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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Outnumbered’ By The HIRS Collective

“This is about women who you decided aren’t women. And you are wrong. I don’t give a shit what you think. But when you, or any of you, do anything to put the lives of trans women at risk… I will fight you.”

The above quote is sampled in the beginning of “Outnumbered,” the closing track on side A of “Friends. Lovers. Favorites,” the debut full-length record by Philadelphia’s The HIRS Collective.

“Friends. Lovers. Favorites” is a collection of visceral lightning-fast blasts demanding queer and trans justice made by a group that identifies as an “intentional, ever-growing, and never-ending collective of anti-authoritarian freaks, queers, outcasts, and weirdos.”

Their reclaiming of aggressive sounds is powerful, drawing from a wide spectrum—grindcore, metal, hardcore, and punk. It makes for not only a rejection of violence against queer and trans people but also a full-throttled scream back in the face of people and power structures responsible for it.

As that quote ends, pounding drums and explosive riffs pry “Outnumbered” open, before stretched-out shrieks proclaim: “It won’t be very long until you realize that you’re not as strong as you used to be. We are gaining power in strength and in numbers. You’re outnumbered.”

At one minute and seventeen seconds long, it’s the longest cut on the album, which rips through 20 tracks in 15 minutes. Several songs barely break the 20 second mark. Every word and every searing noise sounds intentional.

There is a thoughtful use of pace, with bits of spoken word incorporated throughout.

Released by Philadelphia’s Get Better Records, “Friends. Lovers. Favorites” features cameos from a long list of inspiring and legendary punk musicians, two which were recently featured in Shadowproof’s Protest Music Project: Alice Bag and Marissa Paternoster (of Screaming Females).

The record also includes contributions from the likes of Shirley Manson, Laura Jane Grace, Martin Crudo, and Erica Freas.

The record’s B-side features the band’s 2016 EP “Yøu Can’t Kill Us” plus a remix EP, “Yøu Can Remix Us,” which includes re-imagined takes of those songs by Moor Mother, Estoc, and more.

Image adapted from "Shadows" by kdigga on Flickr
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Liz Pelly

Liz Pelly