Track Of The Day: ALA.NI – ‘Lament for Emmett Till’

A poignant, deeply moving recognition of enduring grief and racial injustice, Paris-based, London-born artist ALA.NI has shared ‘Lament for Emmett Till’ to help mark the 65th anniversary of the 14 year old African-American boy’s death. Her pensive vocals and gentle instrumentation allow listeners to revisit the tragedy of Till’s story, and to question why racial injustice still has such a frighteningly profound presence in modern society.

Taking its title and lyrics from a 1955 poem of the same name by the radical activist, journalist and organiser of the first Notting Hill Carnival, Claudia Jones, ‘Lament for Emmett Till’ explores the brutal kidnapping and lynching of the 14 year old after he was wrongfully accused of sexually harassing Carolyn Bryant, a white female clerk, at a Mississippi grocery store.

When his murderers were acquitted of the crime – despite confessing their guilt in a paid magazine interview only months later – Till’s mother decided to have an open casket funeral so others could see the horrifying violence he’d endured, which lead to him becoming a posthumous symbol of The Civil Rights Movement.

The FBI have since reopened the case and are seeking to make lynching a federal crime, but a Republican senator is controversially blocking the bill and Carolyn Bryant herself admitted in a 2007 interview that she had lied about the events that led to Till’s murder. There has still been no formal apology, no compensation, and no conviction for Till’s murder.

ALA.NI’s single acknowledges this injustice, and is supported by the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, which she is an official ambassador of. The foundation is currently asking the public to sign a petition demanding justice for Till and, specifically, that the FBI release the findings of their recent re-investigation into his murder as a matter of urgency. ALA.NI’s track is accompanied by a monochrome video that shows pictures and press clippings from the time of Till’s murder, and will prompt listeners to sign the petition (which you can do here).

“We find ourselves at a pivotal point in world history, where we must act now and fast, before all is too late. This is our last chance to fight for rightful equalities before the fascists take over,” ALA.NI explains. “I’m reaching out to the people to seek justice for Emmett Till. Knowing the power of music, I hope it can be used as an effective tool to bring the much needed awareness to this long-overdue murder case. Justice for Emmett Till will set a president for the systematic reform that must take place, that we can no longer afford to ignore and wait patiently for.”

Watch the video for ‘Lament for Emmett Till’ below.

Follow ALA.NI on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Alice Dellal

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Dream Nails – ‘Payback’

A rallying cry against the lack of justice for survivors of sexual violence; GIHE favourites Dream Nails have shared their powerful new single ‘Payback’. Taken from their upcoming self-titled debut album, set for release 3rd April via Alcopop! Records, the track is accompanied by a poignant video showcasing the work of UK feminist activist group, Sisters Uncut.

With it’s mantra-like lyrics – “Hey mister, get your hands off my sister” – and abrasive guitar riffs, Dream Nails have created an aural call to arms that vehemently protests the rights of domestic violence survivors. The track is heavy in terms of volume and context, but as is the case for so many of Dream Nails tracks, it’s also tear-jerking because of the depressing reality behind their catchy lyricism.

Vocalist Janey Starling provides further insight: “In the UK, only 1.5% of rape cases lead to a charge or summons. ‘Payback’ is a song about how the UK criminal justice system fails survivors – and we’re angry about it. This is a country where two women are murdered every week by a partner or ex-partner. So many women have lived through sexual and physical abuse, and carry the scars and memories of that – but will never see justice for it.”

Drummer Lucy Katz adds that the single is “fuelled by fury borne from our experiences and the stories we hear from our peers, from the news, and in our day jobs. We are sick and tired of being failed and gaslit again and again by a state and a system that does not care about the continued abuse of women.”

Whilst there is a necessary and underlying rage throughout ‘Payback’, Guitarist Anya Pearson reminds us that it provides time and space to blow off some steam: “This is a tune to mosh to, throw yourself around with your sisters and non binary babes in the pit and scream the chorus: “One day we’ll make you pay””

Dream Nails are a vital force in both musical and activist societies, and their refusal to accept sub-standard treatment for their fans and their allies is why we keep returning to their music time, and time again. Watch the video for ‘Payback’ below, and follow Dream Nails on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Dream Nails UK Tour Dates 2020
10 April Cardiff, Wales Goes Pop!
11 April Leicester, The Shed
22 April St Albans, The Horn
23 April London, Oslo – Album Release Show
24 April Bristol, Louisiana
25 April Reading, Are You Listening? Festival
26 April Southampton, Heartbreakers
29 April Leeds, Oporto
30 April Manchester, Castle
02 May Edinburgh, Stag & Dagger Festival
03 May Newcastle, Hit The North
09-11 July Cheltenham, 2000Trees Festival
31 Jul – 01 Aug Oxfordshire, Truck Festival

Photo Credit: Marieke Macklon

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘No Love For A Nation’

Fueled by embarrassment over Brexit and frustration about how geographical borders hold us back; formidable activists and GIHE favourites Petrol Girls have been busy dismantling the fabric of the state in the video for their latest single, ‘No Love For A Nation’. It’s an anti-nationalist anthem designed to unite and fortify individuals, regardless of what country they were born in.

“Swap them, switch them, patch and stitch them” sings vocalist Ren Aldridge over visuals of her bandmates and their allies cutting and re-stitching world flags in to a new “rag” that forms the backdrop for the band’s live show. The track is lifted from the band’s recent album, Cut and Stitch, whose name was inspired by the ideas explored in the new song.

