Song of the Day: King Of The Town – Tokeo

Coming quickly off the back of their previous single ‘Bleak Moors’, Manchester punks TOKEO continue to explore the stark realities of life amongst Manchester’s forgotten mill towns on their single, ‘King of the Town’, the final track taken from their forthcoming debut album, ‘Class Traitor.’

A cathartic triumvirate of punk, rock and rap, the quintet have distanced themselves from much of their Manchester contemporaries through their angst-fuelled take on northern post-punk, preferring instead to shed light on the discrepancies faced by those growing up in areas ignored by wider government.

Indeed, these politics, and this anger are what allow TOKEO to stand apart from a local scene too often concerned with vintage leather jackets and virtue signalling to really care about the wider local area. And on ‘King of the Town’, this vitriol really boils over. A dystopic and tongue in cheek take on misplaced admiration, it’s a blisteringly scathing attack on small-town syndrome.

With each release harbouring more piss and vinegar than the last, it’s obvious that TOKEO are a band unimpressed with the current way the UK is heading, and we shouldn’t be too. At a time when the costs of living are soaring, and the UK government is nothing more than a self-spiralling shit show, the outlook is bleak, and while the band might not offer any respite from that, they certainly provide some much needed catharsis. Have a listen to ‘King of the Town’ below…

Song of the Day: Peace – Shades Lawrence

SHADES LAWRENCE is a Montreal-born, queer hip hop artist of mixed British, Jamaican, Irish and Scottish heritage. A pure lyricist, Lawrence’s style can be described as alternative hip hop. Her words uplift, while keeping environmental justice at the forefront.

“Peace, that’s what we need,” raps Lawrence on her single released on the heels of 2022 full-length album, ‘Trust Takes Time’. ‘Peace’ directly names the Russian government’s invasion of the Ukraine, and urges the global community to negotiate for peace.

Have a listen to ‘Peace’ below…

Song of the Day: Child Of The Stars – Alba

After making waves around the world with her single ‘Sister’, supported by BBC Radio London, ALBA presents ‘Child of the Stars’, a hypnotically organic track that tips its hat to her Spanish roots.

Written and produced by ALBA and mastered by John Webber (Nina Simone, David Bowie) at AIR Studios, ‘Child of the Stars’ is about a little girl who is starting to lose her faith in the world after seeing all the damage and hatred that humanity is capable of. The lyrics touch on climate change, war, and self-destructive nature, but it also touches on the ability to love, feel empathy and be a driver of positive change in the world.

A passionate environmental campaigner who uses music to make a difference and speak up about social and climate issues, ALBA’s previous releases has been aired on radios around the globe, and has received coverage from well-known publications, blogs and tastemakers such as Guitar magazine, BBC Radio London and Amazing Radio.

Why not check out the accompanied video created by Italian visual artist Sara Soncini.

Otis Mensah Drops ‘Ted Talks’ Video

Following the release of video Grand Finale Funeral Show’, Sheffield’s hip-hop Poet Laureate OTIS MENSAH has released another set of visuals for ‘Ted Talks’ – the sophomore track from his EP ‘Rap Poetics’ which breaks down the white-washed elitism of the art world.

Valuing art as a fundamental form of activism, Otis is opening up an important dialogue between himself and the ruling establishment, positioning emotional vulnerability at its core. Last year,  Otis was appointed as the first hip-hop Poet Laureate of Sheffield by former Lord Mayor and current MEP Magid Magid – advocating for rap as an effective vehicle for emotional communication.

Check out Otis’ latest set of visuals below…

New Track: Out of Your Mind – Unkle Festa

Last year there were 40,147 instances of knife crime in London – just let that terrifying, sickening number sink in for a second. Veteran UK rapper UNKLE FESTA has and he’s fighting back, harnessing the power of hip-hop to take a stand with hard-hitting new single ‘Out Your Mind’.

Uncompromising and never preachy, ‘Out Your Mind’ pulls no punches, savagely exposing the mindlessness of knife crime and issuing a rallying cry to put a stop to it. Over a haunting piano-led beat Festa asks, “How many of our children have to be dead” before launching into a machine-gun chorus bringing his vintage flow to bear on heartfelt lyrics set to stun.

The former Mud Family spitter has been in the game since the late 90s, when he linked up with Skinnyman after relocating from Cyprus to London – since then knife crime in the UK has rocketed, with fatal stabbings at their highest level since WW2.

And this violent epidemic is finding its way into the rapper’s tracks – “When I write it’s about the things on my mind and close to my heart,” said Festa. “Seeing first-hand the madness on our streets motivated me to write this track”.

The track is driven by a message and screaming for social change, and Festa is seeing the bigger picture to make that happen: ”Out Your Mind is not just for the youth to understand, but parents and government to understand – they need to listen and must change themselves to create a better environment for our children to grow”.

Check out the hard-hitting video for ‘Out Of Your Mind’ below: