sbcltr looks at some of the new voices that are singing about sexuality, race and identity
The abolition movement, the Indian freedom movement, the labour movement, the human rights movement, the anti-war movement have all relied on the concept of challenging social norms via music. But it was in 1960s, at the height of counterculture that protest songs really went mainstream, thanks to The Ramones. This trend, has seen a strong resurgence in the last decades, thanks to the easy accessibility of the internet and its accessible arms for everyone with an uncensored voice and a global access to distribute content. sbcltr looks at some of these politically engaging voices that are singing about sexuality, race and identity in our present times.
The Philadelphia based band fronted by Tina Halladay, sings about heartbreaks and douchey real-estate tycoons and have established themselves as a political force to be reckoned with and have three EP releases up to date. Powered with 70’s AM, a Thin Lizzy sound doused with Tina’s soulful yowl, Sheer Mag is a band that you don’t listen to for its heroics, but for its music. Here is a sample.
Touché Amoré have been around for just under a decade, dishing out music that takes you back to bands like Refused. Their last album, Stage Four, is synonymous with issues like anxiety, depression and toxic relationships. With access to stages that they have shared with the likes of Rihanna and Coldplay. Listening to the Touche Amore brand of music is akin to sitting on a ticking time bomb. Give a listen to their album.
If you were around the times when Cartoon Network used to be in English, there was this cartoon with an amazing soundtrack that used to come around, The Powerpuff Girls. Fast forward almost a decade, we have another soundtrack done, this time by a band called Tacocat. A band that blends psychedelic pop with elements of Bikini Kill and the Beach Boys, singing about issues that revolve around feminism and drug usage. These issues may not be in the forefront courtesy their sound, but they’re definitely a must listen to. Listen to their latest track, Talk, here.
Ask any metal head if they’ve heard of System of a Down, the answer nine times out of ten would be in the affirmative. Frontman Serj Takian has been a stalwart with singing about Azerbaijan. He was so moved by the resilience of Armenian fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh, that the last single he launched was Artsakh. He had this to say, when he launched the single: “I do not believe in wars and ultimately borders but I deeply believe in self-determination and life without oppression. Therefore it is time for the world to recognize them as the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh).” Check it out.
“The punk we care about isn’t supposed to be about getting big or becoming famous, it’s supposed to be about challenging ourselves and each other to be better people.” That was the G.L.O.S.S.’ statement after they broke up earlier this year after one EP launch. G.L.O.S.S – short for Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit – was exactly what punk is supposed to be short, brutal and focused on raising enough questions. Their five-song debut, Trans Day of Revenge, spoke about everyday issues of queers, transgendered and the disabled. Listen to the album here.
Guerilla Toss is Talking Heads meets The Cars meets Art Punk. The Skull-Pop, Rage-Psych band has been around since 2010 and has been churning out spacey music with lyrics that revolve around the importance of individuality. “It could be like, it could be like a perfume/ After an idea is/ Absent/ You could find it, you could find it laz-i-ly/ Like an aura that has stayed/ Too long,” chants frontwoman Kassie Carlson on their track. Listen to Perfume here.
Warkat is ex Rage Against The Machine bassist’s side project that has been churning their own variety of punk. Three months ago, they released another powerful track called Generation Fucked, which was basically their opinion on Trump. Trump is just the last one of their targets, check out their site, republicofwakrat.com , where you’ll find a whole lot of questions for some of the world’s leading politicians. Here is Generation Fucked, give it a listen.