Two very different treats for your ears

Tom Ravenscroft's music blog

Two things this week that have nothing in common, other than that I love them and that you should at least learn to like them.

They are peeved New Yorkers White Hills and the exceptionally pretty Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara. We'll start with the angry ones. White Hills have a new album out this month which is called Hp-1, which according to band member Ego, is symbolic of the simplification of complex ideas to keep the masses from questioning the system. The sleeve for the album, a fairly colourless and sad affair, is meant to represent the status quo that WH are trying to tear through with their guitar riffs. H-p1 sounds at times like pretty standard rock stuff but it's when shit starts getting all sci-fi that I begin to dig. Good music for the coming festival season and, dare I say it, kicking a few shop windows through to.

 

Last week I saw Fatoumata Diawara play a very short gig, at a strangely early hour in the basement of pub full of drunk businessmen and it was great. She stood on her own in a corner with just a guitar and a voice, played only four songs and then got the audience to accompany her in singing goodbye. My life is better for those ten minutes.

Download a free Fatoumata Diawara track here.

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Brexit… Leg-sit

A new poem by Jo-Ella Sarich. 

Forgot Brexit. An ostrich just walked into the room. Actually,
forget ostriches too. Armadillos also have legs, and shoulder plates
like a Kardashian.  Then I walked in, the other version of me, the one
with legs like wilding pines, when all of them

are the lumberjacks. Forget forests. Carbon sinks are down
this month; Switzerland is the neutral territory
that carved out an island for itself. My body
is the battleground you sketch. My body is
the greenfield development, and you
are the heavy earthmoving equipment. Forget
the artillery in the hills
and the rooftops opening up like nesting boxes. Forget about

the arms race. Cheekbones are the new upper arms
since Michelle lost out to Melania. My cheekbones
are the Horsehead Nebula and you are the Russians
at warp speed. Race you to the finish. North Korea

will go away if you stop thinking
about it. South Korea will, too. Stop thinking
about my sternum. Stop thinking about
the intricacy of my mitochondria. Thigh gaps
are the new wage gaps, and mine is like
the space between the redwood stand
and the plane headed for the mountains. Look,

I’ve pulled up a presentation
with seven different eschatologies
you might like to try. Forget that my arms
are the yellow tape around the heritage tree. Forget
about my exoskeleton. Forget
that the hermit crab
has no shell of its own. Forget that the crab ever
walked sideways into the room.
Pay attention, people.

Jo-Ella Sarich is a New Zealand-based lawyer and poet. Her poems have appeared in the Galway Review and the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear