Dollar and Deed

  • Hawnay Troof
  • Southern Records/Retard Disco
  • 2006-05-22

“Hawnay Troof” implies in Southern (American) terms implies what it suggests, “you’re horny ain’t dat da truth”. Similarly, Retard Disco is a good indicator for the sound Vice Cooler a.k.a. Hawnay Troof puts out. Maybe throw in the fact that this music sounds as though its made by someone wired by some serious A.D.T. and hatred for the ignorant values/virtues that occupy Southern America and society in general and your beginning to get an impression of this Hawnay Troof.

Musically speaking, Dollar and Deed, is one continuous mash up of lo-fi boom bap hip-hop and a mixture of glitchy disco/techno beats. Vice Cooler sounds straight out of Beastie Boys, with his white boy scrawl, mixing between a sort of quickly spoken spoken word and cleverly rhymed chants that are never going to win him an MC competition but are nevertheless engaging. A double LP, Dollar (first LP), Deed (second LP), things really start getting cranked up on Dollar with “Out of Teen” as Vice Cooler and a female sidekick shout “we got no rules live with no rules”. On paper the words speak a GCSE Sex Pistols anarchy but on record Hawnay Troof makes the two sentences sound ambiguous in conjunction. Is it that we’ve got not rules, or is that we really live with no rules, or is it both? Of course, the cry could also be a declaration for both and this is an example of the activism, that both political and personal at times, which fuels the punchy sound and lyrics of this record. Admirably, outside of a straight up punk genre where maybe this aesthetic is to be expected, this sort of activism makes this tweaked mash up styles sound unique and quixotic.

Sometimes eating too many sweets and being sick all over the floor is Ok.

“Bad News From the Stars”, is a diatribe on life back home: “out a shitty ass home in Yilman’s Corner, Alabama there’s kids swimming in ditches and U cant understand their grammar”. Nevertheless, the song comes across all P-Funk with calypso beats and a wave of glitches and multi-layered vocals that make it sound like it could have come from the twitching hands of Jason Forrest. There is little time to catch your breath here nor is there what ‘albumists’ might call an over-riding flow — songs are continuously stopped, started and cut up — just spit quick and hard. This gives the album an energy that is imperious and infectious but can also make it sound at times a little tedious and difficult to keep track of. The second LP Deed, suffers most in terms of these difficulties, with Hawnay Troof ranting harder then ever but sounding like all the interesting beats were used up on Dollar. In terms of beats it’s significant to point out here that we’ve got John Dietrich out of Deerhoof at the helm — no stranger to the weird and the wonderful — and tracks like the Prince tinged “Left Arm Vacant” are exquisite in their use of weird samples to create melody and catchy rhythms.

Elsewhere other highlights include “Gloria” and “Into the Definite”. Gloria is pretty hectic with Hawnay’s flow at express train levels over a ra ta ta tat machine gun drums that are interspersed with sped up RnB samples and a Stephen Hawkins inflected voice asking us “what do we want what do we want what do we want”. Yep, this is all pretty direct. “Into the Definte” is built around a single funk guitar riff, and has a throw back Run DMC feel to it whilst managing to make the chorus “Dead, alive? Whose got the answers and who decides?” a captivating shout out.

Listeners to Dollar and Deed will benefit from repeated use whether it is deciphering what is sometimes a mess or simply locking into the grooves that bit faster. For some, like for similar acts such as M.I.A., the overall sound will be a bit too much and they’ll quickly find it a turn off. For myself, Vice Cooler is funny guy and he’s asking questions and still managing to sound fucked or funky. Sometimes eating too many sweets and being sick all over the floor is Ok.

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