BIO: The claustrophobic confines of a west London attic hideaway. Walls, covered in heavyweight purple curtains seem to bring the dimly lit room's parameters collapsing in as a huge computer screen’s wallpaper radiates the green glow of long hot summer. Its pastoral image of feudal tranquillity is the room’s only window on the world. Look closer and there's a twist in this Constable painting. In the middle of the painter's rustic overtures sits a stolen burnt out car. It's an urban blight on England's countryside, a twisted interruption on this green and pleasant land.
More than just a screen saver though, the image, one of Banksy's infamous reworkings of old masters, is the perfect visual accompaniment to the aural assault that is pounding from the room's speakers. Sweat soaked b-lines thunder with adrenalised breakcore attitude; rushing keyboard hooks come on like a futurebound flashback; guitars crack and vocals snap.
It's the sound of The Prodigy mixing up genres, contorting the past and rewiring the future. The Prodigy ramraiding through the tranquillity of music's status quo like a blot on the landscape of England's dreaming. The Prodigy with a short, sharp and brutal declaration of intent. Still underground after all these years. Still true to the dream.
Invaders Must Die is the fifth album from a band long synonymous with bringing urban disruption to the countryside. Like uninvited guests dirtying up the landscape they've long trodden paths supposedly to them.
On debut album Experience, their rough-around-the-edges, renegade-break psychosis soundtracked rave's free party antics at a time when dance artists weren't supposed to release albums. The follow up Music for the Jilted Generation dragged guitars from rock's bloated grasp, fused metal to dysfunctional beat alchemy and stormed the heartland of rock music's venues at a time when dance acts were only supposed to play raves.
With 1997's The Fat of the Land and it's brace of radio and MTV hogging singles ('Firestarter', 'Breathe', 'Smack My Bitch Up') The Prodigy stormed the world's festivals, headlined stages usually reserved for rock's establishment and walked like Gods where other press-friendly artists failed to tread - and dance artists were previously uninvited.
With 2004's Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned the vibe turned its back on live shows and arena exposure and took the music back to an underground that had tried to turn its back on them. Gatecrashers once more, The Prodigy answered nay sayers with an astounding set of dumb ass electro punk classics. A DJ beats album that couldn't be played out live, from an act that had taken the live gig by the scruff of its neck, redefined it and made it its own. This wasn’t what The Prodigy were meant to do.
Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned acted as much as a catharsis for Liam Howlett as it was a chance to reset the Prodigy programme. The following year's greatest hits package Their Law not only came as a timely reminder as to just how epoch defining the band were, but also reintroduced the world to the greatest live show on earth. In the arena tour that followed Their Law the band played voodoo with their rave classics, reworked and rewired their smouldering best and reminded old ravers and young rockers alike just how potent a force they actually are. And if that wasn't all, it reminded The Prodigy how important it is to rock it live.
The tour provided some of the greatest performances of their career and gave the inspiration for their next set - an album designed to play live, an album of short, succinct tracks with none of the over indulgent frills normally associated with electronic dance music. A set of tracks that arrive like an unwanted carbuncle on the over designed veneer of contemporary culture and go out like glorious victors in a war against the negativity of outsiders. Once again The Prodigy aren't playing to the script others have written for them.
The first thing you notice about Invaders Must Die is how complete it sounds. Previous albums have always had weak moments, tracks that don't quite fit, or even the feeling that the set was a couple of tracks short of its goal. Invaders Must Die though is all there, a consistent collection of bangers firing from the same canon.
The next thing you notice about Invaders Must Die is just how melodic it is. Not just melody in the vocal sense (although both Keith Flint and Maxim both turn in their finest vocal performances to date), but in the heyday-of-hardcore keyboard-hookline sense. Oh yes, if The Prodigy had learned anything from the Their Law tour it was that those old skool rave anthems still rock hard - and are every bit as iconic to their generation as punk was to the nation's forty-somethings.
So Invaders Must Die then is awash with references to the free party generation. It thunders like the mother of all E-rushes, all hairs tingling, spine jumping and lips buzzing. But it ain't no retroactive arms-in-the-air, water-sharing nostalgia trip. This set is fuelled by the dog-thunder of punk's saliva-dripping rabid snarl. In fact its canines are so thoroughly bared that it's more likely to snap at your jugular and steal your water. Laughing all the while. In fact, the often overlooked dumb-assed humour that has always been at the heart of the band is has a full force presence here.
