PLAYLIST SPECIAL/Dominic Valvona/Matt Oliver/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea

Unapologetic fans of California’s favourite sons, The Beach Boys, this month’s imaginary Monolith Cocktail radio show playlist features a hell of a lot of tracks from the Feel Flows box set, which came out today. Some of which, are choice tracks that have lain dormant for decades.

Joining them is a fine selection of new music from the MC team (that’s me Dominic Valvona, our remote contributor and hip-hop selector Matt Oliver, and the maverick troubadour lo fi rock god turn critic Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea) that includes bloomed pop loveliness from Bloom De Wilde, respectful nods to prog rock icons from Uncommon Nasa, Homeboy Sandman slurping on the dairy, the brand new Fiery Furnaces mellotron bellowed plaint, and some mad dashing mayhem from Girl No. III. Plus plenty of greatness from Pons, SonnyJim, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Brandee Younger, Ephat Mujuru and Liz Cooper. 46 tracks to soundtrack your weekend.

Tracks Listing:.

The Beach Boys  ‘It’s A New Day’
Gabrielle Ornate  ‘Waiting To Be Found’
Bloom De Wilde  ‘Garden Of The Sun (Jstar Remix)’
Ester Poly  ‘Pressés’
Flowertown  ‘The Door The Thief The Light’
SLONK  ‘Erstwhile’
Julia Meijer  ‘Borta Från Allt’
Seaside Witch Coven  ‘A.E.O.’
Liz Cooper  ‘Slice Of Life’
The Beach Boys  ‘It’s About Time – Live 1971’
Brian Jackson, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad  ‘Duality’
Uncommon Nasa  ‘Vincent Crane’
Tanya Morgan ft. Rob Cave  ‘Tanya In The Sky With Diamonds’
Homeboy Sandman  ‘Cow’s Milk’
Creatures Of Habit  ‘The Devil’s Hands’
Bronx Slang  ‘Clock’s Ticking’
Lore City  ‘Once-Returner’
Your Gaze  ‘Black Afternoon’
Sølyst  ‘Flex’
Ephat Mujuru & The Spirit Of The People  ‘Mudande’
Ballaké Sissoko  ‘Simbo Salaba’
The Beach Boys  ‘4th Of July (2019 Mix)’
Sorrows  ‘Rita’
Lisa Mychols & Super 8  ‘Pet Sounds (Story)’
Makoto Kubota & The Sunset Gang  ‘Bye Bye Baby’
Brandee Younger  ‘Somewhere Different’
Ryuichi Sakamoto  ‘Mountains’
The Beach Boys  ‘Forever (2019 A Cappella Mix)’
The Fiery Furnaces  ‘The Fortune Teller’s Revenge’
Graham Domain  ‘Limbs Of Loneliness’
Corduroy Institute  ‘An Interpretation Of Our Own Story’
Celling Demons Ft. Zarahruth  ‘Silver Birch’
Kid Acne Ft. Jaz Kahina and Vandel Savage  ‘Transistors’
The Mouse Outfit & ayiTe  ‘Don’t Stop’
Girl No. III  ‘Wales’Whales’Wails At Weyl’
Sebastian Reynolds  ‘Crows (L’Étranger Remix)’
Lee Scott/Hyroglifics Ft. Black Josh  ‘Sacrificial Goat’
Sonnyjim  ‘Mr Singh’
Sweaty Palms  ‘The Dance’
Weak Signal  ‘Barely A Trace’
Xqui X SEODAH  ‘Timete’
Giacomelli  ‘Phaze II, Pt. 2 (Bonus Track)’
Shreddies  ‘(no body)’

PLAYLIST SPECIAL/Dominic Valvona/Matt Oliver/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea

Already plowing through the summer of Covid Year Two era, the Monolith Cocktail has chosen another eclectic jamboree of choice tracks from the last month: mostly from albums/singles we’ve reviewed, but a few we never got around to featuring on the blog. There’s a heavy Beach Boys presence, what with California’s greatest sons releasing the eagerly anticipated Sunflower and Surf’s Up sessions and goodies box set, Feel Flows, next month. We also have the return of Los Lobos, who cover their fellow Californian neighbours’ ‘Sail On Sailor’ for their new album Native Sons.

We also have Matt Oliver on the rap control, sorting through July’s tsunami of new hip-hop releases. Matt also pays homage to the late idiosyncratic golden age innovator Biz Markie, who died only a few days ago at the age of 57.

Expect the usual unusual, with tracks from the Regressive Left, Xhosa Cole, Pozi, Luaran Hibberd, Project Hilts, The Doppelgangaz, Joe Blow, Ed Scissor & Lamplighter, CIX, Faust, Jason Nazary and more. 


