Music, for the most part, ducked the muck splatter that is Election 2016. Country music and Ted Nugent notwithstanding, music has taken the lead in fighting the Trump shit show. Black artists, from Prophets of Rage to Solange Knowles, use their music to bring the issues important to all races to the streets and ears of the people. Stepping up and into the fray are a band from Austin, Texas: Blxpltn.
First the facts: Blxpltn (Blaxploitation) started in 2014, with Jonathan Horstmann (multiple instruments), and Tazslin Muerte (multiple instruments). Not long after they released their first album ‘Black Cop Down’ in October, 2014. Blxpltn released their second album, ‘New York Fascist Week’, on October 31, 2016. These guys have the reputation of being deeply involved in Social Justice, not only in the African American and LGBT community, but with the oppressed in general. They are fiercely Woke.
‘New York Fascist Week’ backs this up in a huge way. Blxpltn’s furious mix of Afropunk, punk, rap and industrial carry their message and slams it against your brain. All 12 tracks takes the issues and their experiences and use them as fodder for their rage. Violence, either racial or police, is played out in the songs. “Blood on the Sand”, “How Many Shots”, “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Gun Range” wrangle with the tragedy of violence and serves it to the listener cold, whether it’s from the guns of cops, or neighbors.
The government and culture of the U.S. aren’t spared, far from it. “New York Fascist Week”, “FEMA”, and “I’m Still Waiting” shriek at and mock the unequal culture we live in. Especially brutal is the title track, which rightfully calls out the hypocrisy in higher society. The last three songs on the album, “Burn to Live”, “She Want It”, and “Dark Star” offer different, but no less intense, lessons. The one love song, “She Want It”, is unique, but is no less powerful for being about love. “Dark Star” laments the lack, and treatment of, black heros.
Musically, Blxpltn takes influences from all over the place, and blends them into a fabulous listening slurry. The songs bounce from almost B-52s rhythms, to super speed Ramones 70’s punk, back to Nine Inch Nails industrial. These all succeed so brilliantly, despite all the reasons it shouldn’t, because of Jonathan and Tazslin’s sheer talent. They play all the instruments, and trust the skills of the other, and you can definitely hear it echoed in the songs.
Blxpltn is so talented, so bombastic, I expect them to explode in the next year. ‘New York Fascist Week’ is now available on all streaming and online music outlets, and through Wolfshield Records.