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Songs We Love: Moor Mother, 'Deadbeat Protest'

Moor Mother's album <em>Fetish Bones</em> came out last year.
Moor Mother's album <em>Fetish Bones</em> came out last year.

Camae Ayewa, who records under the name Moor Mother, doesn't waste time. The Philly-based artist and agitator stuffs every moment of her densely packed, combative songs with unease and piercing static — that she doesn't allow listeners a moment of peace or rest can only be part of the point.

"Trying to save my black life / By fetishizing my dead life / F*** / Get away from me," she roars in "Deadbeat Protest," an 83-second blurt of antagonistic aggression that makes Death Grips sound like Ed Sheeran. That gnarled F-bomb is telling: It's set against the grimy, industrial buzz of electronics, yet it still finds a way to clash harshly against the sounds that surround it. It's not a cathartic primal scream so much as the product of a search for new ways to set nerves on edge.

Though Ayewa shrouds her words in shards of sonic confrontation, her message is as blunt and compressed as her music: She's hungry, under attack, fists up, forever in peril. This is music of crisis and, as such, it takes — and makes — no room to breathe.

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