Take 'Colours', the first tune The Prodigy recorded for this set with its 1992 polysynth riffing that sounds like The Stranglers' 'No More Heroes' parachuted into the middle of a Perception rave. Or 'Thunder', the bastard child of the Devilish threesome of 'Out of Space', Studio 1's finest roots rockers and switchblade ambience.
'Take Me to the Hospital' finds Keith Flint and Maxim flexing over a vintage Prodigy riff. Suitably rusted, distorted and in need of urgent medication it bites like the soundtrack to Dante's Inferno. While the live favourite (and band website download) 'Worlds on Fire' resurrects a 'flaming' theme and applies it to a groove straight out second album 'Music for the Jilted Generation' and slices it down the middle with a sample of R&S classic rave tune 'Vamp' by Outlander. It's the kind of fucked up twist that you quickly come to expect on this album. 'Omen' is beamed straight into the moshpit from rave central, while 'Piranha' rips the threads from the back of 60's garage and pussy whips it into the scumbag guttercrawl of modern urban life.
Any old skool bon homie floating around the riffs of this album are quickly slaughtered by 'Run with the Wolves' where The Prodigy's self assured, gang-minded campaign turns into a maniacal, nose bleeding, heads-against-the-wall warzone. Added pounding energy here supplied by Dave Grohl.
“There's no collaborations on this album as such.” says Liam Howlett “But toward the end of recording Dave Grohl called me and said he was thinking about laying down some drums for me to use. Soon after this hard drive arrived with loads of drum tracks. I hadn't asked him for them, it was his idea, but when I put his drums on this track and used a Keith Flint vocal that we'd done it seemed to give the album a focus. Nothing about this album was planned in terms of what I wanted it to sound like. We just recorded stuff and then looked at it at the end. I really wanted to have fun with it.”
After 40 minutes of having your head battered by future nostalgia, serotonin levels twisted by feel-good horrorcore and your synapses snapped by whiplash attitude, Invaders Must Die delivers its final, brilliant twist - a horn drenched sunrise anthem that aches with the positivity of a new dawn. That track, 'Stand Up' laughs aloud like a victor, spreads its arms around its comrades (the unit, the family) and walks the line of a burning horizon with the swaggering look of satisfaction that only comes when you instinctively know you've achieved what you set out to do.
Cocky? Sure - but wouldn't you be if you'd seen off all of the invaders with your most complete album yet, the first for your own record label?
Invaders Must Die is the unique sound of The Prodigy, still trespassing after all these years, walking the path they've created for themselves. And with that free party attitude still breaking and entering where other's can only dream of following.
“We represent all that is great about Britain, and we should be protected like a national heritage,” laughs Liam Howlett as 'Stand Up' fades into the distance. He may well be right! The question is, are the established overlords of our green and pleasant land ready for this particular juggernaut to be jettisoned into the middle of Constable’s finest.
OUT NOW - BREATHE feat @RZA
LIAM H & @RENELAVICE RE-AMP
FROM THE FAST & FURIOUS 9 SOUNDTRACK… https://t.co/kxlVQWMdHT
Lock in to @bbcr1 tonight from 10pm to hear @jackxsaunders play Breathe feat @RZA – Liam H and @ReneLaVice Re-Amp !… https://t.co/b4tpd4lciB
BREATHE feat RZA
LIAM H & RENE LAVICE RE-AMP
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Announces 2021 Season Lineup
by Sarah Jae Leiber - June 03, 2021
The New York-based orchestra is made up of 15 of the finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music today. Free tickets are required for entry; ticket reservations will be open for request on Monday, June 7 at 12:00PM ET....
Solomun Unveils Long-Awaited Sophomore Album 'Nobody Is Not Loved'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - May 28, 2021
Featuring an array of high-profile guest collaborators, Nobody Is Not Loved is a bracing album that plays out much like a DJ set - gradually increasing in tempo across its twelve tracks before mellowing out in the latter stages to ensure a soft landing.
Pulse Films Announce Full-Length Documentary Film
by Sarah Jae Leiber - February 10, 2021
Success, worldwide fame, fortune, addiction, fighting and chaos almost tore them apart, but The Prodigy never stopped dragging mainstream culture into their underworld and raising a global army of warrior fans that have stayed with them at every turn. ...
Boy Destroy Releases New Single + Video 'You Don't Want Me When I'm Sober'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - February 04, 2021
Today, Boy Destroy released his new single and video 'You Don’t Want Me When I’m Sober” via Loyalty Obsession. 'You Don’t Want Me When I’m Sober' juxtaposes vulnerable lyricism with an infectious layering of pop sensibilities....
