just spend the rest of the time just concentrating ON listening to it, which happens more rarely (for me at least) than you might think.

This is a vivid, immediate and deep album that I needed as a listen given the state of the world right now, and I needed it more than I realized. It would be very glib to call it, say, anti-Trump or anti-Brexit -- it is very much both these things but it's a lot more than that as well, it pulls off the trick of angry structural critique on many levels and thoroughly great, layered and thoughtful music in equal measure, and there are going to be inevitable comparisons to What's Going On and It Takes a Nation of Millions. For once, those will work, though. And Franklin Fisher is absolutely KILLING it vocally throughout.

More on all this later, but right now, my album of the year, because if something's going to be better than this, whoever it is will have to be working damn hard. And I am ridiculously envious of those European audiences that get to see them open for Depeche.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 15:53 (three years ago) link

oh shiiit

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:12 (three years ago) link

Looking forward to this, but the title is very hair metal/Spinal Tap.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:27 (three years ago) link

The title is key to the album, and is not a joke.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:36 (three years ago) link

Oh, I know it's not a joke. It's just funny. Very "The Smell of Fear."

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:43 (three years ago) link

that's a lot of pictures of rappers

blonde redheads have more fun (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:44 (three years ago) link

There's a reason. (Had a chance to read over some notes all four members wrote up for each song -- they are extremely perceptive and focused, I'll add -- and Fisher's own notes on the origin of the lyric are cutting as hell.)

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:54 (three years ago) link

How does it compare to their debut?

MarkoP, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:56 (three years ago) link

Absolutely next level. This is them building on their strengths brilliantly, taking them any number of different directions.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:59 (three years ago) link

Can't help but think that Matt Tong made the right decision.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 18:01 (three years ago) link

um wow

Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 18:07 (three years ago) link

Okay I'm ready for this

del esdichado (NickB), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 19:04 (three years ago) link

A new snippet from the title track...

https://twitter.com/AlgiersMusic/status/857254074000998401

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 13:50 (three years ago) link

Plus a quieter moment from elsewhere on the album

https://twitter.com/AlgiersMusic/status/856531455043915776

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 13:51 (three years ago) link

Mental screwup on my part -- that one snippet isn't from the title track, but another song. Carry on.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 13:54 (three years ago) link

YES YES YES!!!

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Thursday, 27 April 2017 13:54 (three years ago) link

And here we go -- full video for the title track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGZXzmM1smM

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 14:25 (three years ago) link

Tracklisting:

1. Walk Like A Panther

2. Cry Of The Martyrs

3. The Underside Of Power

4. Death March

5. A Murmur. A Sign.

6. Mme Rieux

7. Cleveland

8. Animals

9. Plague Years

10. A Hymn For An Average Man

11. Bury Me Standing

12. The Cycle/The Spiral: Time to Go Down Slowly

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 14:31 (three years ago) link

And now that they've announced this, you can kinda guess even further why this blew my mind when I got the first advance:

Produced by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ali Chant, mixed by Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))), with post-production by Ben Greenberg (Hubble, Uniform)

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 14:33 (three years ago) link

this song is amazing... like, it's even more Algiers than Algiers. The Northern Soul thing is amplified but it threatens to be drowned under layers and layers of harsh noise. I fricking love it and it's easily better than anything off the first album (which is saying something)

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Thursday, 27 April 2017 14:43 (three years ago) link

seriously, this has made my day

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Thursday, 27 April 2017 15:15 (three years ago) link

And believe me, this is just a taste of the album's real range.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 15:49 (three years ago) link

Damn, this song is so good. That bassline, my god...sounds like "Disco Inferno"

passionate plant-based athlete (voodoo chili), Thursday, 27 April 2017 16:56 (three years ago) link

holy shit that song's incredible

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 27 April 2017 19:42 (three years ago) link

Nice track.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 27 April 2017 20:00 (three years ago) link

The song is good enough I can easily imagine it becoming a left field hit and me hating everyone walking around listening to Algiers. (If I'm being honest.)

