Randy, part of the brains, money and muscle behind Insurgence and Rebel Time Records, has very generously sent me a bundle of CDs, gratis, for my aural pleasure. And I’m very grateful to be the beneficiary of such a nice gesture, for these are three mighty fine releases representing the very best of homegrown Canadian two-fingers-in-the-air political punk rock. Me like lots. And so will you. Don’t believe me? Read what I think, grab the sample tracks and then send your money off to Mr. Insurgence.
Let’s start the ball rolling then.
The Class War Kids – A Strong People Need No Leader
110 Records / Turners Tavern
When I first heard TCWK I was mightily impressed. Anger, intelligence and humour in music is always to be welcomed. When it is done by such a young bunch of miscreants it’s also heart-warming and inspiring, especially to some of us older punks who can occasionally feel just a bit jaded about the world we’re in. Punching my eardrums and brain with records like this is all I need to break that train of thought and fire me right up again.
The Kids are obviously a talented bunch, wringing every last drop of potential out of their instruments to produce an infectious and uplifting noise that brings a big grin to your face. There’s melody, harmony, energy and lots of other ‘y’s aplenty (told you) to keep you hooked from start to end. On the basis of this release, there’s no doubt that this band would leave you in a contented sweaty mess at the end of a live show.
And they shine lyrically too. “You’ll never break me” (‘Break Me’) defines their starting point, both on the record and politically, a clear message of defiance. Other tunes take a similar line – ‘Song For The Broken Hearted’ reminds us that “They told us when we were younger, we could do anything, now I’m older and I took those words to heart / And I may never finish all the things I’ve started but that doesn’t seem good reason not to start”; ‘Strike Back’ celebrates the power of organising to take back what is rightfully ours, and reminds the enemy that” These are OUR streets, these are OUR lives / You can jail us, you can beat us / But you will NOT defeat us!”; the vulnerabilty of the capitalist system is exposed by the simple observation that “…at the center of it all / It seems like it’s about to fall / We are at the center of it all / I say we have to make it fall” (‘Centre Of It All’); and the almost haiku-length ‘We’re Gonna Be Alright’ really doesn’t need much more explanation beyond the title (which is probably why it’s such a short and perfect song).
That’s not to say they’re unrealistic about the reality of struggle. “All I see is apathy when what we need is some fucking solidarity” (‘Discontented And Apathetic’) makes a plea for the disillusioned to reconnect with their dreams and desires, recognising how easy it can be for any of us to shut ourselves away from the world when hope turns to hopelessness. “It’s a cold night out on the streets again / His pale face frostbitten by the wind / In a city where hearts beat but they don’t feel” (‘Sick To Death’), captures the misery of life under capitalism at its most stark, reminding us that we are all victims of the economic and moral poverty it forces upon us. And how ‘they’ maintain their power with their police state is revealed when “All of a sudden you realize these laws were put in place to help maintain their lies / But by then it’s too late…with law in place to aid them in our silence / We’ll be gassed and beaten, and left dead in the street” (‘No Shelter’). Though these sentiments may at first seem defeatist, The Kids have cleverly and honestly exposed the reality of the status quo, reminding us that we really do have nothing to lose and a world to gain.
The divisive tactics of the ruling elite are tackled head-on in ‘The Racist Policies Of The New World Order’ (“Their sick diversion of patriotism shadowed us in doubt / We only wanted justice, freedom, equality for all”), and ‘Resisting Occupation’ (“South Africa’s model for Apartheid / From Canada’s system it was derived / Native folk couldn’t legally vote until 1960”). Though the sentiments are strongly expressed, these are probably the two weakest songs lyrically on the record. Still not bad though.
Ten angry and inspirational songs weighing in just under the half an hour mark for an economic meltdown-friendly price of $5 moose money (plus a bit more for postage for those outside the Canuckian borders) makes this a no-brainer, so get in touch with Randy Rebel Time and grab one before it’s too late and the shelves are bare. Alternatively, for those in the UK and close by, you may want to hold on for a wee while as Bristol Antifa will be soon be stocking Rebel Time (and, fingers crossed, Insurgence) releases.
That’s the end of part 1. Tune in for part 2 (Broadcast Zero) sometime soonish.