The first artist I've seen who could hold her own on a bill with Janelle Monae is Ebony Bones (above right).
The musical sister of Santigold and M.I.A., and is possibly a distant cousin to that other UK export, Lady Sovereign, the woman born Ebony Thomas is equal parts new wave, grime and plenty of dance thrown in.
See the problem (or challenge) for Janelle is that she blows folks off the stage. I wouldn't want any band I was working with to follow her. But in this case the two of them–Janelle Monae and Ebony Bones–would be absolutely off the hook. What Ebony offers is a party from the start of the set straight through to the end.
Her theatricality is backed up by a solid voice and songs that run the gamut–party joints, songs about missed connections, backstabbers, etc. But beneath the beats are songs that show her to have a keen eye for human behavior. Her commentary on the world is sharp, much like Imani Coppola's. She's been described as "the black Lady Gaga" and that would at least put you in a zone. Actually, her costumes remind me of that New Order video where the guys were slapping the shit outta each other.
All the more impressive is that Ebony has completely embraced the DIY life. She's currently without a label and finances all her touring herself. According to her manager, Beyonce and Solange Knowles are already fans. So her doing it on her own, well, I don't expect that to be the case much longer. Clearly, behind all of the costumes and the persona is a sharp business mind.
But the music? The two tracks here give you a sense of what she's capable of. What I love about "Warriors" is the exuberance that's marked by the crashing cymbals. Then there's "Guess We'll Always Have NY". Suffice it to say the relationship didn't work out. I love this line:
Say you've been busy? I've been busy, too.
Shagging someone else to get over you
Anyway, check her out for yourself:
As a bonus, here's the video for "The Muzik." I was going to post the MP3, but the video is an infectious bunch of fun. Among those in the video, check out Bryan Edwards aka Kaos Blac, who's been singing Ebony's praises for over a year.