An Unwelcome Guest Welcomes Guests

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New album from Guante & Big Cats! boasts some killer guest-spots

“An Unwelcome Guest,” the zombie-superhero-love story hip hop concept album from Twin Cities duo Guante & Big Cats!, wrapped recently after a couple of grueling sessions at Ben Durrant’s Crazy Beast Studio.  While the album itself won’t be released until late 2009, label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records is leaking the guest roster now.

The most recognizable name is probably Haley Bonar, the popular singer/songwriter who just made the move to Portland after a long and successful stay in the Twin Cities.  Bonar lends her distinctive voice to “The National Anthem,” a dark and propulsive track that mixes an eerie piano sample, lyrical throwbacks to Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and the first appearance of the album’s signature catchphrase: “we are waking up in our caskets.”

Another singer, Twin Cities-by-way-of-Knoxville folk/soul artist Chastity Brown makes an appearance on the track “Welcome to the Border.”  Successfully blending threatening with beautiful, her sections of the song are warnings: “crawling, walking, running, pressing up against your lovely lines/ we are underwater breathing, we are walking through your fire/ pressure building, burning, pressing up against your lovely home/ we are so close…”

The Twin Cities vibrant hip hop scene is well represented by guest spots from Big Quarters (on “The Stockholm Syndrome”) and Eric Blair of the bands Hyder Ali and No Bird Sing (on “Yes God is a DJ; No, Not a Good One”).  All three emcees get to flex their creativity and develop characters that fit into Guante’s overarching narrative, the story of one man traveling from east to west in the wake of a man-made disaster.

Finally, Strange Famous (home of Sage Francis, B.Dolan and Doomtree’s Cecil Otter) recording artist Prolyphic delivers a fiery storytelling verse alongside Guante and Big Quarters on “The Stockholm Syndrome,” a track about survival at all costs.

“I love putting people on the same song whom you wouldn’t ever expect to be on the same song,” Guante says.  The track with Prolyphic and Big Quarters is a monster, and the one with me and Haley Bonar might be my favorite on the album; who would ever think that she’d sound so natural and at-home on a hip hop album about displacement, zombies and the political/social nature of violence?”

Add to this the beat-making talents of Big Cats! and the critically acclaimed lyrics and vocals of rapper, slam poetry champion and activist Guante, and you’ve got a potent mix. “An Unwelcome Guest” will be out late in 2009 on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

For further updates, check out http://deadrunning.blogspot.com and http://www.truruts.com.

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