Running Touch Shares Video of New Track 'Juno'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - February 03, 2021
As Australia reopens, Running Touch embarks on his biggest headline show to date at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl this Friday Feb. 5th...
Chickpee Shares 'two Trees' Via Northern Transmissions
by Alexa Criscitiello - January 29, 2021
Italian solo recording project chickpee shares 'two trees,' a tender waltz celebrating the love of her parents. Stranded in the US alongside her husband Ron Gallo due to the pandemic, 'two trees' is a caring tribute draped in nostalgia and warmth. Northern Transmissions premiered the track along wit...
Todd Helder Releases New Single 'Never Stop'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - December 11, 2020
After his debut NCS release, the Guy Arthur collaboration 'Closer', won rave reviews from press and fans alike, the Netherlands-based prodigy stops by the YouTube empire for a second time to round off 2020....
ASCAP Foundation Honors Goes Virtual
by Sarah Jae Leiber - December 08, 2020
With presentations from living rooms and home studios around the country, The ASCAP Foundation will virtually host The ASCAP Foundation Honors 2020 in recognition of this year’s remarkable young award winners....
Jo Whiley Brings '90s Anthems Party to Bexhill
by Sarah Jae Leiber - November 27, 2020
Next spring, the legendary BBC Radio 1 & 2 presenter and DJ Jo Whiley will be bringing her sell out 90s Anthems Party to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, for an unforgettable event filled with musical nostalgia....
Don Diablo's Label Hexagon Drops Niiko x SWAE 'Blah Blah Blah'
by Chloe Rabinowitz - November 27, 2020
Niiko x SWAE have announced their latest single ‘Blah Blah Blah’ feat. Canadian-Lebanese singer Mougleta. Set to debut on Thursday, November 26th via Don Diablo’s label HEXAGON, ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is noted as Niiko x SWAE’s first release on the label. ...
Don Diablo's Label Hexagon Drops Niiko x SWAE 'Blah Blah Blah'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - November 27, 2020
Niiko x SWAE have announced their latest single ‘Blah Blah Blah’ feat. Canadian-Lebanese singer Mougleta. Set to debut on Thursday, November 26th via Don Diablo’s label HEXAGON, ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is noted as Niiko x SWAE’s first release on the label.
Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science Earn Grammy Nomination for 'Waiting Game'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - November 27, 2020
Drummer, producer, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington and band Social Science have received a prestigious nomination for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category for their 2020 double album project, Waiting Game, released on Motema Music. ...
NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne Carrington And Band Social Science Earn 2021 Grammy Nomination
by Alexa Criscitiello - November 25, 2020
Drummer, producer, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington and band Social Science have received a prestigious nomination for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category for their 2020 double album project, Waiting Game, released on Motema Music.
VIDEO: IV JAY Releases Cinematic Music Video for 'Loser'
by Stage Tube - November 12, 2020
IV JAY is fresh off the release of her 5th Element project, a 9-track EP that showcases the R&B singer-songwriter’s versatility. IV is continuing to celebrate the release of 5th Element with a brand-new music video for “Loser.”
YARO & Trilane's 'Unlove You' ft. EEVA Out Now
by Chloe Rabinowitz - November 06, 2020
Swedish producers YARO & Trilane return to Protocol with their new single 'Unlove You,' featuring Swedish singer EEVA. After opening with haunting vocals that set the stage for the track's emotive vibe, YARO and Trilane employ their signature touches to deliver UK garage-inspired, piano-driven bassl...
VIDEO: Melissa Etheridge Surprises a 14-Year-Old Guitar Prodigy on THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW
by Stage Tube - November 03, 2020
14-year-old Salem Meade is a guitar legend in the making. She started shredding guitar at a very young age and hopes to follow in the footsteps of female guitarists like Joan Jett and Melissa Etheridge. Luckily for Salem, Melissa is ready to surprise this young musician with the gift of a lifetime....
VIDEO: H.E.R. Releases New Single & Video for 'Damage'
by Stage Tube - October 21, 2020
Two-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter-musician H.E.R. releases “Damage,” the brand new song and video from her forthcoming, yet-to-be-titled, full-length album on MBK Entertainment/RCA Records. ...
National Endowment For The Arts Names Terri Lyne Carrington Among 2021 NEA Jazz Masters
by Sarah Jae Leiber - October 21, 2020
Three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and composer Terri Lyne Carrington has been named a 2021 NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. ...