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 April 2017 20:21 (three years ago) link

Personally I'd love nothing better than everyone walking around etc.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 April 2017 20:34 (three years ago) link

I'd feel very happy for the band.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 April 2017 20:50 (three years ago) link

Damn, this song is so good. That bassline, my god...sounds like "Disco Inferno"

― passionate plant-based athlete (voodoo chili)

not sure if you mean the song or the band!

i don't get the notion of resenting the popularity of a band i love. maybe because it's so rare. i'm never going to be like "oh god look at all these bandwagon jumpers listening to the insensible eggs".

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Thursday, 27 April 2017 21:40 (three years ago) link

I don't resent it at all. But I do get tired of hearing stuff sometimes, and when everyone else is listening to the same thing it (selfishly) impairs my own enjoyment. Like, I can't think of the last time I played Phoenix. (sorry Phoenix)

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 April 2017 21:50 (three years ago) link

xp the song (hence the quotes), but lol

passionate plant-based athlete (voodoo chili), Thursday, 27 April 2017 21:51 (three years ago) link

Josh, when these guys blow up you can make fun of the song by calling it The Underpants of Power or something

passionate plant-based athlete (voodoo chili), Thursday, 27 April 2017 21:52 (three years ago) link

many options available to you. including continuing to listen to them.

passionate plant-based athlete (voodoo chili), Thursday, 27 April 2017 21:52 (three years ago) link

I don't resent it at all. But I do get tired of hearing stuff sometimes, and when everyone else is listening to the same thing it (selfishly) impairs my own enjoyment. Like, I can't think of the last time I played Phoenix. (sorry Phoenix)

― Josh in Chicago

man i can't remember the last time i listened to phoenix either. i think i will listen to "wolfgang amadeus phoenix" now. (honestly if they hadn't broken through i probably never would have heard them, considering i didn't mess with "buzz" indie during the time period in question.)

i guess i haven't ever really had that experience, of seeing a band where i'm the only person on the block who knows about them, to the point where i think of them as "my" band, starts getting played in chain restaurants as background music. but i also don't have that sense of possessiveness, of thinking of a band as "my" band.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Thursday, 27 April 2017 22:02 (three years ago) link

That said, there is nothing I like better than a good band that gets the success it deserves (like Spoon, Phoenix, the xx, etc., and hopefully Algiers). It's neat when meritocracy works. Though just a few years when the same five or so albums ended up on the top of so many year end lists, I presume for being good albums, many on ilx mocked them and the publications that praised them, but I suppose that's ilx for you.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 April 2017 22:08 (three years ago) link

couple of uk tour dates announced as a warm up to the depeche mode shows:

Jun 06 Patterns / Brighton, United Kingdom
Jun 07 Shacklewell Arms / London, United Kingdom

http://algierstheband.com/

del esdichado (NickB), Friday, 28 April 2017 09:26 (three years ago) link

this song is so so good.. I can't believe...

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Friday, 28 April 2017 10:57 (three years ago) link

pre ordered the vinyl

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Friday, 28 April 2017 11:02 (three years ago) link

i don't like this quite as much as Black Eunuch from the debut but this is very promising

ufo, Friday, 28 April 2017 11:31 (three years ago) link

apaprently DM is touring with Warpaint and not Algiers for most of North America :/

a landlocked exclave (mh), Friday, 28 April 2017 13:59 (three years ago) link

i don't get the notion of resenting the popularity of a band i love. maybe because it's so rare. i'm never going to be like "oh god look at all these bandwagon jumpers listening to the insensible eggs".

― increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:40 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I don't resent it at all. But I do get tired of hearing stuff sometimes, and when everyone else is listening to the same thing it (selfishly) impairs my own enjoyment. Like, I can't think of the last time I played Phoenix. (sorry Phoenix)

― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:50 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

um guys...like i wouldn't really worry too much about having to hear algiers from every passing car this summer

blonde redheads have more fun (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 28 April 2017 14:03 (three years ago) link

nice song. The chorus has a "Get Ready" sound to it.

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Friday, 28 April 2017 14:09 (three years ago) link

apaprently DM is touring with Warpaint and not Algiers for most of North America :/

Yup, that's what I've learned too. Pity, but I can't wait for the standalone tour. (And I like Warpaint so everyone wins.)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 28 April 2017 14:25 (three years ago) link

Yeah, no big deal, I was just hopeful

a landlocked exclave (mh), Friday, 28 April 2017 14:27 (three years ago) link

I really like Warpaint but they were a muddled mess when I saw them open for Nick Cave

blonde redheads have more fun (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 28 April 2017 15:00 (three years ago) link

nice series of opening gigs they've got there

a landlocked exclave (mh), Friday, 28 April 2017 15:09 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

this has leaked. holy shit.

Cyborg Kickboxer (rushomancy), Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:40 (three years ago) link

Well that's highly unfortunate. (I mean, yes, it is great, but c'mon, a month out?)

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:50 (three years ago) link

three weeks pass...

New single "Cleveland" is out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xDDCxodgIs

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 14:35 (three years ago) link

^^^^tune

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 15:05 (three years ago) link

ok wtffffff pitchfork

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Saturday, 1 July 2017 06:26 (three years ago) link

imo this is their dumbest pan since....idek when?

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Saturday, 1 July 2017 06:35 (three years ago) link

this sounds like the black keys or something... who knew the combined forces of bloc party and portishead could fail to excite...

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Saturday, 1 July 2017 07:16 (three years ago) link

I like it. Title track particularly.

michaellambert, Saturday, 1 July 2017 11:13 (three years ago) link

Weird missing the point apex of the (tbf not really a pan) review: "Algiers have produced a record that is timely and necessary but also scatterbrained and messy."

Well, yeah.

Just the list of proper names and other references in the review underscores the album's achievements: Black Panthers and Fred Hampton, Che Guevara, Camus’ The Plague, T.S. Eliot, Italian zombie exploitation flicks and horror film disco, PiL, Michael Stipe, Walter Benjamin, Jamaican soul, Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow, Geto Boys, Afrika Bambaataa, grime, footwork, Portishead, Wendy Carlos, Donny Hathaway, the Shangri-Las, Delia Derbyshire, Bad Brains, the Clash, Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, Fishbone, Dicks. That's one heck of a RIYL.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 1 July 2017 14:54 (three years ago) link

this sounds like the black keys or something

What in the absolute hell

I think it's fair to call that a pan. There's no unqualified praise for even a single track.

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Saturday, 1 July 2017 15:02 (three years ago) link

It's a pan only in the not generic 7.8 or BNM sense. Reads to me like a mixed review, no unqualified praise or no. There's also no unqualified dismissal of anything either, is there? Anyway, if I were Joe Wannabuyanalbum, I'd be more inclined to listen to this one based on this review than listen to something more positively received.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 1 July 2017 15:57 (three years ago) link

yeah but joe wannabuyanalbum only looks at the score these days

black covfefe in bed (voodoo chili), Saturday, 1 July 2017 16:02 (three years ago) link

idk even if i thought this was an ambitious album that didn't quite pull off what it was aiming for, i wouldn't have slapped it with a score under 6, that's some contrarianist bullshit

black covfefe in bed (voodoo chili), Saturday, 1 July 2017 16:03 (three years ago) link

Sort of what I mean. If anything, the review (the words) does a pretty good job explaining all the album has going for it, even if the writer doesn't think it pulls it off. That's what the review is for, and why (as silly as numbers are) the review reads (to me) more like a 7.x that explains why it's not higher than a 5.x which doesn't quite nail why its arbitrary number is so low.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 1 July 2017 16:06 (three years ago) link

First listen to this a few weeks ago damn near blew me away but returns felt like the individual songs were lacking a bit, especially Walk Like A Panther as an opener. Title track and Animals jumped out as being more than just polemic and bluster, but wasn't convinced by the rest.