Regressive Left  ‘Cream Militia’
Jean-Pierre Djeukam  ‘Africa Iyo’
Xhosa Cole ft. Soweto Kinch & Reuben James  ‘Untitled Boogaloo’
Biz Markie  ‘Pickin’ Boogers’
Native Soul  ‘Dead Sangoma’
N’Famady Kouyaté ft. Lisa Jên Brown  ‘Aros I fi Yna’
Contento  ‘Al Lao del Río’
Pozi  ‘Sea Song’
Werewolf Hair  ‘Throw Me A Bone’
Lauran Hibberd  ‘Bleugh’
Yammerer  ‘Tell Me What The Ancient Astronaut Theorists Believe’
Jack Name & Aoife Nessa Frances  ‘Watching The Willows Burn’
Los Lobos  ‘Sail On, Sailor’
The Beach Boys  ‘This Whole World (Alternate Ending)’
The Poppermost  ‘Yes It’s True’
Platonica Erotica  ‘I Can’t Be Your Everyting’
Project Hilts  ‘Dark Side’
Nick Roberts ft. Ash The Author & DJ JabbaTheKut  ‘Codebreaker’
The Doppelgangaz  ‘Triple D’
Joe Blow & Mr. Substance ft. DJ Jaffe  ‘Hypertension’
Roughneck Jihad  ‘Handbook’
Swindle ft. Loyle Carner, Kojey Radical & JNR Williams  ‘LOST’
Ed Scissor & Lamplighter  ‘R U Alone?’
Kety Fusco  ‘Ma Gnossienne’
Anton Barbeau  ‘I Love It When She Does The Dishes’
Heyme  ‘Without A Paddle’
The Telephone Numbers  ‘Pictures Of Lee’
Reuban Vaun Smith  ‘Flee The Coop’
Devin Gray ft. Ralph Alessi & Angelica Sanchez  ‘Melt All The Guns’
Juga-Naut & Giallo Point  ‘Smoke Filled Room’
Web Web (Max Herre & Yusef Lateef)  ‘Akinuba/The Heart’
CIX  ‘Whirl’d In The Pool’
Tekilla  ‘Se Eu…’
Saba Alizadeh ft. Andreas Specthl  ‘Phasing Shadows’
Belcirque  ‘Sumac y Cúrcuma’
Karen Zanes  ‘Carnival Mirror’
Wyndow  ‘Pulling On A String’
Jason Nazary ft. Grey McMurray  ‘Days & Nights, for Em’
Girl No. III  ‘An Impressed Imp Rests’
Liliane Chela  ‘Charr’
PTČ ft. Vazz  ‘PAPAGAJ’
Sandy Chamoun  ‘Siret El Ro3eb’
Passepartout Duo  ‘Plainness’
Occult Character  ‘Cool Kid Mummy’
Faust  ‘Fernlicht’
The Beach Boys  ‘Surf’s Up (A Cappella)’ 


Join us for the most eclectic of musical journeys as the Monolith Cocktail team compiles another monthly playlist of new releases and recent reissues we’ve featured on the site, plus tracks we’ve not had time to write about but have been on our radar. That includes epic Buryat anthems from the Steppes, sulky struts, explorative ambient vistas, summer surf wafts, spindled Korean majesty, lolloping bravado, twisted jazz and many of the current choice hip-hop cuts.


Namgar  ‘Green Grass’
Squid  ‘G.S.K.’
Andrew Hung  ‘Brother’
Heiko Maile  ‘Vega Drive (Tape 13)’
The Early Mornings  ‘Departure From Habit’
Occult Character  ‘(I Think I Wanna Have A) Meltdown’
Edna Frau  ‘Angry Face Man’
Dwi  ‘Freak N Out’
Hectorine  ‘Saltwater’
Meggie Lennon  ‘Night Shift’
Rhona Stevens  ‘Solo’
Seagullmoine  ‘Contrails’
Foreign Age  ‘Apathy By Proxy’
Mike Gale  ‘Awake Awake’
The Beach Boys  ‘Big Sur’
Simon Waldram  ‘Don’t Worry’
Shannon And The Clams  ‘Year Of The Spider’
Paragon Cause  ‘Disconnected’
RULES  ‘Say It Ain’t So’

