Street Sweeper Social Club | The Ghetto Blaster EP (Street Sweeper Social Club)

Despite repeatedly changing bands since the initial hiatus of RATM, Morello appears to have jumped back into his funky stylings effortlessly, which makes his work with SSSC that much more impressive.

 
With the re-emergence of Rage Against The Machine in recent years, Tom Morello has returned to the harder, politically-infused rock that served as his bread and butter in the mid- to late-’90s and early 2000s. However, in the interim, Morello has found himself involved with a number of successful projects—most notably alongside Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell in the now defunct Audioslave. Morello has also toured extensively under his solo moniker, Nightwatchman. He has continued speaking on outstanding issues amongst the U.S. and various international governments. Most recently, however, Morello seems to have found an outlet that doesn’t stray far musically from the sound of RATM, but that does present the struggles of the average American in a more relatable manner.
 
With recognizable guitar work from Morello and ear-catching lyrics from Boots Riley (The Coup), Street Sweeper Social Club emerged with the force of a nightstick across the face in 2006, demoing material across the U.S. during Morello’s Nightwatchman tour. In 2009, the group released its first full-length, self-titled record. It found almost immediate success in the rock world through its association with Morello’s well-established name. Backing up the hype with a longstanding radio single, “100 Little Curses,” SSSC hit the national circuit of major showcases, including California’s Coachella Music Festival.
 
In August, the group released its most recent effort, the Ghetto Blaster EP, offering new tracks, two covers and a remix. While the rock power of SSSC explodes out of the gate with the title track, the group also takes the time to lay down an M.I.A. cover (“Paper Planes”), as well as LL Cool J’s “Momma Said Knock You Out.” Interestingly enough, SSSC nails the power of both covers despite the different sounds their original artists gave to the tracks. Aside from adding his own rant at the end of “Momma Said Knock You Out,” Riley spits through his rhymes in a gripping and impressive manner that almost makes it seem as though he wrote the song himself.
 
Although Riley’s confident and boisterous voice carries the group along, Morello’s chuggy, methodical guitar playing is what drives fists in the air from listeners and live audiences. Despite repeatedly changing bands since the initial hiatus of RATM, Morello appears to have jumped back into his funky stylings effortlessly, which makes his work with SSSC that much more impressive.
 
Where rock-rap groups have failed in the past with gimmicky lyrics and poor stage presence, SSSC has taken care to perfect their delivery and performance before reaching out with their political apathy. Their willingness to tour smaller venues this fall will only help the fan base that has begun to emerge behind them. Grade: A | Joe Witthaus
 
RIYL: Rage Against The Machine, The Coup, Class of ‘99
 
SSSC will be performing at Pop’s at 7 p.m. on Friday, 9/24, with Fer De Lance and From Skies of Fire. More info is available by visiting www.popsrocks.com.
 

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