A Howl Of Rage

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Today’s track is Your Time Is Gonna Come  by V.A.P.A. – fast, furious and with an echo of Pop Will Eat Itself at their agitrap finest. Can’t tell you anything about this mob – with absolutely zero online info apart from the lyrics, the only hint is offered by a contact email at the bottom of the page which suggests the hand of our friends at Ambiguous Records somewhere in all this.

Leftwing musicians and journalists of my generation are prone to much handwringing along the lines of “where are the protest singers of today”. Yet most have never even listened to outstanding modern exponents such as Grace Petrie and The Agitator

Mainly though, iit’s because many of the UK’s best polemicists over the last ten years have been MCs – think Lowkey or Akala  – rather than acoustic troubadours in the style of Billy Bragg.  My entire knowledge of UK urban music could be written on a post-it note, but for me this song reflects the fury many people feel at what’s being done to us by those in power.

Take a listen and see what you think.

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...


  1. Andy Holdcroft

    If you want “protest” singers, check out Luke Concannon’s solo work: http://www.myspace.com/lukeconcannon

  2. Tom

    Thanks Andy – Always liked Luke’s work with Nizlopi – the first song on his MySpace is called “Understand”… it struck me as worthy but a bit unfocussed. What does anyone else think?
    Luke Concannon

  3. Hey Tom

    I have to agree with Andy, Luke is a fantastic artist writing compassionate songs that deal with global injustice but that make you wanna dance! Wait til you hear the solo project he’s currently working on.

    But I would also like to put forward myself. Check http://www.youtube.com/jimmydavisdavis and listen to J.D.F.F.P.W.M.T.N.A.A.A … Listen and then I’ll tell u what the title means 🙂

  4. Tom

    Nice track – you can take a listen here, fellow readers:

    So what does J.D.F.F.P.W.M.T.N.A.A.A stand for Jimmy ?

  5. Richard Edward Downs

    Don.t know if Maryland Avenue is a quote, “protest song” – but it’s a pretty good commentary on the way things are. Give it a listen, you just may agree.

  6. Tom

    This is Richard’s song “Maryland Avenue” on Soundcloud. It’s 6’35” long – but yes, as he says, do take a listen and see if you agree.

  7. Dan

    Keep the kids pinned in by Familiar Creatures, about last years education cuts/riots http://www.familiarcreatures.bandcamp.com x

  8. Tom

    From the Familiar Creatures Bandcamp page: “Hello. We’re Familiar Creatures. We’re a bright young creative band from the UK/Ireland, based in London. There’s 5 of us (including a trumpet) and we write our own unique brand of brassy folk. Influenced by the likes of Love, Bob Dylan and The Beatles, we’re doing what we can to make something fresh and political. Much love x” This song is downloadable for just 20p

  9. Have you heard Kate Tempest (Excentral Tempest/Sound of Rum)? Amazing voice and passionate delivery of powerful lyrics.

  10. Tom

    Thanks so much for turning me onto Kate Tempest Kerry – what an amazing f***ing talent. Really, really glad to have her on my radar from now on. Blimey. I’m lost for words.

  11. Si Fielding

    Hi Tom, Check out Jim Lockey’s free download:- http://tinyurl.com/6qtahum

  12. Tom

    Cheers Si – and here’s the track embedded: ‘Warriors’ by Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun taken from forthcoming album ‘Death’ out in April 2012 on Xtra Mile Recordings. The notes say “download it and pass it around. Released by: Xtra Mile Recordings on Dec 11, 2011”

  13. There’s, ehh…me! But you already knew that. This is a newer one though.


    And of course the stuff you know already Tom, on my bandcamp at http://shamblesmiller.bandcamp.com/

  14. Tom

    New Music from the splendidly sardonic Shambles Miller has to be A Good Thing. I also warmly recommend his song Things That Make Me Angry.

  15. Andy Holdcroft

    Here’s a really young band just beginning to record some of their music & articulating the feelings of their generation: http://soundcloud.com/jakeey-shaww/wasted-youth

  16. Tom

    Thanks Andy – as a you say, a really young band – full of energy and enthusiasm. The sound reminds me of The Jam circa 1977 but everyone starts somewhere – even The Beatles started out by copying black American R&B. Their best work may still be ahead of them, but it’ll be interesting to hear how their sound develops as they carry on writing and gigging together..

  17. Al

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for dropping that one into the Fresh On The Net site. Not quite the usual sound from Ambiguous Records but hey sometimes things have to be vocalised and given a chance to be heard. I think what gets to me is that there are people in positions of power who could really change things. But they don’t. And what’s worse they genuinely think that by systematically destroying our culture and grass roots in the name of democracy and financial liberty they are doing a good thing. Bastards.

    And on a lighter note and looking at the post above from Kerry, you should check out Kate Tempest’s work with the Elysian Quartet. VERY cool.
    Al x

  18. Cheers for that Al – you might be able to tell me – what’s the correct way of pronouncing the name of this project? Is it “Vaper” to rhyme with “scraper”, “Vapper” to rhyme with “rapper” – or simply spelt out as letters, ie “Vee Ay Pee Ay” ??? And the kate Tempest suggestion sounds great. Is there a streaming track somewhere by her and the Elysian Quartet that anybody could recommend for us to play on my radio show?
    Tom x

  19. I Am War – sometimes quiet & simple can hit hard.

  20. Tom

    Couldn’t find streaming audio of Nick’s track anywhere apart from the wretched MySpace, but here’s the link to the track on YouTube:

  21. Hmm…good shout that maybe MC’s are the best protesters of our time, but the acoustic troubadour still has a place. If the media are asking where the protest singers of today are then they’re not looking hard enough. They may not have record deals or a budget for videos, but I hear great, relevant lyrics at pretty much every pub gig and folk club I go to.

    For what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

  22. Tom

    This is splendid – direct and to the point – no beating about the bush or mincing words. Obviously the bit about BBC journos getting their pensions particularly appealed to me. Everybody please visit: Steve White & The Protest Family

  23. Al

    Yup vaper to rhyme with scraper!
    The KT vs EQ was broadcast on Radio 3 and offered as a free download for a few months last year. Alas it is no longer up for streaming

  24. All Fall Down by Queen Elvis.. free download here..a song about people who follow but do not question

  25. Tom

    Good to hear from Queen Elvis – it’s been too long! And here’s the embedded audio:

  26. This is a protest of sorts… i’ve told you 2000 times, Change the Record: http://soundcloud.com/ohboy1/change-the-record_ohboy_remix

  27. Tom

    Boy Oh Boy – have been searching the interwebs to try and find the original version of this so as to be able to make a comparison, but apart from an elderly MySpace and out of date Wikipdedia entry, Mars Black seems to have vanished off the face of the net. He’s certainly vanished entirely from the Team Love website. Did he and Conor Oberst have a spectacular falling-out or something?

  28. Thanks for listening Tom 🙂

    The title is –


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