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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18 Sep 2017

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

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22 Aug 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Fracking Up The Planet’ By Buck Gooter

The duo, Buck Gooter, from Harrisonburg, Virginia, play raw, throbbing experimental rock that is alternatively brutal and bluesy. Drawing from aggressive noise, elemental post-punk, and narrative story-songs, Billy Brett and Terry Turtle make music that is oppositional through its disregard for sonic convention as well as its direct confrontation of

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08 Aug 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Blood Money’ By Protoje

The Jamaican musician Protoje released his most recent single “Blood Money” in February, and in July, he followed it up with a gripping video, illustrating government corruption, economic inequality, and social injustice in his home country. Protoje emphasizes the way the drug business and money laundering shapes life and culture,

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31 Jul 2017

Five Songs Of Resistance: Guy Picciotto

Downtown Boys release their second album, “Cost of Living,” on August 11. It was produced by Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Rites of Spring, and other projects. Last year, Rolling Stone called Downtown Boys “America’s most exciting punk band,” and with help from Picciotto, their music has only grown more taught

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25 Jul 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Brave As A Pigeon’ By Country For Syria

Throughout 2017, the Istanbul-based country music collective Country For Syria has released tracks from its forthcoming full-length, one-by-one, via Bandcamp. The band’s members are American, Syrian, Turkish, Czech, French, and Iranian. They draw from both American country music and Arabic folk sounds. In the same song, they’ll shift from riffing

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04 Jul 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘We Won’t Go Back’ By Love Always

Benefit compilations are a longstanding medium through which artists support social movements, so it makes sense that in 2017 we have seen a lot of them. One of my favorites has been Battle Hymns, compiled by members of band Quasi, an urgent collection of explicitly political songwriting. Battle Hymns is

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01 Jul 2017

Five Songs Of Resistance: Joan Baez

In April, the legendary Joan Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making this year as apt a time as ever to celebrate her decades of music and social justice work. Since the late 1950s, Baez has released over 30 albums in six languages, often using

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