Violet Nox  ‘Cosmic Bits (J. Bagist Remix)’
Evidence  ‘Talking To The Audience’
DJ JS-1 (Ft. Rahzel, Mr. Cheeks and Craig G)  ‘Open Up The Door’
Tyler The Creator  ‘LUMBERJACK’
Tanya Morgan (Ft. Jack Davey)  ‘A Whole Mood’
Juga-Naut & Jazz T  ‘Marble & Granite’
Skyzoo  ‘I Was Supposed To Be A Trap Rapper’
Sone Institute  ‘Dead Ahead’
Brian Jackson, Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad  ‘Mars Walk’
Jaubi (Ft. Tenderlonious and Latarnik)  ‘Satanic Nafs’
Hassan Wargui  ‘Azmz’
Clamb  ‘Eggs In The Main
Hailu Mergia and The Walias  ‘Mestriawi Debdabe’
Goodparley  ‘Dissected Frequencies’
Sara Oswald & Feldemelder  ‘Fishes In Histogram Waterfalls’
Marco Woolf  ‘Modus Operandi’
Amaro Freitas  ‘Batucada’
Space Afrika (Ft. Blackhaine)  ‘B£E’
Apathy (Ft. Brevi)  ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’
Masai Bay (Ft. EI-P)  ‘Paper Mache’
Abir Patwary  ‘Avalon’ Petter Eldh (Ft. Richard Spaven)  ‘Goods Yard’
Kid Kin  ‘Under A Cloud Fret’
The Liminanas  ‘Stoker The Smoker’
Night Sky Pulse  ‘Missing’
dal:um  ‘TAL’
Alice Coltrane  ‘Krishna Krishna’
Provincials  ‘Feels Like Falling’

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Playlist/Dominic Valvona

An intergenerational, eclectic playlist vision, the Monolith Cocktail Social is the blog’s imaginary radio show; a smattering of music from my personal collection, my DJ sets and a lot of music I just wish I owned. Devoid of themes, restraints, or trends, expect to hear anything and everything; including some tributes to album that celebrate their 50th, 30th and 10th anniversaries: A very out-there, Mogadon slipped, version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Happening Brother’, plus tracks from Grace Jones’ infamous aloof cyber noir Nightclubbing (and a Jamaican lit track that never made it to that album), McCartney’s Ram, and Nice And Smooth’s Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed. There’s a nod also to the recent passing of Digital Underground’s chief instigator and maverick genius Shock G.

Amongst that lot you will hear Kenny Knight, Joan Of Arc, Kazumichi Komatsu, Krown Rulers, Reymour, Shelagh McDonald, The Freeborne, Cassie and much more.


Shelagh McDonald  ‘Waiting For The Wind To Rise’
Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney  ‘Too Many People’
Pantherman  ‘Panther Walk’
Ford Theatre  ‘I’ve Got The Fever’
Kevin Vivalvi  ‘Another Day, Another Time’
The Freeborne  ‘Images’
Billy Changer  ‘Black Angel’
Chris Stamey  ‘When We’re Alone’
Cassie  ‘The Light Shines On’
Reymour  ‘De Ma Tour’
Grace Jones  ‘Art Groupie’
Poor Righteous Teachers  ‘Easy Star’
Digital Underground  ‘No Nose Job’
Joe Farrell  ‘Seven Seas’
Nice & Smooth  ‘Pump It Up’
Krown Rulers  ‘Paper Chase’
Wreckx-N-Effect  ‘New Jack Swing II (Hard Version)’
Carlos Garnet  ‘Good Shepherd’
James Brooker  ‘Feel So Bad’
A.B. Crentsil  ‘Juliana’
Embryo  ‘Wajang Woman’
Grace Jones  ‘If You Wanna Be My Lover’
Daddy Lumba  ‘Nom Nsuo Twen Ope’
Kenny Knight  ‘Carry Me Down’
Joan Of Arc  ‘I Love A Woman (Who Loves Me)’
The Aggregation  ‘The Lady At The Gate’
Moonkyte  ‘It’s The Same Thing’
Walter Smetak  ‘Uibitus e Beija-Flores Etc.’
Kazumichi Komatsu  ‘U+2657’
Poets Of Elan  ‘What’s Happening Brother’
Laurie Spiegal  ‘Three Sonic Spaces II’
Laurent Thibault  ‘Aquadingen’
Between  ‘Kalenda Maya’
Puccio Roelens  ‘Lillian’
Johnny Pearson  ‘Baubles, Bangles, And Beads’
Margie Day  ‘Wine In The Wind’
Paul Siebel  ‘Jack-Knife Gypsy’
Tartit  ‘Holiyane Holiyana’

PLAYLIST SPECIAL/Dominic Valvona/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea/Matt Oliver

The Monthly Playlist Revue is partly our imaginary radio show, partly a chance to catch up and showcase the last month’s worth of features, recommendations and reviews on the Monolith Cocktail. An eclectic spread, journey as ever March’s edition includes an emphatic cosmological birthed release from Andrew Hung; a mugging off flow over the theme music of 80s favourite Minder by a rum lot of UK hip-hop talent (Satrumentalz/Big Toast/The Stranger Neighbour/Gee Bag/OliverSudden/Downstroke); a suite from the unheralded surprise diaphanous flotation opus from the congruous and glorious partnership of Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders; another dream partnership, Olivier Rocabois & John Howard; and the unusual usual mix of post-punk, ambient, industrial, avant-garde, pop, hip-hop and whatever genre you can think off.

