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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Won’t Let It Go’ By La Neve

Joey La Neve DeFrancesco is a guitarist for Downtown Boys, the Providence group whose recent full-length Cost Of Living received widespread critical acclaim. The group was called “the most exciting punk band in America” and described as “rewriting the rules of punk rock.”

Under the radar, earlier this year, DeFrancesco released a debut record under the solo moniker La Neve. It’s titled American Sounds, and was released on a small run of cassettes via Don Giovanni Records.

On Bandcamp, La Neve described the collection of electro-pop as “all aimed at destroying the right wing power structure that has always run the USA and has come to pose a more intense threat than ever in 2017.”

DeFrancesco—as La Neve—embraces dance beats, electronic collages, deadpan melodies, and multimedia performance while interrogating the past, the present, and the future. Songs like the soaring “8 to 8” draw from the labor movement politics that infiltrate all of DeFrancesco’s work. (*Note: Prior to playing in Downtown Boys, DeFrancesco worked at a hotel, eventually famously quitting with the help of a marching band, a video of which later went viral.)

In the cinematic “American Sounds” video, La Neve wears a black mini-skirt, riding an escalator in a shopping mall. The video was filmed in a Pennsylvania mall in the middle of Donald Trump Country.

DeFrancesco browses the sequined dresses at Bloomingdales and wanders through the American Girl doll store, as young girls play with doll wigs.

“The whole point of shooting this video was to go and loudly claim the right to take up space in these conservative, suburban spaces at a time when Trump’s America is trying to make queer, trans, and gender non-binary people as invisible and as threatened as possible,” they said, of the video.

Perhaps, the most anthemic song of all is “Won’t Let It Go,” an upbeat cut of synths and chimes, layered harmonies, and explosive percussion. It’s a song about not compromising on your values (“You should know / I won’t let that go / I’ll never let that go”), but it also has a nuanced understanding of the systems people would like to tear down (“You wanna stop it? The first thing you gotta learn is how does it speak.”)

“Won’t Let It Go” appears on American Sounds, out now on Don Giovanni Records. It was also included on “Evergreen: A Benefit Compilation for Hour Children,” released in July.

Listen to “Won’t Let It Go” by La Neve:

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Are you an artist who has written and/or produced a protest song that you would like featured? Or do you have a favorite protest song?

Submit a song for Shadowproof’s “Protest Song Of The Week” to protestmusic@Shadowproof.com

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Liz Pelly

Liz Pelly