08 Feb 2018

Protest Platforms: CASH Music Helps Artists Navigate World Rife With Corporate Exploitation

Protest Platforms is a three-part series examining what it means for music to protest today. Platforms have always helped to shape protest music. Independent artists, punk labels, and do-it-yourself (DIY) organizers have long suggested that the means through which music is created and distributed carries as much political weight as

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23 Jan 2018

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Levitating’ By Xenia Rubinos, Sammus, And Olga Bell

The days following this year’s Women’s March are as good a time as any to repeat the central question posed by “Levitating,” a collaborative track by Xenia Rubinos, Sammus and Olga Bell: “Are you really down? Way down? All the way down?” “Levitating” is a smooth and steady intersectional anthem

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16 Jan 2018

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Tacoma Center 1600’ By Nana Grizol

Every sweetly sung Nana Grizol song plays out like a diary entry or a letter written directly to a friend, which make the band’s meandering personal-political poetry all the more impactful. The didactic nature of the music makes the stories more potent, and the embedded values more accessible. Since 2003,

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19 Dec 2017

Protest Platforms: In Age Of Streaming, Saga Believes Artists Should Have More Control

Protest Platforms is a three-part series examining what it means for music to protest today. Platforms have always helped to shape protest music. Independent artists, punk labels, and do-it-yourself (DIY) organizers have long suggested that the means through which music is created and distributed carries as much political weight as

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28 Nov 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Victory Song’ by Frank Waln feat. Kodi DeNoyer

Frank Waln is a hip-hop artist, producer, activist, and storyteller. He is a keeper of oral traditions whose work interrogates history and colonialism. It preserves the legacies of his Sicangu Lakota ancestors and his own experiences growing up on the Rosebud Reservation. Around this time last year, Waln released his

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14 Nov 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘What We’re Up Against’ By Worriers

Lauren Denitzio has long been a master of lived-in, personal-political songwriting. With Worriers, Denitzio creates melodic punk songs that weave stories and lessons out of hard-fought feminist wisdom. The stories are sometimes told through wordy, double-time sweet-sung verse, sometimes with a gruff deadpan that sounds weary but never cynical. Worriers

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01 Nov 2017

Protest Platforms: Music Streaming Cooperative Restores Agency To Artists

In the first of a three-part series, Liz Pelly explores how platforms can shape music and enable protest. She highlights streaming cooperative, Resonate.

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18 Oct 2017

Interview: Free Jazz Quintet Irreversible Entanglements On Making Revolutionary Music

The free jazz quintet Irreversible Entanglements released its first eponymous album last month. Recorded over one six-hour studio session in August 2015, the 43-minute album is made of largely improvised instrumentation and Camae Ayewa’s radical poetry on Black trauma, survival, and power. It is the product of five musicians meeting for the

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05 Oct 2017

Five Songs Of Resistance: Pure Disgust

From 2013 until when they disbanded earlier this month, the Washington, D.C., group, Pure Disgust, emerged as one of the city’s best punk bands. They used blistering eighties-style hardcore to write songs about police violence, respectability politics, and the realities of being young and black in America. “When will brown

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25 Sep 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Solidarity’ By Material Support

A live version of Material Support’s powerful “Know Your Rights,” was featured earlier this year. Its resonant refrain is equal parts punk song, protest anthem, and literal know-your-rights training. The song by the Queens, New York band offers advice on what to do if the cops show up: “Do you

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