Osayomore Joseph & The Creative Seven  ‘Africa Is My Root’
Sakili  ‘La Ri Latine’
Electric Jalaba  ‘Briando’ 
Blak-Ram  ‘Trauma Waters’
Xiu Xiu & Liars  ‘Rumpus Room’
Andrew Hung  ‘Space’
U.S. Girls  ‘junkyard’
Chinese American Bear  ‘Dumpling’
Camino Al Desvan  ‘La Contorsion De Pollo’
Alewya & Moses Boyd  ‘The Code’
Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders  ‘Movement 5’
Masayoshi Fujita  ‘Thunder’
Mecanica Clasica  ‘Ak Deniz’
Mosquitoes  ‘Strobeluck’
A Certain Ratio  ‘Wonderland’
Timo Lassy & Teppo Makynen  ‘Calling James (Live)’
U68  ‘Uncommon Nasa’
L’Orange & Namir Blade  ‘Corner Store Scandel’
M-Dot/DZ The Unknown/Mayhem Of EMS  ‘Schizoid’
Satrumentalz/Big Toast/The stranger Neighbour/Gee Bag/Oliver Sudden/Downstroke  ‘Fuck Off London’
Tom Caruna (Ft. Scorzayzee, Jabbathakut)  ‘You Look Nice’
Gloria  ‘Global Warning’
Jane Inc.  ‘Dirt And The Earth’
A Minor Place  ‘When Silvia Leaves’
Opus Kink  ‘Wild Bill’
Chris Church  ‘Praise’
Ex Norwegian & Rhys Marsh  ‘Half Baked’
Shaun McLachlan  ‘When We Dance’
Olivier Rocabois & John Howard  ‘Tonight I Need’
The Bordellos  ‘Shattered Pop Kiss’
Witch Camp (Ghana)  ‘When I Was Ill, You Didn’t Come Visit’
Fernando Anuang’a & Maasai Vocals  ‘Enkisesei’
Rafiki Jazz  ‘Omkoth Ma’ai’
Daughters Of The Desert  ‘Whispering Dunes’
Vukovar  ‘When Rome Falls (7” Brutalist Edit)’
Provincials  ‘Terms & Conditions’
Petrolio  ‘Y Nadie Queria Saber’
Abacaxi ‘Catfish’ Cementation Anxiety  ‘The Locks Are Not Enough’
Alder Ego  ‘I Saw It In A Dream’    


For those of you unfamiliar with the long-running Monolith Cocktail Social Playlist, this is Dominic Valvona’s eclectic and cross-generational imaginary and dream version of the blog’s radio show. It’s also a chance to show off his record collection, and the sort of music he’d play when DJing over the past thirty years. Expect the unexpected, as the oddities and the sublime rub up against each other on a curated playlist with no limits, no borders, and no one to please other than ourselves: we just hope you enjoy and share some of our tastes, or get switched and turned on to what we rave about.

Volume #53 includes the mad, bad and dangerous to know alongside turns from the post-pink, pub rock, jazz, Krautrock, psychedlic, garage, transient, soundtrack genres. Dominic also raises a glass to both the 50th anniversary of Amon Duul II’s Dance Of The Lemmings and the 30th anniversary of R.E.M.’s Out Of Time albums.

The Full Track List Is As Follows:

