New Rain Machine – “Smiling Black Faces” (Stereogum Premiere)

brandon | September 1, 2009 - 4:40 pm

Our first taste of Rain Machine, aka the solo project from TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, was the chaotically upbeat “Give Blood.” It didn’t leave much space for you to catch your breath, if breath needed catching. Malone wisely follows it with “Smiling Black Faces,” a mellower political/personal anthem that gains momentum with each bell-like toll of his guitar (and jingle-bell shake in the background). We hear about genocide, burnt corks, slave names, an unsmiling face in a mirror. You might be reminded of TVOTR’s “Dry Drunk Emperor,” but this one’s set at least partially in New York: Sean Bell gets an extended homage, his death and the acquittal of the officers who shot him offering an opportunity to ask some big questions and a call for self-reliance, empowerment, etc. That it’s one pair of hands clapping at the end? Nice touch.

Rain Machine – “Smiling Black Faces” (MP3)

Rain Machine is out 9/22 via Anti-.

[Photo by Eric Martin]