However, going back to it this morning on the walk to work, it's stronger than I remember. Maybe not quite hitting me as hard as some so far, but getting there. The placement of the two instrumental tracks near the end feels strategically strong to me; it gives enough pause for things to kick back in so you don't feel bludgeoned (even though you are being!).

I think Black Eunuch and Blood are pretty much as good as anything on here, but other than that this is definitely a step up.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 10 July 2017 09:31 (three years ago) link

Yeah I was blown away and now I've given it a bit of a break and ready to go back to it soon. Still think the title track is an absolute worldbeater. Animals is the one that sounds like Ministry (in a good way) and overall it's really great. There are just one or two tension-diffusing moments towards the second side that aren't interesting enough to keep my mind from wandering.

Shat Parp (dog latin), Monday, 10 July 2017 10:23 (three years ago) link

I'm trying to think of what specific 80s band Mme Rieux sounds like. Not sure how much I like it. There's something just slightly cheesy or obviously melodramatic about that one.

Shat Parp (dog latin), Monday, 10 July 2017 10:24 (three years ago) link

Full video for "Cleveland"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FhcJTqJm98

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 13:42 (three years ago) link

This is quite an improvment on their debut, huh?

chap, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 13:54 (three years ago) link

Hymn For an Average Man is a highlight.

chap, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 14:40 (three years ago) link

I would kill for them to hit TO but it doesn't seem to be in the cards

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Tuesday, 18 July 2017 13:28 (three years ago) link

Hell, Chicago isn't even currently on their tour schedule.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 13:41 (three years ago) link

It's possible they're avoiding places they hit with Depeche? idk

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Tuesday, 18 July 2017 14:13 (three years ago) link

DM is touring with Warpaint in Chicagoland

mh, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 14:16 (three years ago) link

Nope, Warpaint opening here. So no idea!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 14:16 (three years ago) link

xpost!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 14:16 (three years ago) link

Direct quote from their publicist when I asked about Chicago: "I know wtf!?"

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 14:39 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

Bunch of new tour dates. They're playing a tiny square box in TO (the Baby G) and I could not be more excited.

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Tuesday, 22 August 2017 20:49 (three years ago) link

Go forth and rock.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 20:51 (three years ago) link

And here's the full thing -- including Chicago, so there ya go Josh

http://algierstheband.com/live/

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:19 (three years ago) link

Yeah, Empty Bottle, nice n little!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:29 (three years ago) link

I'm both depressed and excited by how small these venues are, the one in TO is like 150 capacity tops

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 24 August 2017 14:13 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

Meantime here's a new tape/download

https://algierstheband.bandcamp.com/

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 30 September 2017 16:50 (two years ago) link

I adore this record, one of my favourites from this year, but I wish it was less compressed. The squished dynamics aesthetic works in some places, but a DR of 5 or 6 doesn't lend itself nicely to listening on headphones.

ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Saturday, 30 September 2017 19:38 (two years ago) link

three months pass...

between these guys, Zeal & Ardor and Here Lies Man, there seems to be a kind of micro-trend in this kind of metal-industrial/traditional black music fusion thing. I'm not sure how good those other two bands are, but why now?

Badgers (dog latin), Friday, 19 January 2018 14:44 (two years ago) link

why not now?

mh, Friday, 19 January 2018 16:04 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waiwJ5rW4xw

new single which is a sort of spoken word response to criticism of the band over a free jazz freakout? it's cool

ufo, Tuesday, 27 August 2019 15:34 (one year ago) link

more info from Matador:

ALGIERS have released a collaborative audiovisual piece, “Can the Sub_Bass Speak?”, a new work from the band and production duo Randall Dunn and Ben Greenberg. The new piece pits charged language and free jazz collage by ALGIERS multi-instrumentalist Franklin James Fisher, saxophonics pioneer Skerik and drummer D’Vonne Lewis against a maelstrom of visuals by award-winning filmmaker Sam Campbell and typographer Farbod Kokabi.