The Count Bishops ‘Down In The Bottom’
Viv And The Sect. ‘Blues Days’
Poison Girls ‘Underbitch’
Oblivians ‘Motorcycle Leather Boy’
Bailey’s Nervous Kats ‘Surf Express’
Avavikko ‘Alas Volgaa’
Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski ‘Sweet Beat’
Ihre Kinder ‘Wrote’
Message ‘THOUGHTS’
Afous ‘Malha’
Ernie Hawks ‘Cold Turkey Time’
Phill Most Chill ‘This Is What It Is’
Lejuan Love ‘My Hardcore Rhymes’
Marley Marl & Craig G ‘Droppin’ Science’
Falle Nioke ‘Barke’
Exuma ‘Empty Barrels’
The Cutlass Dance Band ‘Odofo Na Aden’
Comadre Florzinha ‘Arauna’
Maria Monti ‘Il Pavone’
Freur ‘Matters Of The Heart’
The Sixth Great Lake ‘Ballad Of A Sometimes Traveller’
The Field Mice ‘End Of An Affair’
R.E.M. ‘Country Feedback (Live)’
Supreme Dicks. ‘In A Sweet Song’
Elysian Spring ‘2 & 2’
Dennis Farnon ‘The Trackers’
Compton & Batteau ‘Honeysuckle’
Bill Jerpe ‘Mrs. Frost’
Michael Bundt ‘Midnight Orange Juice’
Alphataurus ‘Croma’
Ruth Copeland ‘Your Love Been So Good To Me’
Peace and Love ‘Until’
Remigio Ducros ‘Fabbrica Vuota’
Amon Duul II ‘Chamsin: Toxicological Whispering’
Eroc ‘Abendmeer’

The playlist revue is our chance to pick out the choice tracks that represent the last monthly period in the Monolith Cocktail’s output. This includes new releases and the best of reissues, plucked from the team: that’s me Dominic Valvona, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea and Matt Oliver.

February’s edition features another flight of African fantasy from The Invisible Session, a teaser from next month’s Edo Funk Explosion (released by Analog Africa), the post-punk, krautrock wrangling of Camera, Kabbalah C86 indie of Mazeppa, a stripped down in lockdown version of The Wedding Present, the third single from the Joy Division meets Smiths too-cool-for High School, and an array of essential Hip-Hop cuts from Strange U, Jam Baxter & Sumgii, Illman & Norm Oddity and Your Old Droog. In all, 40 eclectic tracks.


The Invisible Session  ‘West island’
Akaba Man & The Nigie Rokets  ‘Ta Gha Hunsimwen’
Byard Lancaster  ‘Jazz Lady’
Altin Gün  ‘Sevda Olmasaydi’
Samba Touré  ‘Tamala’
Baeshi Bang & Ip Koa Son  ‘Guna Hae’
Camera  ‘Kartoffelstampf’
Hifiklub & Eugène Chadboune  ‘Torso Corso’
White Ring  ‘Got U’
Hooveriii  ‘Control’
Haich Ber Na  ’87 Days’
Qwazaar/Batsauce/Hellsent  ‘No Ghosts’
th1rt3en & Pharoahe Monch  ‘Triskaidekaphobia’
Lion’s Drums  ‘Music From Memories’
Mazeppa  ‘Storm’
The Crushing Violets  ‘Embers’
The Wedding Present  ‘You Should Always Keep In Touch With Friends’
Dolph Chaney  ‘Status Unknown’
Ocelot  ‘Perhosia’
HighSchool  ‘De Facto’
The Legless Crabs  ‘Billy Joe (L)’
Strange U  ‘Maybe’
Jam Baxter & Sumgii  ‘Salsa Valentina’
Roc$tedy  ‘Gemini (Heaven & Hell)’
Illaman & Norm Oddity  ‘Ok!’
Your Old Droog & The God Fahim  ‘The Dunking Dutchman’
Grant Shapiro & Kool Keith  ‘42nd Street’
Nous Alpha & Christopher Bono  ‘Fibonacci Failure’
Graham Costello’s Strata  ‘Eudaimonia’
Lon Moshe/Southern Freedom Arkestar/Black Fire  ‘The Hutch’
His Name Is Alive  ‘Either’
Mapstation  ‘No No Staying’
Obay Alsharani  ‘Northern Lights’
Anansy Cissé  ‘Nia’
Jah Wobble  ‘Old Jewish East End Of London Dub’
Liz Davinci  ’10:23’
Animal Collective  ‘Sand That Moves’
Dom La Nena  ‘Todo Tiene Su Fin’
Marianne Faithfull & Warren Ellis  ‘She Walks In Beauty’
Matthew Sweet  ‘Best Of Me’

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Monolith Cocktail Social #52

February 10, 2021

Playlist/Dominic Valvona

The inaugural Monolith Cocktail Social playlist of 2021, the blog’s eclectic/generational spanning version of our ideal radio show, includes the unusual mix of wonders, gems, missives and oddities from across time. With a couple of tracks in tribute to those we’ve recently lost too (including former down ‘n’ dirty Doll face glam puss Sylvain Sylvain and British progressive folk darlings the Trees siren Celia Humphris).


