Socialism lessons from Cola Boyy’s funky, Vocoder-driven plot to overthrow the ruling class

Wajatta’s John Tejada, left, and Reggie Watts
Wajatta’s Reggie Watts, right, and John Tejada.

Cola Boyy, “All Power to the People” (Record Makers). Oxnard’s self-proclaimed Disabled Disco Innovator opens the video for his new track with an emergency alert that suggests he’s interrupting regularly scheduled programming. Nuclear war? Military curfew? Nope. Three minutes of Vocoder-driven socialist funk that calls for the proletariat to rise up to overthrow the bourgeoisie.

Best known for his international hit “Penny Girl,” the artist born Matthew Urango got a boost earlier this year when he played Coachella, a spot he earned through his infectious 2018 EP, “Black Boogie Neon.” This is his first new track since then, and it rolls with the artist’s trademark dance floor exuberance. The difference? Cola Boyy’s message, especially in the video. A call to action, the clip sets the artist in a grade-school classroom, where he’s teaching students about socialist history.

As animated cartoon figures swirl and move among them in a room filled with posters of socialist icons Che Guevara, Karl Marx, Fidel Castro and Mao Tse-tung, Cola Boyy exhorts the students to organize for change. He does so via a synth-funk track that suggests early 1980s funk acts such as Zapp, Parliament and the Gap Band, one propelled by the catchy Vocoder-sung chorus: “All power to the people!”

Oh Sees, “Henchlock” video (Castleface). Less a video than a short film, this new work by Matthieu Moerlen is powered by Eagle Rock band Oh Sees’ epic 2019 psyche-rock song, “Henchlock.” Extending nearly 20 minutes, the track, which closes out the band’s album “Face Stabber,” moves like a lysergic excursion by Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies: Mesmerizing echo, looping bass lines and a steady, determined groove create a field upon which Oh Sees founder John Dwyer rocks out on electric guitar.


For the video, Moerlen has created a narrative with its own curious logic. Part sci-fi thriller, part psychodrama, it focuses on a family wrestling with mysterious technology. It features, among other striking sequences: a guy who repeatedly bangs his phone against his head until it merges to become his third eye; a woman who, after eating an orange slice, spits out a small mechanical device that’s been lodged in her body; and the theft of a seemingly crucial laptop computer (which is then sexually assaulted). Separately, both the song and the film are notable. Combined, they’ll freak your day out.

Wajatta, “Don’t Let Get You Down” (Brainfeeder). The first new track from the duo of comedic actor and experimental vocalist Reggie Watts and electronic producer John Tejada since their debut in 2017, “Don’t Let Get You Down” is perhaps the best whistle-house track released this year. Featuring Watts’ blowing in melody as Tejada’s bumpy four-on-the-floor rhythms offer support, the track moves with a smoothness that renders the implied “it” of the chorus — it should be “don’t let it get you down,” right? — unnecessary.

The single is the title track from Wajatta’s second album. Slated to come out in spring 2020, it will be the pair’s first for Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder Records imprint.

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