Sounds Like: The Death Grips of gospel torching the South's dark underbelly.
For Fans of: TV On The Radio, Nick Cave, Kanye West
Why You Should Pay Attention: Tucked inside D'Angelo's 2000 masterpiece Voodoo was rapper-poet Saul Williams' furious liner notes taking aim at the state of black music. ("Most of my peers seem to idolize Donald Trump more than Sly Stone," Williams wrote.) A Georgia State University student named Franklin James Fisher pasted those words on his wall and never forgot them. In the mid-aughts, Fisher linked up with ex-classmates with post-punk leanings, Lee Tesche and Ryan Mahan, and pieced together Algiers based upon the parallel energies of punk and gospel traditions. "Both types of music come from dispossessed populations and marginalized populations," Fisher says. "We decided to follow that down as far as we possibly could." In 2012 and 2013, they released "Blood" and "Claudette," biting singles that combine Blind Boys of Alabama-style vocals and harmonies, and beastly, bent-metal beats. At that point, Matador Records had heard enough to be enthralled, and booked Algiers to record at 4AD Studios with Tom Morris (Bloc Party, Lydia Lunch) in London. Drinking "sort of like a hot toddy," Fisher punched in his vocals late at night with the lights down low. The results are spiritual, political and confrontational. Algiers will open on Interpol's spring tour, and later do dates supporting their self-titled album, expected this summer.
They Say: "I still don't consider myself a singer," says Fisher. "I appreciate the aesthetic of just really not caring — not trying to sound pretty. Especially if you're angry, just shout it out. Any sort of traditional negro spiritual music, gospel music, soul or R&B, the best versions were when they were just raw and emotional and not overly produced. In every genre across the board in popular music, things are way too packaged, way too smooth. It's not even human anymore. Everything on the radio is Auto-Tuned. The edges are all trimmed. We want things to be rough around the edges. That's something to embrace.... Bob Dylan made it okay not to have a traditionally nice voice. In the black community, the standard is really high as to who can be called a singer. That's why I'm so hesitant to call myself a singer. My sisters are both amazing singers. I just kinda scream and do my thing."
Hear for Yourself: Algiers build a terrordome where Fisher can shred his larynx on "But She Was Not Flying." Reed Fischer