Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Rosepure
Following on from her 2018 record Hired Muscle and March 2020’s split record with her sibling Yaws, Grace Stevenson aka Rebel Yell has offered up the first piece of music from her forthcoming LP Fall From Grace. ‘Anti Club Music’, featuring R-T-FAX is a middle finger to the gatekeeping overlords of Australia’s electronic scene, a sarcastic rebuttal wrapped in hard-hitting beats and subversive rave soundscapes.
“This is not club music”
On ‘Anti Club Music’ – the first cut of Rebel Yell’s forthcoming LP Fall From Grace – Grace Stevenson isn’t holding back. Since truly emerging onto the underground dance scene with 2016’s Mother of Millions EP, Grace has been carving a lane of her own with her forceful brand of doof. Despite an increasing profile, it seems as if Grace as Rebel Yell has experienced frustrating roadblocks barring her acceptance into the broader community of electronic music. The phrase “This is not club music“, which is returned to again and again on ‘Anti Club Music’ isn’t so much Grace’s own descriptor of her sound (it’s clearly perfect for sweaty dance floors), it’s instead a sarcastic retort at the self-appointed sentinels of the scene that diminish her work in favour of blander, ‘groovier’ DJs. Alongside collaborator R-T-FAX, Grace show’s why Rebel Yell is one of the more exciting proponents of outside electro operating, sticking to the ‘tech-house bros’ with an undeniable rave-ready pound.
‘Anti Club Music’ is another evolutionary step up from Grace’s formative period where she revelled in blasted and distorted tech noise – this is a purer form of urgent EBM unce. There are still traces of echoed subterranean clang, but the sheen on the bristling pulse and throb (plus the clarity given to Grace’s hypnotised vocals) leaves no doubt that she’s got a firm grasp on what makes people move. Interestingly, the clip for ‘Anti Club Music’ – directed by Ivan Lentell and featuring visuals from Passive Kneeling – takes place in what looks to me like a storm drain, proving that maybe Grace doesn’t need the club. Maybe it isn’t club music after all – it’s anywhere music.