To give you a behind the scenes peek at the I Enjoy Music blog mothership (aka me sitting at my computer), I have a board on Notion where I put my blog ideas, including music that I want to write about. Sometimes that music comes from individual recommendations, or people 'banging my line' at ienjoymusicblog [at] gmail [dot] com, or Discord, or Twitter, or just hearing music in the wild. Music is everywhere...did you know???
And I had Saint Anger by Rural Internet on my "to write about" column for a few weeks now, long enough that by the time I sat down to write about it, I was like, wait a second, where did I even find this album to begin with? I retraced my steps, feeling exactly like the guy from Memento, and then realized I found the album via No Bells — specifically, because Zazie Bae, one of the members of Rural Internet (a trio of experimental rappers / producers in America and Australia who have now put out four albums together), did some great reporting on how many Travis Scott UTOPIA beats actually came from the production graveyard of Kanye West. I had read that piece, checked out Zazie's Twitter, saw Rural Internet linked in her bio, listened to the album, and now we're aaaall up to date.
Saint Anger is fucking...wild. It came out at the end of 2022, and Rural Internet produced just about everything on the album themselves. The vocal performances are ferocious, often shrieked rather than spoken, and the beats are all-consuming, slaloming from hyperpop to dubstep to trap to speed metal and back again. "HANDCLAPPING TUTORIAL" builds from a skit-like intro into a glitchy techno stomper; "THROATCUTTER" pairs guitar sludge with frantic hi-hats, then slows to a creaking horror movie finish. Whether derangedly interpolating Kesha's "TiK ToK," crafting a beat almost entirely of gunshot noises, or following up a detonation of distortion with an a capella monologue about what scaring the hoes actually means, Rural Internet commit to an astonishing intensity that doesn't let up for a full hour. It just goes...so hard...every element of percussion, even those that aren't actual bullets firing, still hits like a damn projectile.
All three vocalists (Zazie, who records as zombAe; Charlotte Crosby, who contributed a ton of instrumentation to the production, including flute and banjo; and doin' fine, who also mastered the album) have such unique voices, and the energy on this record is just incredible. Even though there's a lot going on production-wise, Saint Anger feels like a cohesive statement. It's a glitchy cyclone of rancor that gleefully mimics the violence of the external world with some unorthodox violence of its own, before pausing to collect itself on final song "THE CRUCIFIXION OF SAINT ANGER," a ragged meditation on the utility of rage at a time of maximum surveillance: "I'm not angry / I'm not a saint / I'm just tired of your gaze."
Anyway, I'm totally blown away, and excited because there's a ton more Rural Internet to listen to, both from the group and from the individual artists (already eyeing doin' fine's VIRTUAL INSANITY). This is your sign to, if you like something that someone created, look at what else they're up to, because it might lead you to cool stuff. Long live the hyperlink and boo to anyone who wants to kill it.
Listen to Rural Internet's Saint Anger right here.