Who: Rap-rock six piece Flobots, a Denver collective led by self-described “Jesus meets Huey P. Newton” emcee Jonny 5.
Sounds Like: Linkin Park with Rage Against the Machine’s Zach de la Rocha and his political leanings at the microphone and a violinist building the tension. Jonny 5 raps about topics like human rights, globalization and drug legalization on the band’s major label debut Fight with Tools.
• The band’s alt-rock radio hit “Handlebars” first received airplay when fans in Denver bombarded a local rock station to add the song to their playlist. After it was broadcast, the studio’s phones “exploded” with requests to replay it. “I wrote ‘Handlebars’ in the thick of the Iraq War,” Jonny 5 says.
• After self-releasing Fight with Tools last year, and following a sold-out concert in Denver, Universal Republic CEO Monte Lipman swiftly signed the band. “I ended up at Denny’s at 5:00 in the morning offering them a deal,” says Lipman.
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• The politically-minded sextet is recruiting fans to enlist in non-profit groups involved with voter registration and helping abused children. “We’re trying to push it beyond a table at a show. We’re building an organization of people,” says Jonny 5.
Here It Now: Fight with Tools is in stores now and currently sitting at number 27 on the Billboard Top 200. Click above for the Flobots’ video for “Handlebars.”