Trumps Are Still Running the World

Dear 2120,

Your faithful old ghost-scribe here to tell you that things just took a severe turn for the worse. Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement. Inadequate as it was, the timid commitment to keep warming below 1,5 degrees, was all we had at this point. It was our achingly frail global consensus. Experts and prominent political figures are saying that Trump can’t stop the green revolution, which has gained a steady momentum in the corporate sector over the past five years (and you know the world has gone topsy-turvy when Arnold The Terminator schools the leader of the free world on green economy), but I still can’t help thinking that this might be a pivotal moment. The message is deafeningly clear: ‘We don’t give a flying fuck what the experts think.’

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The arrogance, nihilism, irresponsibility and sheer stupidity that goes into this decision is mind-bending. Up until now, I have to admit, I thought the administration had some kind of game plan. They did get into office, after all. But it really does seem like there isn’t anyone with even a semblance of common sense or moral direction manning the wheel. In the aftermath of the confounding pull-out and its overwhelmingly dire global repercussions, I find myself agreeing with several Facebook japesters, saying that they ‘wish Fred Trump would have pulled out way back when.’

That said, maybe this is what takes. Maybe this will actually make us snap out of our smug, social media complacency and into some kind of collective action. One can only hope. I’d hate to think that I’m talking to myself here.

Algiers and The Underside of Power

Dear 2120,

A quick message to let you know that one of the most unambiguously political bands of 2017 just released a new video for their new single ‘The Underside of Power.’

I’m currently multitasking between writing this post and watching a thoroughly disconcerting documentary called ‘The Age of Consequences‘, which makes a convincing case that climate change, particularly the drought and lack of water in Syria, is the underlying cause in today’s global upheavals – as a consequence of dying agriculture leading to displacement and widespread instability. In a lot of ways, my current focal points converge and overlap. As we’re starting to wise up to here in 2017, it’s all connected.

2nd-choice-algiers

Like I said, Algiers are unflinchingly political. They’re interesting in that they seem completely unafraid of being derided as naive chancers with reductive soap box politics. Which is a very real risk that comes with politicized music in the age of trigger-happy, jaded internet journalism.

A few other guitar-led bands like Savages notwitstanding, they’re pretty much alone in how they tackle the pressing issues of today so unapologetically head on. At least when it comes to popular music within the independent rock continuum. I think they’d probably have a thing or two to say about the documentary I’m watching. Here’s the press soundbite from the perpetually great Matador label:

Produced by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ali Chant, mixed by Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))), with post-production by Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Hubble), ‘The Underside Of Power’ zooms across a musical landscape including but not limited to Southern rap to British grime to horror movie soundtracks to late-70s English industrial to Northern Soul. In the wake of our current political climate, Aligers cast a withering gaze on subject matter ranging from oppression, whiteness, police brutality, dystopia, and hegemonic power structures. 

That’s quite a team. And if they can keep on pulling off the politics, so to speak, (the coming, album, named after the above title track, will be their sophomore effort),  they’ll make for a very engaging band. Maybe even to the point of effecting real change. I have to say, though, the video is a tad OTT on the 60s-radical-chic, and the song has yet to make a huge impression. But in light of their admirable political intentions, I’m willing to give it a chance. And I’m looking forward to the album dropping on the on the 23rd of June via:

www.matadorrecords.com