The wonderful thing about checking out new music is that sometimes, on rare occasions, you come across something so fantastic that you can’t believe you’ve lived your life so far without it. It’s that whole “where have you been all my life” factor, and that’s precisely how I felt the first time I listened to Saul Williams’ new album, MartyrLoserKing.

I’d heard of Saul Williams, the activist, before, but I had no idea that he was such a talented musician. This album is on par with the best of M.I.A., Tricky and FKA twigs and it actually sounds like what you’d get if you spliced the DNA of those three artists together and then had the result remixed by Massive Attack. In other words, it’s brilliant, a veritable genre bender that dares to say fuck you and I feel for you to those he’s on about every other lyric. You see, Saul is angry, and rightfully so, about the injustice in this world. He is, simply put, fed up with the establishment, with those who oppress others, with those infringe on human rights, etc. So, while he’s very angry with the antagonists, he has nothing but compassion for the protagonists.

PHOTO: Geordie Wood
PHOTO: Geordie Wood

MartyrLoserKing was produced by She Wants Revenge’s Justin Warfield and immaculately so. With layers and layers of vicious and delicious sounds all twisted and tangled with each other, each note fits perfectly, like tiny pieces of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. It’s a veritable loop fest, and it’s so intricate and perfect that it rivals the best of Garbage, who are arguably the world’s most talented band to ever lay down a hundred on a single track. Of course, there were plenty of live instruments used in crafting MartyrLoserKing as well, like the subtle bass guitar that seduces the listener at the beginning of “Burundi” featuring Emily Kokal of Warpaint. “Hacker / I’m a hacker / I’m a hacker in your harddrive,” goes the bridge of that one. To that end, Williams often puts hackers on a pedestal throughout the album. In fact, the album’s title is the screen name of a fictional miner who’s become a hacker in Burundi. The fascinating thing is how the revealing lyrics make the listener feel like a hacker who’s just penetrated a vile corporation (or nation) and discovered all of their seedy secrets. In other words, you feel like a would-be leaker as you listen to the informative lyrics. How many albums can do that?



Jan 27 – Los Angeles, CA – Amoeba Hollywood
Feb 2 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
March 3 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern March 4 – Cardiff, UK – Clwb lfor Bach
March 5 – Liverpool, UK – Kitchen Street
March 6 – London, UK – The Garage
March 8 – Oslo, Norway – BLA
March 9 – Turku, Finland – Klubi
March 10 – Helsinki, Finland – Elmun Baari
March 11 – Tampere, Finland – Klubi
March 12 – Jyvaskyla, Finland – Lutakko
March 15 – Riorges, France – Salle du Grand Marais
March 16 – Vaulx-en-Velin, France – A Vaulx Jazz
March 17 – Fribourg, Switzerland – Fri-Son
March 18 – Geneva, Switzerland – La Graviere
March 19 – Bale, Switzerland – La Caserne
March 20 – Zurich, Switzerland – Moods
March 22 – Antwerp, Belgium – Theatre Arenberg
March 23 – Den Haag, Netherlands – Paard Van Troje
March 24 – Sailly-lez-Lannoy, France – Salle Clovis Defrenne
March 25 – Niort, France – Le Camji
March 26 – Saint-Nazaire, France – Le VIP
April 9 – Iowa City, IA – Mission Creek Festival
Jun 12 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre


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