It’s hard to find the words for the sheer horror of a month we’ve had in politics: Donald Trump is the President of the United States, for Christ’s sake, and the terrors he’s promised to unleash on the USA are a threat to us all. Over-dramatic? I don’t think so — the attempted normalisation of his family and colleagues by the media is already in motion. It’s become hard to trust. And please don’t bother to suggest there will be loads more good punk music made now thanks to all the fascism, because that has to be up there with the grossest hot takes of 2016.
Only one of the songs below deals explicitly with Trump himself (though there are hundreds of disgustingly wrought portrayals of him scrawled across the album covers of Bandcamp’s punk and hardcore section, if that’s what you’re into). Instead, each one upholds something Trump and his lackeys will likely strive to exterminate: radical feminism, sensitive studies of mental health, and the power of working as a musical force to drive out the rot of acute nihilism from your bones. I hope it’s not too deep in you yet.
Mallrat - every breath a fracture
There are two acts named Mallrat that pop up when you search for that phrase, so just to be clear, I’m talking about the one from Brooklyn here. Our Mallrat (as I’m sure you’ll come to think of them) are a pop punk trio, and their first full-band EP is on the way on 15 December. i don’t hate my body i’m just afraid of it is the first of two singles off that record. Split into two narratives told to a bathroom mirror at a party, the song is furiously told by vocalist Melo Davis, who unflinchingly states, “How’d you love my body when I’m so afraid of it? Finding my self-worth was never worth it.”
Realer than real.
WANT - Demo
It’s frustrating when you come across music you love that seems to have no other trace on the internet except a three-track demo, but Vancouver’s WANT are so good that I’ll forgive them.
This is hardcore with a purpose (as the lyrics about the police, politics and the patriarchy point out) and the vocals rip over a razor-sharp stop-start three and a half minutes. There’s also a Minor Threat cover for your blood.
Does anyone know anything else about this band? I’m already obsessed.
The Worst Idea - Hey There Sweet Cheeks
Of course I’m going to include some scrappy self-identifying riot-grrrl from Seattle in here. I’m particularly fond of the chorus that’s hurled out with a teasing spit in its throat (“I’m a boss ass bitch, making all the money – take you out, buy you something pretty”) but there’s a quotation from America’s first female secretary of state, Madeline Albright, thrown in too: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” Yes Madeline son, fucking have it.
Es - Object Relations
Es’ Object Relations is waft of coldwave magic from London that seems to fit into the weird 1980s-themed dystopia we’ve recently clawed our way into all too deeply. This vocal delivery has to be some of my favourite of the year: Maria Tedemalm just about murders the mic with an eye-rolling yell of sarcastic sensitivity and soars over a relatively mild-mannered fit of wonky keyboards.
The punchy bass drum pairing underneath is also infected with a soundboard of cosmic swirls – my fave. I reckon this’ll be mad live so definitely go see them as they’re on tour soon. And tell them from me to come to the South-West already because my railcard’s expired and I’m skint.
Cliterati – Looking for the Answers
Metal-influenced punk from an Oakland band called Cliterati that takes Donald Trump to church? If this isn’t iconic I don’t know what is. This four-piece’s eponymous album, listed under ‘TOTAL EARACHE PARTY CRUST’, attempts to knock some 2016 into the original American Dream. Virtue, a horror-flecked anthem, tackles slut-shaming, the US’ hypocritical relationship with sex, and putting virginity on a warped pedestal, while the most explicitly political track, Make America Hate Again, stabs Trump’s treaties straight in each eye, a middle finger for each. “Bigoted loudmouth, Hateful words fall outta that mouth — How much worse can this get?” demands Ami. This is 100% protest fuel.