Feb 202019
idles the streets

If you’re a music and/or data nerd, journalist Rob Mitchum’s annual spreadsheet compiling the albums on every publication’s year-end lists is fascinating. Long before the Village Voice‘s Pazz & Jop poll comes out, you can see, mathematically, where the critical consensus is landing.

In 2018, most names in the upper echelons came as no surprise if you follow music journalism. But, to me, one name near the top stood out: IDLES. Though near the top, this British punk band appeared on far fewer publications’ year-end lists than the likes of Kacey Musgraves or Cardi B. But here’s the thing: When IDLES did appear, they ranked high. In fact, their album’s average year-end-list ranking was higher than anyone else in the top 50. They were either in someone’s top ten, or not there at all.

Their new cover may show newcomers why this band inspires such passion. For England’s long-running radio covers series “BBC Live Lounge”, the quintet tackled not the show’s typical single song, but four, creating a medley of early songs by an unlikely source for a punk band: beloved British rapper The Streets. Despite employing your typical rock band’s guitar-bass-drums lineup, they bring a huge hip-hop energy to this unconventional selection. Lead singer Joe Talbot is beet-red and sweating before five minutes are up, and you can see why. Every band member visibly pushes himself to his absolute limit, never stopping moving. Here’s GIF-able proof:

Watch IDLES’ Streets covers medley below. The four songs they rip through are “Turn the Page,” “Has it Come to This?,” “Geezers Need Excitement,” and “Don’t Mug Yourself,” all from the rapper’s 2002 debut Original Pirate Material.

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