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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 103 - 02/24/05

Pedestrian
UnIndian Songs Vol. 1
Anticon

This is the first and possibly will be the only LP released by this forefather of underground rap label Anticon. Amid swarms of haters flocking from every crit-mag from Pitchfork to Urb, nearly the entire Anticon roster have steped up on this album. And what did they deliver? A timeless masterpiece for anyone smart enough to still care about these people a little more than The Neptunes and Timbaland.

"The subject of this evening, is death. That black train is coming", yells a preacher in a horse voice. The album opens with this found-recording. Unindian Songs is a soundtrack to alcoholism, drug problems, getting old and the inevitability of death. Yet, it manages to focus on the personal and the political with equal ferver. In "Lifelong Liquidation Sale", we're reminded that "every store keeps a close-out sale". On another track, the preacher returns, insanely bellowing while his congregation sings "glory, glory hallelujah".

Don't get me wrong though, this isn't a bleak album or one that can't be fun. It's just a matter of being able to smile with respect rather than stupidity (which is another kind of fun). There's a certain old-school-ness that crops up on this album: songs have long solos and sometimes as many as 3 or 4 distinct sections for the various people that are featured, and often all tonal backgrounds are completely dispensed with and just drums are used, giving an almost run-dmc-ish party sound.

"Arrest the President" features Sole and Jel, and is likely the best song on this album. An upbeat, traditional sounding beat backs lyrics that snear in the face of the current state of politics, among other things that need it: "Condeleeza Rice at a Chevron Desk". Wryly, this song samples "Heroes and Villans" off Brian Wilsons' Smile.

Interestingly, there is a song called "Anticon" on this album. An incredible almost thesis for the label, this just solidifies UnIndian Songs even more as an important underground release, and as the most important Anticon release in some time, probably since their very first days.

Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks e-mail address

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