Ren articulates the motivations behind the new music video more poignantly than we ever could:

“This video is a collaboration between myself and the incredibly talented Martyna Wisniewska. The video is a manifestation of an art project I’ve been doing for ages, cutting and stitching national flags…

We shot this video on the way from Austria to the UK for our September tour, via Germany and France. Zock had the idea of hiring radical spaces to shoot the video in. DIY social centres and a radical bookshop – these are places in which radical organising takes place, where information can be disseminated and our community can gather. We filmed at Sub in Graz, Kafe Marat in Munich, Villa Bellevillein Paris and Freedom Bookshop in London.

It was in these kinds of spaces that I first encountered the slogan ‘NO LOVE FOR A NATION’ in the form of stickers, banners and graffiti, and it has informed my politics ever since. I’ve found that many people are quick to make accusations of naivety against those of us that question the nation state, but I would argue that it’s far more naive (not to mention heartless) to think we can continue organising human society in the way that we do.

Nations create borders and borders create violences like detention, deportation and the denial of safe passage. It is a bizarre and often cruel way of organising societies on the basis of where people happen to have been born. It is those on the fringes of these definitions that suffer their harshest consequences – refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. It is not acceptable that 18,000 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea since 2014, because they were denied safe passage on the basis of their nationality.

Simultaneously, populist nationalism takes aim at these people, and uses them as a scapegoat for the failings of capitalism and neoliberalism. If history has taught us anything, it’s that we must resist the rise of populist nationalism that is sweeping the planet.

We stand in opposition to Fortress Europe but mourn Brexit as the result of populist nationalist politics and a xenophobic, dishonest and, at times, overtly racist campaign. We are not proud of Britain – we are embarrassed. Above all we are angered by the rise in racism and xenophobia since the Brexit result. We are deeply troubled and angered by the way in which populist nationalism has emboldened racists and fascists across the world.

At its core, the Nation State is just an idea – a notion – something that exists in our collective imagination and is consolidated through culture – through monuments and museums, through football and flags.

This song, video and art project aim to question and contribute to destabilising the idea of nations. Can we collectively imagine ourselves in a different way? The nation rose from the decline of the monarchy – what will rise from the decline of nations? Can’t we find better and more inclusive ways of collectively understanding ourselves?

The video also celebrates the punk community, which stretches across borders and nations, and has inclusive and anti-authority politics at its core. I feel like this community offers us a glimpse of what might be possible.”

Watch the video for Petrol Girls’ ‘No Love For A Nation’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Petrol Girls 2019/2020 Headline Tour Dates
November 20th: KIEL (DE), Altemeierei
November 21st: HANNOVER (DE), UJZ Korn
November 22nd: BREMEN (DE), Die Friese
January 14th: NEWPORT (UK), Le Pub
January 15th: BRIGHTON (UK), Green Door Store
January 16th: LONDON (UK), Oslo
January 17th: NOTTINGHAM (UK), Bodega
January 18th: MANCHESTER (UK), The Deaf Institute
January 19th: GLASGOW (UK), Nice & Sleazy
January 21st: BELFAST (UK), McHughs
January 22nd: DUBLIN (IRL), Whelan’s
January 23rd: LIMERICK (IRL), Kasbah Social Club

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: HAVVK – ‘Cause & Effect’ (Pt.1)

From the moment Cause & Effect begins, until the last riff of latest single ‘Shifting Shape’ ends, HAVVK have your complete attention… And this is only the first chapter! Never wanting to be conventional, HAVVK have chosen to release their debut album in two halves; with the latter set for release on 22nd November. 

Beginning life in London, HAVVK now consists of Julie, Matt and Sam, who – over the years – have developed their own style of feedback-laden, ethereal alt-rock, resulting in two incredible extended plays: the self-titled HAVVK (2016) and She Knows EP (2017).

Alternating between London, Dublin, and Berlin (the latter where Cause & Effect was recorded with producer Rocky O’Reilly), the trio approach Part 1 unrestrained with a take no prisoners/punk rock attitude. Opening with ‘If I Don’t Tell You’ – a biting social commentary on social media discord – you are instantly captivated by the shimmering guitar riffs, pulsating drum beats and brooding basslines, before being transported seamlessly into ‘Birds on a Wire’.

‘Birds on a Wire’ introspectively analyses a destructive relationship through Julie’s raw, honest vocals and an expansive, melancholic sound – “When I’m trying to speak, are you listening? Do you want to hear me scream?” This is followed by ‘Always the Same’, which confronts female objectivity and toxic masculinity, as we hear Julie challenge men who make women feel unsafe as a result of their gender.

On ‘The Factory’, Julie’s vocals soar as the track ascends into a crescendo of meticulous noise, before transitioning into the post-punk x shoegazing of ‘Tunnels’.

Throughout the album, the contrasting narrative of each song is structured into a cohesive whole with each seamless transition. HAVVK have always explored lighter and louder soundscapes through political and social songwriting, and Cause & Effect is the perfect example of their euphonic activism.

HAVVK continue to agitate societal bullshit with their final track, ‘Shifting Shape’. Armed with an abrasive edge, and a quiet/loud dynamic, HAVVK waste no time in getting straight to the point: Fuck constraints, fuck traditional assumptions surrounding gender, and fuck the unwarranted, unnecessary pressure it causes.

HAVVK craft music to make a statement, and with the first six songs from Cause & Effect the band have covered a lot of ground; from inequality to gender-preconceptions. It can be exhausting, but change is happening, so let’s keep this momentum going. Bands like HAVVK are needed now more than ever.

Cause & Effect (Pt.1) is out now via Veta Records.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne