ACTIVISTAS

Punk attitude with no musical genre boundaries. Patchwork punk, folk dub skiffle with a liking for Krautrock and strawberries.

Review by Erin Incoherent

‘A is for Activistas’ is the freshman release of ‘Activistas’- a 5-person group out of Nottingham, UK. The 9-track album plays quick and has a lot to say. The songs boom, swing, and don’t apologize. The group achieves a unique effect with their use of gain vocals. They bring a taunting, jeering attitude which I love in snot-nosed English punk. You really hear the personality of each member in the overall listen through. These small inconsistencies give real life to the album. The outfit seems to draw influence from several places with a nod to anarcho, pre-77/proto punk and Oi. Like the Zounds had a baby with the Only Ones. Imagine singing this with your mates after leaving the pubs on the stumble home, because you’re definitely going to.  

 

Activistas utilize piano on several of their songs, but the standout is ‘Black Dog Blues’ which pairs gruff main vocals and slide guitar against haunting and swelling piano for a track that really wouldn’t impact you the same without all moving parts playing off each other. The album moves from ‘house of horror’ tones to reggae and hits several influences in between. This group is not afraid to accentuate their soft side either, as showcased in ‘Starman’- the album’s only acoustic track.  

 

‘A is for Activistas’ is a political album spoken at a time where reckoning and change is very much upon us. The album is rank with political satire, tongue-in-cheek snarkiness, and haunting reminders of the work that needs to be done. ‘Mother Earth is Dying’ is perhaps the best example of this. It opens by saying ‘Mother Earth is dying, dance upon her grave. Let’s raise a glass to the fuck we never gave.’ which acts as the chorus of the track. This song also acts as one of the best examples of the groups dynamic range, as the main vocals in this track aren’t sung, but spoken. Radically and poetically about veganism, accountability, and the end of days. It is a profile of the depth this band is willing to explore. 

 

The album ends with a song about standing together for the common good of our planet and rejecting our current, fascist system ‘They Haven’t been fucked since Cromwell’ doesn’t fail to deliver the snappy tempo and sarcastic lyrics the entire album displays so well. To put it in the words of the band: “Activistas make the music they want with very little respect for musical boundaries and write songs about the stuff they give a shit about.” The result? An album that speaks of activism from every angle.  

Follow Activistas here:

https://www.facebook.com/ACTIVISTAS2018

Eagle Spitz & Rich Gulag

More Happy Songs Review

by Erin Incoherent

First, I need to thank my friends Eagle Spits and Rich Gulag for their patience while my entire life demanded 100% of my energy for the past few months. I originally got sent the release for 'More Happy Songs' in May but didn't get to listen to it until this morning.

I'm upset that I waited.

'More Happy Songs' is a 5 track release by the UK duo available now on 'Punk 4 the Homeless Records'.

https://punk4thehomeless.bandcamp.com/album/more-happy-songs-eagle-spits-rich-gulag

Reminiscent of 'Sleaford Mods', 'More Happy Songs' blends electronic elements and spoken word...only Eagle and Rich do it doomier.

There is an aura of industrial throughout the release. After all, anarchopunk has always been raw, gritty, and uncomfortable.

The songs boast depth; intelligent orchestration. Musically, it is a very well-put together album. Lyrically, the pair are not afraid to be critical of the political. Layered, droning, vocals punctuate 'More Happy Songs' message, 'Don't trust the government. Band together. Rise above.'

Sound clips are theatrics. Artfully included, they serve as a musical element as well as a narration tool. This is best done in 'Spycops', which details the story of young women taken advantage of by an undercover police officer.

Eagle Spits and Rich Gulag include the media coverage of the event as part of the track itself, furthering the story and providing great texture to an already polished release.

This album is a hard look at a world that needs changing, and one of the things I like most about this release is that it doesn't get stuck in the negative, rather, invites the listener to participate in this global need for change and solidarity. The last words sung on 'More Happy Songs' are

'We have the power, and we have the love, to see through the bullshit, let's rise above'

It is a needed reminder that music is a tool for healing and togetherness. Well done my friends.

Eagle Spits and Rich Gulag's newest release 'More Happy Songs', is available today on the Punk 4 the Homeless Records bandcamp page:

https://punk4thehomeless.bandcamp.com/album/more-happy-songs-eagle-spits-rich-gulag