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The Herd are an Australian hip-hop group from the suburbs of Sydney. Unlike many other such groups, they play their own instruments and have a full band format. They are comprised of MCs Ozi Batla, Urthboy and Berzerkatron, Unkle Ho (beats), Traksewt (piano accordion, clarinet and beats), Sulo (beats and guitar), Toe-fu (guitar), Rok Poshtya (bass) and singer Jane Tyrrell, although MC Bezerkatron left the group in 2006. Their single "77%" came in at #46 on the "Triple J Hottest 100" of 2003, and their remake of the 1983 Australian classic "I Was Only Nineteen" (originally by Redgum) was #18 in the Hottest 100 for 2005. Their album "The Sun Never Sets" was nominated for Triple J's inaugural "J Award" for album of the year. Their songs often feature very politically-oriented lyrics.

Traksewt is also a computer programmer who developed the "Distributed Audio Sequencer" (DASE, a program that allows musicians to jam in real-time over the internet), contributed to the development of the OGRE Engine (Object-Oriented Graphics Rendering Engine), and was involved in the development and founding of the Free Play independent computer games developers conference.

While they haven't gained the popularity of the Hilltop Hoods, they are well respected within the Aussie hip-hop culture for their innovative and progressive style. Their remake of Redgum's "I Was Only Nineteen" was a risky move, as they were messing with a song that Australia holds dear, a great Vietnam protest song. To their credit, they reinvigorated it for a new generation.

Albums by The Herd:

The Herd, 2001

  1. Scallops
  2. Lurque
  3. Symbioses
  4. Royal Jelly
  5. Dase'n
  6. Hello Boys
  7. Hill Cats
  8. Manufactured
  9. Awaken
  10. Toronto
  11. X-Continental
  12. Ones and Zeros
  13. Too Late
  14. Takin' Space
  15. Gutter Rats
  16. 20 Leopards
  17. Sutherland Pickup
  18. Tricky Sleeves
I haven't heard anything from this album, so no comment.

An Elefant Never Forgets, 2003

  1. The Plunderers
  2. States Of Transit
  3. Burn Down The Parliament
  4. Superweeds
  5. Urban Lady Saloon
  6. 77%
  7. Hunter's Theme
  8. The After Party Brigade
  9. The World Keeps Turning
  10. Hell
  11. When You Thought Nothing Was Happening
  12. Croissant Para Zwei Na Cvrtek
  13. High Seas
  14. LG
  15. Taki Taki
My favourite song from this album is "States of Transit", a song about travelling through the Sydney streets each morning and afternoon. I'm surprised that it wasn't a single. While "Burn Down The Parliament" was intended to be metaphorical, the album was, unfortunately, released in the same week as the 2003 Canberra bushfires. "77%" is a reference to a survey in which 77% of those surveyed agreed with the government's reaction to the MV Tampa incident, containing the lyric "77% of Aussies are racist".

The Sun Never Sets, 2005

  1. Unpredictable
  2. Long Lunch
  3. National Holiday
  4. We Can't Hear You
  5. Under Pressure
  6. Where Is Everyone
  7. Full Moon
  8. Apocalypta
  9. Can't Breathe
  10. Starship Troopers (Redux)
  11. Effortless
  12. Mischief
  13. No Disclaimers
  14. Breakfast Club
  15. The Metres Gained
  16. I Was Only Nineteen (A Walk in the Light Green)
"Unpredictable" is one of their most interesting songs, each verse being in a different language. "Unpredictable", "We Can't Hear You" and "I Was Only Nineteen" were all singles, with "Under Pressure" also receiving air-play.

Overall, a good experimental group that, hopefully, will continue to make music for many years to come.

Update: They released a new album, Summerland, in 2008.

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