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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15 Aug 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Nazi Scum’ by Oi Polloi

What unfolded in Charlottesville makes a whole history of anti-fascist punk music as relevant as ever. Oi Polloi is an anarcho-punk band from Edinburgh, Scotland, which formed in 1981. Their album, “In Defense Of Our Earth” (1990) featured “Nazi Scum,” which urged resistance against Nazis, especially those who come to

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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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01 Aug 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Easy Target’ By John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp produced an oil painting inspired by street art that pointedly declares, “Martin Luther King had a dream, and this ain’t it.” King deliberately looks nothing like the civil rights leader. It is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the “Mellencamp” exhibit

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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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13 Jun 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Glory’ By Rhymefest Featuring Billy Branch

Rhymefest co-wrote the Oscar-winning “Glory,” with Common and John Legend. The song appeared in “Selma,” and at the 2017 Chicago Bluesfest, Rhymefest was joined by blues harmonica legend Billy Branch for a performance that transformed the song into a 12-minute jam. The presence of Rhymefest at the Chicago Bluesfest was

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