Grazia  ‘Soyle Beni’

Tiger B. Smith  ‘Everything I Need’
Sylvain Sylvain  ‘Trash’
The Spaceshits  ‘Backstreet Boogie’
Paladin  ‘Third World’
Prince Lasha, Sonny Simmons  ‘Psalms Of Solomon’
Hareton Salvanini  ‘Seios’
Cleveland Eaton  ‘Chitown Theme’
Rotary Connection  ‘The Weight’
Christy Essien  ‘Take Life Easy’
King Tee  ‘At Your Own Risk (Marley Marl Remix)’
Blade  ‘Fade ‘Em Out’
Killa Instinct  ‘The Bambi Murders’
Black Sheep  ‘Yeaaahhh’
Marion Brown  ’27 Cooper Square’
Night Beats  ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’
Tucker Zimmerman  ‘Bird Lives’
Anne Briggs  ‘Step Right Up’

Trees  ‘Epitaph’
Sven Wunder  ‘Toryanse’
Jody Grind  ‘Plastic Shit’
Andrew Cyrille  ‘Metamusican’s Stomp’
Colosseum  ‘Take Me Back To Doomsday’
Electric Moon  ‘Hotel Hell’

Rialto  ‘Untouchable’
Made In Sweden  ‘Winter’s A Bummer’
Mythos  ‘Terra Incognita’
Odd Nosdam  ‘Wig 02’
Rancho Relaxo  ‘Sugar For The Devil’
Annexus Quam  ‘Osmose I’
African Head Charge  ‘Crocodile Shoes’
MRR-ADM  ‘11even’
The Auteurs Vs µ-Ziq  ‘Chinese Bakery’

Colin Newman  ‘I’ve Waited Ages’ Martin Dupont  ‘I Love The Lovers’
Ron Geesin  ‘Parallel Bar’
Krohme  ‘Goon Opera’
Azanyah  ‘Let God Come First’
Yumi Arai  ‘曇り空’
Dino Valente  ‘Tomorrow’

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Playlist/Claudia Calabresi

The Monolith Cocktail has been exchanging posts with our pen pal partners at the leading Italian music publication Kalporz for the last two years or more now; an exchange that continues unabated in 2021. Claudia Calabresi shares a new proposal: the IT-alien column of emerging talent from Italy’s underground music scene.

Not only xenophiles: today we inaugurate our IT-alien column, dedicated to the most interesting emerging voices in the Italian panorama, chosen for you by our editorial staff.

There are many artists in the Italian underground waiting to be discovered: and from the prolonged absence of the live shows that could launch them, the need arises for an alternative, virtual channel that can talk about them instead of concerts.

If you don’t want to miss the news follow the constantly updated playlist, our website and social profiles.

In the meantime, we reiterate the invitation to report your singles and debut albums to


Playlist/Writings: Dominic Valvona

It’s taken a number of months to filter through to the fans and general public, but the Fantastic Four nemesis inspired indomitable Hip-Hop pioneer MF DOOM, nee Daniel Dumile, passed away at the age of 49 on October 31st 2020. Though hardly a disguise, the metal-faced maverick of underground Hip-Hop kept up a cool, mysterious persona throughout a thirty-year career.

Perhaps one of the most influential game-changers in the genre and beyond, DOOM will be sorely missed as an independent producer, rapper and mentor. Difficult to pin down, and keep up with, DOOM’s various masked turns (MF DOOM, DOOM, Viktor Vaughn, Zev Love X) churned out a prolific catalogue of quality inventive and playful meta-reference releases; starting out as Zev Love X in the Long Island (“but we call it strong”) ‘Kausing Much Damage’ trio on the cusps of the 1990s. Abbreviated to KMD, they released one of the best debuts of the entire era, the now classic, Mr. Hood. Tragedy struck with the loss of his brother and fellow KMD founder, Subroc – who died in a freeway-crossing incident in 1993. Further more the trio’s label Elektra shelved an admittedly controversial, baiting follow-up album: Black Bastards. All of which led to five years in the wilderness for DOOM, before reinvention and the donning of the mask that would stay with him for the rest of his music career. Re-energised and determined to plough his own furrow, DOOM began a solo and collaborative pathway, working with a who’s who of underground talent, including Madlib and Danger Mouse. From the Monsta Island Czars all-stars team-up to his work with a new breed of rap stars, such as Bishop Nehru, DOOM leaves behind one of the greatest legacies in Hip-Hop: though his influence, creativeness, wordplay, pop culture, visuals and artwork reaches far beyond rap music.

Having followed DOOM since the very beginning, I’m personally saddened to see him gone. But in the spirit of celebrating that vast cannon of work I’ve selected a curated pathway through the DOOM cosmology. I’ve also included an essay-style deconstruction I wrote many years ago on KMD’s debut album, Mr. Hood – which you can find below the playlist link.

KMD ‘Mr. Hood’: A Deconstruction

From the shores of Long Island, hauling out of New York’s surrounding areas: K.M.D – an abbreviation that is either referred to as ‘Kausing much damage’ or ‘A positive kause in a much damaged society’, take your pick – were part of the second Native Tongues wave; alongside the likes of Brand Nubian and The Black Sheep.

Originally formed whilst still in collage, the Dumile brothers, better known as Zev Love X and Subroc, along with their sparing partner Rodan – also known as Jade 1 – started rapping together during the late 80s.

Rodan soon slipped off the radar, preferring to finish his education, rather then pursue the dream. His replacement was the gemstone moniker Onyx.

The trio soon caught a break with a guest slot on the 3rd Bass LP ‘The Cactus’ in 1989. Dante Ross, the A & R man and member of The Stimulated Dummies Hip Hop production squad, was impressed enough with their innovative skills and delivery to sign them up to the Elektra label the following year, after the Bass’s M.C Search recommended them.

Zev Love X was of course the early birth of that metal-faced maverick and crusader MF Doom, an alter-ego he later adopted, born out of the tragic loss in 1993, of his brother, Subroc – he was killed in a tragic freeway crossing incident – and at the embittered rage he felt after being sucked into the music industry and then un-ceremoniously spat out.

On ‘Mr.Hood’ you can already hear his undercurrent of cynicism and contempt, articulated in a flam-filled throaty delivery; like an apprentice you can hear him finding his feet.

The debut album caused minor ripples, with its adopted use of racist sound bites, miss-directed use of English learning instructional records from a bygone era, appropriation of much loved kids TV puppets and antagonizing Malcolm X speeches.

K.M.D cleverly assembled a collage of inflammatory and discriminate language, which ran alongside satirist and humorous skits – much in the style of De La Soul and The Leaders of the New School – to create a highly ambitious commentary on their own backyard.

There is a central theme running throughout, with the Mr.Hood character of the title popping up in many memorable sketches and miss-quoted exchanges. His contributions are lifted from an old English language course from the 50s, which throws up all kinds of unpleasant, and quite frankly racist, dialogue – well it comes out that way when manipulated as it is.

Our protagonist’s colloquial tones open up the album, as he goes on a wrecky to the local downtown Long Island jewellery shop (misspelt intentionally on the album I assume) where he bumps into Zev Love X, as he attempts to wrangle with the proprietor over an over-priced watch.

He appears on near enough every other track; with his oddly misconstrued and out of kilter with the modern times queries and insults, which draw sharp breaths of disbelief from the trio, or deride ridicule from the local cast of characters, as he meets them on the street corner or at the barbershop. Also making a surprisingly eye-opening appearance is Sesame Street favourites, Bert and Ernie, who amusingly turn up on the tracks, ‘Who Me? (with an answer from Dr.Bert)’, to look for “little sambo”, and on ‘Humrush”, where they nasality hum along with the group.

Musically the beats are of an R’n’B and soulful nature, with samples crafted from the Isley Brothers – their ‘I Turned You On’ track is sampled on ‘Who Me?’ – Shirly Ellis – her ‘The Nitty Gritty’ is used on ‘Nitty Gritty’ – O C Smith – ‘You Can See Forever’ and ‘The Sounds Of Goodbye’ used on ‘Peachfuzz’ – and The Hassles – ‘4’o’Clock In The Mom’hour Of The Wolf’ is used on ‘Subroc’s Mission.

There’s even a re-appropriated use and borrowing of both De La Souls ‘Potholes In My Lawn’, on the tune ‘Hard Wit No Hoe’, and A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Push It Along’ on ‘Nitty Gritty’.

All these beats are sophisticatedly layered and used quite subtly as a backdrop – you will notice that they are always lower in the mix, and seldom overawe the vocals – and is made-up of 808 drums, Jim Reed-esque organs, tightly packed thumping drum beats, taut wielding guitars, Stax rich bass lines and harmonica.

Any scratching is kept to a bare minimum, with the turntables skills arriving via the acute cutting, mixing and editing of samples and speech; mostly executed by Subroc.

The lyrics are dished out amongst the trio, with each member usually taking it in turns to step to the mic or guest in a solo spot, though Zev does tend to get a larger share then his partners.

