Dark Ages

A short playlist of music I’ve been reminded of by current events. Most of this is music I’ve liked since I was younger that seems more relevant now than it did at the time.

Dead Kennedys – Nazi Punks Fuck Off. With today’s news of the demonstration in Charlottesville, the latest example of the rise of the far-right in the US, this track came to mind instantly.

Propagandhi – Less Talk More Rock. Just as Dead Kennedys wrote Nazi Punks in reaction to the neo-fascists attending their gigs, Propagandhi wrote this one against homophobes.


Sun Ra & His Arkestra – Nuclear War. In reaction to president Trump banning transgender people from the US military, Bandcamp supported the Transgender Law Centre by donating all its share of sales on 4th August. One of the things I bought on Bandcamp that day was this.

SNFU – Black Cloud. Looming over us all now, thanks to US and North Korean political leadership. Another nuclear-apocalyptic song, this one with a really nice vocal melody.

NoMeansNo – Dark Ages. Describes the general bleakness of living in late capitalism in 2017. I’ve always liked the biblical style of language in NoMeansNo’s lyrics, with dark imagery and tales that centre on humanity’s flaws. Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed is a good example of this, and it’s one of my favourite albums. It’s only after buying that Sun Ra single and exploring his other music that I realise how much of an influence he’s had on NoMeansNo.

Joy Division – Leaders of Men. Another beautifully bleak song about torment and hopelessness.

Napalm Death – Multinational Corporations. Around the time I was doing my A-levels I painted a mural for a friend on his bedroom wall, and in return he paid me with a couple of Napalm Death albums, one of which was SCUM. My copy is the orange version. Multinational Corporations is the first track, a simple anti-capitalist anthem.

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On. The whole album is a thoughtful reflection on hard times, and the title track represents many of its observations on class, politics, race, the environment, employment, love and war. I used to think the title was a question, but it’s a declaration: THIS is what’s going on. It’s grim, but it leaves you with hope.

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