Quick Spins: Street Sweeper Social Club's Self-Titled Debut

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Street Sweeper Social Club

This hard-hitting trio is the brainchild of two of pop music's most radical and outspoken advocates for social and economic justice, Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello and rapper Boots Riley of the Coup. Spurred by the militant cadences of Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, this self-titled debut is as incendiary and message-driven as anything the two men have done with their other bands, including Morello's work with rap-metal pioneers Rage Against the Machine.

"How much money can them bastards make?" seethes Riley, taking aim at stockbrokers and slumlords in "Megablast," his gibes cauterized by laserlike bursts from Morello's guitar. In "Fight! Smash! Win!" Riley bemoans an underemployed generation stuck working "McJobs." Meanwhile, over the serrated riffs and rat-a-tat beats of "The Squeeze," he spits, "World poverty has just gone platinum/unemployment checks/need to come with a gat in 'em," warning that if something doesn't give, people struggling on society's margins might start voting with their guns.

The prevailing mood here is one of resistance. And while some of the lyrics might come across as strident on paper, the profusion of hand claps and shout-along rhymes on these 11 tracks makes them feel like party music, with all of the connotations that phrase implies. "Dancin' in my kitchen/with Sly Stone's permission/Lit my ignition/cursing fascist apparitions" is how one song describes these irrepressible proceedings. "Promenade" even goes so far as to announce itself as "a new kinda square-dance rap," replete with a high-stepping chorus of "do-si-dos."

-- Bill Friskics-Warren

DOWNLOAD THESE: "Megablast," "Promenade," "Fight! Smash! Win!"

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