A heavily laid-down mix of pro-Muslim rhetoric and protest goes up against the often-whimsical episodes and comical storytelling. Inspired by the teachings of Clarence Smith (known as Clarence 13X), and his splinter group the Five-Percent Nation – an offshoot from the Nation Of Islam – many of the lyrics encapsulate the beliefs and metaphors of this Harlem born sect.

On the opening track ‘Mr.Hood at Piocalles Jewelry Shop/Crackpot’, Zev articulately jams in the syllables, unravelling a kindergarten tale of following the wrong path in life:

“I first met Crackpot in like Head Starts,

And then I knew he wasn’t too head smart cuz as I scribbled in art,

He insisted on standing in the sandbox to collect unknown amounts

of pebbles and stones to throw rocks!’

By the end of the song, Zev bemoans to Mr.Hood about the negative allusions made about his race, and at the depressingly predictable decisions certain black males take: reminding them of their heritage and lack of ambition he almost exasperates:

“We built this place man,

We’re the Gods of the Universe,

Kings and Queens of the planet!”

On the highlight track ‘Who Me?’ Zev rides on the derogatory comments and ethnographical implanted stereotypes of the black race:

“Pigment, is this a defect in birth?

Or more an example of the richness on Earth?

Lips and eyes dominant traits of our race,

Does not take up 95% of one’s face.”

Sibling Subroc, has a more skipping and bouncy terminology to compensate against Zev’s; his own jam ‘Subroc’s Mission’ follows along a loose narrative of street slang and obscure references, whilst the birthstone kid, Onyx, unleashes his torrent of humorous one-liners and staccato stuttering tongue-twisters, over the soul shaking R’n’B horn blasting ‘Boogie Man’:

“Now check it, don’t miss this,

Lick them while I diss this sarcastic bastard,

Of which I’ve been mastered”.

They’re joined by fellow Afrocentric compatriots, Brand Nubians, on the super-rap wordplay riffing chorus-line of ‘Nitty Gritty’. The Nub’s own grandly entitled Grand Puba Maxwell, gives the K.M.D boys a run for their money on the lyrical wordplay:

“God cipher divine as I build on the incline,

Quick to help another, cause I know I’m a get mine.

Build-powers think they’re hard, but they’re killin’ their own kind,

Emphatically no, divine evil got him in his mind”.

Each of the two crews members line-up to show off their dexterity, which revolves around quotes, passages and the teachings of both the Nation of Islam and the offshoot 5-Percenters, name-checking the grand design of their creator, the Pyramids and oppression.

The rest of the album often throws up some unsettling mentions of “white devils” and other uneasy rhetoric, with a heavy use of Malcolm X’s speeches – his famous “he’s a wolf, and you’re a sheep” quote appears on the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ track – from his Nation of Islam days; though it must be pointed out that he eventually publicly left the group, breaking away to form his own splinter group which had a far mellower attitude to the white folk – as long as they were Muslim, of course. But this often cited prose is always counter-acted with the satirical use of cartoon characters and humorous anecdotes.

Mr.Hood’ holds up extremely well, proving to be one the more accomplished albums from the period. Those conceptual themes, so essential to many of the Native Tongues collective, shows exceptional moments of creativity and talent.

Unfortunately their follow-up, no messing, album ‘Black Bastards’, didn’t sit well with the label, held-back and consigned to the vaults for nearly a decade. Both its content and provocative imagery – the cover sports a rubber-lipped characterture of a poor unfortunate black fellow with a noose around its neck, waiting in anticipation for someone to fill the blanks in a fatal game of Hangman. An ultimatum of sorts was made, ditch the cover or else! Of course this never happened and the album was never put out until a later reissue package under another label finally made it to the public – I was lucky to get a rather rough bootleg tape version of 5-tracks, but waited until the noughties to finally get my hands on a proper copy.

‘Black Bastards’ omitted much of the more comical interaction and playfulness, replacing the colourful samples catalogue with a more layered backing, and adding a more heavily laden set of lyrics to counter the whimsical postulations of the debut.

The birthstone kid had of course already jumped ship, leaving the brothers alone to deliver the much-anticipated second LP. Subroc took on all the production duties and assemblage of samples and beats; creating so much material that his brother used some of these sessions on his later MF Doom recordings – including most notably ‘Hoe Cakes’ from the seminal cuisine obsessed ‘Mmm Food’ album.

Tragically as I’ve already mentioned, Subroc was killed whilst crossing a freeway in 1993, putting the albums release into further turmoil, though the controversy over the artwork had already put a kibosh on it ever making the stores.

With the album shelved, resigned to cover dust in the vaults, Zev Love X began his wilderness years. It would be 5 more years until he was re-born as the vengeful MF Doom.

Dominic Valvona

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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