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Algiers, ONO, Mourning [A] BLKstar, JoAnn McNeil

  • Foam 3359 Jefferson Avenue St. Louis, MO, 63118 United States (map)

Dismal Niche presents:

Algiers (Atlanta, GA)
*Dizzying blend of post-punk, industrial and soul music on Matador Records*

ONO (Chicago, IL)
*Long-running cult band from Chicago creating a singular brew of performance art, gospel music, noise, and poetry*

Mourning A BLKstar (Cleveland, OH)
*Experimental Afrofuturist soul music*

JoAnn McNeil (Saint Louis, MO)
*Glitchy post-ambient soundscapes*



Pulling from a divergent set of musical (and nonmusical) influences including post-punk, gospel music, Southern Gothic literature, and insurrectionary politics, Atlanta's ALGIERS has been described as "dystopian soul". This is the musical response that dark times demand, one that not only shakes its fist but deploys it. Locally-informed global citizens, Algiers refuse to sit idly by while most contemporary artists appear perfectly content to sit out the revolution. Not only do Algiers harbor a purposeful sense of obligation in what they do on their latest resistance record The Underside Of Power, but they recognize the roots and thorns of precedent in said resistance.

Formed in 1980, Chicago's ONO are one of those radical groups who’ve earned legendary status as “one of the most influential bands you’ve never heard of” (Village Voice). Their current record label, Moniker Records, describes their aesthetic as an "unholy bitches' brew of noisy snarl, avant-garde R&B, gospel-heavy blackness, queer sensibility and extravagant, performance-art theatrics."

MOURNING [A] BLKSTAR blends classic soul, experimental hip-hop, and post-punk ambience. Led by producer RA Washington, Mourning [A] BLKstar features a trio of dynamic singers—James Longs, LaToya Kent, and Kyle Kidd—and an indeterminate number of musicians. The ensemble traffics in a gritty strain of DIY Afrofuturist soul music, balancing hip-hop production techniques with lo-fi experimentation that bathes sultry grooves in darkness, either in scratchy samples or washed-out synth tones.

While the world at large continues its sluggish, incremental awakening to the embodied artistic brilliance of black women, it would be easy to say that JOANN MCNEIL has quietly birthed a collection of living sound and sight fully immersed in the lived-in dystopia that many black women experience on this very same world. The noise of it all (and, yes, in fact “noise” as evidenced by pieces like “Invisa Cell” with its Suzanne Cianni-esque dirge or the ambiance of “Blind Eye” and its Top 40 dance hit in a post Weyland-Yutani world) suggests that nothing from this oeuvre could materialize quietly. Yet, here we are, finally witnessing an artist gently exploding (if you will) from the strange environs of her birthplace of St. Louis.