This week has been an absolutely brutal assault on the very idea of human decency; as the last champions of bigotry and intolerance sense their hold on society slipping away, they’ve doubled down and yelled louder. Often, our search for art and entertainment serves to escape an increasingly bleak reality, to occupy fictional worlds, even for just a moment.
But there are also glimmers of hope, and music that addresses our reality head-on, rather than seeking to escape it. There are few voices doing so as aggressively as trans champions G.L.O.S.S., and Milo Aukerman’s Descendents have been punching holes in punk’s bro-zone layer since the ’80s. We’ve also got some rough cuts from early Katie Crutchfield demos, and more music with Loreley Rodriguez’s lovely voice. And while some of Dej Loaf’s views could be considered conservative, her very existence in the hip-hop game is a denial of its misogynist roots:
Dej Loaf – “Chase Mine”
Diminutive wordslanger Dej Loaf has been pushing her latest tape, All Jokes Aside for a few months; this week she dropped some new visuals to promote it. Our favorite is this two-track medley for All Jokes Aside tracks “Vibes” and “Chase Mine.” We’re a sucker for lean, furious bars, so the minimal boom bap and piano melody of “Chase Mine” is right up our alley. We could do without the abortion non-sequitur, but otherwise, we just love seeing and hearing Dej flex. More please.
G.L.O.S.S. – “Give Violence a Chance”
Punk rock is never more powerful than when it’s fighting against tyranny, and no one is on the front lines in the fight against oppression in America more than the transgendered. G.L.O.S.S.’s (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) Trans Day of Revenge features no songs longer than two minutes, and is available for download on Bandcamp for whatever price you choose to pay. The band eschews pretty much all press, and does their part to be as equally hostile to cis men as cis men can be to trans men and women; they’ve been rumored to refuse sales of their merch based on appearance. Regardless of what you think of the band’s politics, the music is raw, charged, and exciting — a visceral reaction to “society’s shit.”
Waxahatchee – “Black Candy”
As much as we love “Movie Star,” Katie Crutchfield has always been our favorite Crutchfield sister. Her knack for sweet vocal melodies and vivid, if plaintive, lyrics on her Waxahatchee project has made her one of the most interesting singer-songwriters of the decade. This week, she released Early Recordings, a fice-song EP of early demos that predates her American Weekend LP. Extremely lo-fi, the recordings offer a glimpse of the brilliance Crutchfield would later refine. Worth the 15 minutes, and the repeat play.
Darkstar & Empress Of – “Reformer”
After seeing her slay a huge stage at the Historic Scoot Inn in Austin at this year’s SXSW, we’re fully indoctrinated into the cult of Loreley Rodriguez; we’ll listen to anything she touches. This collaboration with Darkstar is a little less angular and syncopated than her own work, but her distinctive voice stakes its claim on the track’s DNA. “Reformer” dropped in March, this video and its James Blunt/Coldplay vibes debuted this week. Hopefully it will hold us over until we get news of her next LP.
Descendents – “Victim of Me”
Old punks can be tough to watch age in public; there’s more wrinkles, more pounds, and typically, less energy. Fans of nerd punk legends Descendents need not worry, however; Milo Aukerman’s voice sounds as bratty as it did when he went to college. In fact, it doesn’t sound like they’ve aged at all. Their fans, however, are a different story — some in the front row of the new video for “Victim of Me” seem more interested in their phones than the rock exploding in front of their faces. Don’t make the same mistake when they hit your town.