Stuck in My Head: Driving Music
A functioning CD player is the only saving grace of vehicular travel. I hate passengers who try to talk; the volume I require to get sanely from here to there is prohibitive of conversation.
Here are two albums I’ve been listening to a lot lately in the car. Reach for the volume button again, I’ll break your fucking fingers, I swear it.
Col. Hector Bravado
From Denver, Colorado
City Baby Attacked by Rats
Welcome to Britain in 1982, when a nasty, faster, meaner breed of metal-tinged Britpunk arose that made The Clash sound like Herman’s Hermits. Practioners: The Exploited, Subhumans, Broken Bones, Varukers and Charged G.B.H. Specimen: City Baby Attacked by Rats, each song a noisy, gore-fanged car in a caravan of raw steel just about to go off the rails and explode in the sooty Birmingham night.
They cover all the topics — nihilism, cannibalism, bloody manhunts, sluts with spiky hair, mental defects and hot rodent-on-infant action — with the requisite glee, embodied in every line of vocalist Colin’s gravelly Cockney yelp.
Their shock and awe, their metal-in-the-gutter sound, and their brutal knack with a chorus hook made them best in breed, at least for the year this album came out, flanked by fantastic single releases like “Give Me Fire” and “Race Against Time.”
If I’m playing City Baby Attacked by Rats on the way home from work, sometimes I will refuse to pull into my apartment complex and will circle the neighborhood again if I have not yet heard tracks 4 (“Gunned Down”), 5 (“I Am the Hunted”) and 6 (“City Baby Attacked by Rats”) uninterrupted. The motion demands it. After losing and rediscovering this album on and off for 26 years, it still makes the hair on my arms stand up.
City Baby Attacked by Rats is driving music.
Visions of Gandhi
Jedi Mind Tricks
JMT frontman and foam-at-the-mouth microphone jihadi Vinnie Paz puts on a clinic of that style of rhyming where the last 3-5 (or sometimes more) syllables of each line with the next. Just don’t look any further than the title for any Gandhian influences: there’s no satyagraha here, just Vinny Paz perfectly conjuring the hyper-cartoon landscape where an ill verse really can splatter a lesser rapper’s guts all over the wall.
His producer, Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind, gives Paz and guests (including Canibus, Kool G. Rap and Ras Kass) a smorgasbord of backgrounds over which to snarl, from crisp Latin beats with lots of showy Iberian guitars to gothic-basement-dance-night (“The Wolf”) to a merry Parisian theme that pops up on a few tracks, making for a most piquant contrast to Paz’s nigh-pathological savagery (“I’m the one who hammered the first nail in Jesus!”). It’s peppered with B-movie bluster, metal attitude, shouts to Allah, and a particularly tart homophobia that makes it quite clear which team Paz is playing for (or desperately wants to appear like he plays for): “You like to conduct yourself like a savage/You like the smell of males on your mattress.” The whole thing would be incredibly stupid if it just didn’t rock so fucking hard and somehow manage to be greater than the sum of its parts. I can’t hit eject. I can’t turn away.
Visions of Gandhi is driving music.