20 Apr 2018

Alice Bag’s Punk Rock Connects Protest History To Trump Era

“I couldn’t slow down,” remembers singer, author, educator, and activist Alice Bag, reflecting on the days following her 2016 tour. “So I just started working on another record.” In 2016, she teamed up with Don Giovanni for the release of her self-titled album, “Alice Bag.” It was technically her first

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20 Feb 2018

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day’ By ESCAPE-ISM

Here’s a song from last year that still hasn’t left my personal rotation in 2018: “Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day,” a stealthy post-punk ode to working together in tearing down impossible structures of power. It appeared on the debut record by ESCAPE-ISM, “Introduction to Escape-ism,” the first-ever solo record

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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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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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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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18 Jul 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Expect The Bayonet’ by Sheer Mag

Sheer Mag is a do-it-yourself (DIY) band that makes music that is a blend of punk and heavy metal music with the pastiche of 1970s classic rock. They describe their music as a “caustic war cry, seething in solidarity with all those that suffer the brunt of ignorance and injustice

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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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06 Jun 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘What Is This Hell​?​’ by HARAM

Haram is a New York City hardcore band whose debut EP شو بتشوف؟ (“What Do You See​?​”) was released in 2016 by the underground punk label Toxic State. The band’s vocalist is Nader Haram, a Muslim American from Yonkers, NY whose family moved to New York in the 80s to

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16 May 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Know Your Rights’ by Material Support

Under the Patriot Act, U.S. Code Title 18, section 2339A, is an anti-terrorism law criminalizing providing “material support” to terrorists, defining that term with a long list of services and resources. I learned this from reading the Facebook page of the Queens, NY hardcore band Material Support. After forming in

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07 Feb 2017

Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Clampdown’ by The Clash

Today, several radio stations celebrated International Clash Day. KEXP Morning Show host John Richards was largely responsible for the idea of a day for the seminal punk rock band, The Clash. “The message of The Clash, so influenced by the international sounds they grew up with, is both powerful and

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