Prolific singer-songwriter David Rovics is one of the few working musicians, who regularly produce topical protest songs which directly address current events. His music is in the tradition of radical folk musicians like Phil Ochs. From his latest album, “Ballad of a Wobbly,” released in December, Rovics breaks down what
Kevin Gosztola and Liz Pelly put together a collection of some of the best albums of protest music in 2017.
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
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
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
In the first of a three-part series, Liz Pelly explores how platforms can shape music and enable protest. She highlights streaming cooperative, Resonate.
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
The NFL commissioner and owners of NFL teams are moving at this hour to restrict and clamp down on football players, who are predominantly black, so they do not protest during the national anthem. This is happening as former coaches like Mike Ditka babble on about not knowing of any
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
Singer and songwriter Tom Petty penned a quadruplet of songs on corporate consolidation, the greed of music industry executives, and its impact on artists and fans. Of the four, “The Last DJ” is the most enduring but each song had quite a bit of edge. Recorded in 2002, in the