Music Reviews

Earman Ali

7 Foot Speakeasy Diva


I have to admit, there’s something about spoken word that can be quite irritating. Perhaps it’s the pat cadences or the cliché profundities a lot of the “poets” lay on you. To spit insipid rhymes or wail lamentable lyrics can often be ignored•depending on the surrounding music. But the drone of the spoken word can just scratch the blackboard of your eardrums. I guess that’s why so many dilettante poets can rarely pull off a spoken word album.

However, Earman Ali, the brainchild of Daniel “Gravy” Thomas, does much more than that. Thomas freestyles some intriguing, extemporaneous lyrics. More abstract than abhorrent, he can really draw you into the spitfire synapses popping off in his brain. No wonder Ursula Rucker allowed him to kick off her debut, Supa Sista. He has an undeniable magnetism that does not depend on histrionics or history lessons.

Meanwhile, the band’s got everything you want. They are crisp and tight and funky. They provide serious head nod grooves that Thomas can fully exploit•sometimes floating over them and other times laying deep within.

7 Foot Speakeasy Diva evokes a smoky, hipster club where pretension runs as thick as the cigarette smoke in a lethargic, nonchalant fashion. A redeye night of slickness. A postmodern juke joint. It’s coolness beyond compare, a jazzy gyroscopic journey from one, smooth jive-talkin’ cat.

Liquilab Records:

Recently on Ink 19...

Best of Five

Best of Five

Screen Reviews

Not everyone can be excited by blocks spinning on a screen, but if you are, Ian Koss recommends you pay attention to Best of Five.



Event Reviews

Jeremy Glazier shoots a CAKE headline show at McGrath Amphitheater.