Ruthless Cosmopolitans are a product of, and reaction to, this exact moment in history. The project was born in the Summer of 2017, in response to the white-supremacist attack on peaceful protestors in Charlottesville, VA which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. That tragedy was the catalyst. However, in the band’s own words their debut EP is, “a cathartic response to the cultural and political insanity of the last four years.”
The project is a collaboration between two veterans of New York City’s underground arts and music scenes. Jon Madof is a guitarist, composer, producer and label-owner (Chant Records). His bands Zion80 and Rashanim have recorded extensively for Tzadik Records, owned by avant-garde Jazz legend John Zorn. Madof’s partner in Ruthless Cosmopolitans is underground rapper, poet, and performance artist, Eden Pearlstein (aka ePRHYME).
Pearlstein has spent the last two decades collaborating with numerous renowned Hip Hop, World, Jazz, Metal, and Conceptual artists. He is also a founding/contributing member of multimedia projects such as Darshan, THEE XNTRX, and Saints of Everyday Failures. The crack rhythm section of bassist Yoshie Fruchter and drummer Emmanuel Laine round out the quartet.
“Ruthless” is the band’s new 6-song EP. Stylistically the record ranges from Reggae/Ska/Punk (“Book of Ruthless”) to hardcore Metal/Rap (“Gawd Hates FLaGS”). and 70’s Funk (“Make America Hate Again”). Throughout the EP, power chords crunch between syncopated bass lines. Bitches Brew-style jams weave freeform Jazz trumpet solos in and out of psychedelic Blues/Metal guitar solos.
The record juggles genres around to suit its moods. The members of Ruthless Cosmopolitans are world-class musicians who know how to maintain a perfect balance of reckless abandon and virtuosic execution. That equation of equal parts control and chaos matches the lyrical theme of the record that is at once comedic and deadly serious.
Lyrically, Pearlstein fearlessly confronts, mocks and challenges the powers that be. As a matter of course, he covers all of the subjects best left out of polite conversation or drunken debate; politics, religion and money. On “Ruthless,” as is the case in modern society, the three are inextricably intertwined. From the opening declarations of “Book of Ruthless” to the brilliant and hilarious “Faux King Crazy,” he skewers every crumbling building block of Western civilization. Imagine Rage Against the Machine with a sense of irony and a penchant for acid Jazz.
The primary target of Pearlstein’s judgement is our racist wrecking ball in chief, Donald J Trump. However, the record is not just a critique of the President but also of the culture that made his rise possible. To that end, the EP’s lead-off single “The Screen Age” tackles our disposable digital age with wit, sarcasm and biting social commentary.
Check out the video for “The Screen Age” (above), directed by Abbey Luck and Prone Studios. You can also hear the song on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Follow the links below to connect with Ruthless Cosmopolitans. The debut EP will be available everywhere on October 23, 2020.