Inspired by a chance encounter with artists Moor Mother and Harrga at Wysing Polyphonic in 2018, “Can the Sub_Bass Speak?” contorts ALGIERS’ post-punk deconstruction of racial and class sonic politics into new collaborative directions. “Can the Sub_Bass Speak?” is the centerpiece of a larger web installation thereisnoyear

There are some new UK/euro dates as well

Simon H., Tuesday, 27 August 2019 15:38 (one year ago) link

Looking forward even more to the new album now.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 27 August 2019 15:39 (one year ago) link

Has there been any indication that's forthcoming?

Simon H., Tuesday, 27 August 2019 15:53 (one year ago) link

new single which is a sort of spoken word response to criticism of the band

And that goes for all of you punks in the press
That want to start shit by printin' lies instead of the things we said
That means you andy secher at hit parader, circus magazine
Mick wall at kerrang, bob guccione jr. at spin
What you pissed off 'cause your dad gets more pussy than you?
Fuck you! suck my fuckin' dick!
You be rippin' off the fuckin' kids
While they be payin' their hard earned money to read about the bands they want to know about
Printin' lies, startin' controversy
You want to antagonize me? antagonize me motherfucker!
Get in the ring motherfucker! and I'll kick your bitchy little ass! punk!!
I don't like you, I just hate you
I'm gonna kick your ass, oh yeah! oh yeah!
You may not like our integrity yeah
We built a world out of anarchy oh yeah!

j., Tuesday, 27 August 2019 16:00 (one year ago) link

xpost -- Per J's post, it'll be a note-for-note cover of both Use Your Illusions.

(Actual answer: I'm not positive it's totally done but I'm pretty sure it is, and there have been quiet rumblings that it's en route -- no idea whether it'll be before the end of the year or not, though.)

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 27 August 2019 16:35 (one year ago) link

enjoyed this, wonder if the whole album will be a bit like it

imago, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 10:04 (one year ago) link

not heard this yet but i do find 'Whaaa we've been misquoted by the meeja' songs tedious on the whole

frame casual (dog latin), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 11:14 (one year ago) link

i tend to agree but this sounds cool enough and is delivered compellingly enough for me to forgive that

ufo, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 11:15 (one year ago) link

I am listening to this song now and a) it rules, and b) I do not think this is addressing criticism of the band as such

brigadier pudding (DJP), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 16:39 (one year ago) link

like, I don't think anyone is telling the two white members of the band that they aren't real niggas, like that Chris Rock sketch

brigadier pudding (DJP), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 17:25 (one year ago) link

the reference of the title btw for those who dont know https://cup.columbia.edu/book/can-the-subaltern-speak/9780231143851

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:10 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

I'm listening to "Can The Sub-Bass Speak?" again and I am impressed with the level of restraint I showed here in responding to the description of the song

totally unnecessary bewbz of exploitation (DJP), Wednesday, 8 January 2020 22:11 (eight months ago) link

one of my tracks of the year, easily, but first time I've read that description and fucking hell

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 8 January 2020 22:13 (eight months ago) link

The new album is quite lovely, BTW; my review of it runs next week I believe.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 January 2020 22:58 (eight months ago) link

there's really a lot going on in "can the sub-bass speak?" so my apologies for not capturing all its intricacies in a very brief description upon first listen

ufo, Thursday, 9 January 2020 04:53 (eight months ago) link

but ill maintain that critical attempts to pigeonhole the bands music etc. is one of the many things it does address

ufo, Thursday, 9 January 2020 04:55 (eight months ago) link


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