Protest songs from alt weeklies around the country, (dis)honoring a year of Trump’s presidency

Songs of defiance

The only good thing about Donald Trump is that he has made time slow down. As we get older, every year seems to pass more quick-ly than the last in the rush toward death. But the Trump regime has slowed all of that down and the year since that dark night when he was elected has felt as long as any since high school.

And just as in high school, this slow-moving but insanely intense sense of time has seemed to heighten the emotional impact of music. When a song rings right and seems to express the horror and angst that emanates from the world around you, it feels glorious.

This collection of songs comes from the music editors of more than 20 alt weeklies. As I was writing one of my Trump Tracker columns — about trying to find ways to take “alt” back from the Nazis — I ended up talking to a lot of editors and writers around the country. Collectively, we thought if we could bring together the best protest songs from as many cities as possible, we might learn something about the state of dissent, while maybe also finding some relief. We kick it off with the Indy’s own music editor.

AMELIA ESKENAZI

Amelia Eskenazi


MAJ.L /SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Maj.l /Shutterstock.com

Anti-Flag, “When the Wall Falls”


MAT HAYWARD /SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Mat Hayward /Shutterstock.com

Trombone Shorty and Dumpstaphunk, “Justice”

New Orleans, Louisiana

Trombone Shorty and Dumpstaphunk teamed up on a song called “Justice,” which they released on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. A melange of funk, jazz and New Orleans brass band sounds, the video for “Justice” slyly marries video footage of Trump against pointed lyrics. “Inauguration Day seemed to be an appropriate time to voice the need for equal say and opportunity for all people,” said Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville. “We entered a new year with a lot of unanswered questions on the subject of ‘justice’ that we all felt a little uneasy about. But there’s only so much we can do and this track is our way of expressing our worries.” — Kevin Allman


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Iris DeMent, “We Won’t Keep Quiet”

Iowa City, Iowa

Back in February, Iowa City held a Solidarity Rally Against the Ban, proclaiming support for immigrant populations and refugees in the wake of Trump’s first and most ridiculous attempted travel ban. In between the community leaders, local politicians and youth speakers, a variety of area musicians performed, including the brilliant Iris DeMent. She debuted a song, “We Won’t Keep Quiet,” that captured the feeling in the crowd that day in a really powerful way. — Genevieve Trainor

By | 2018-02-06T19:44:24+00:00 November 15th, 2017|

About the Author:

Baynard Woods
Baynard Woods founded Democracy in Crisis. He is editor at large at the Baltimore City Paper. His work has also appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vox, Salon, McSweeney’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. He is the author of the book “Coffin Point: The Strange Cases of Ed McTeer, Witchdoctor Sheriff,” about a white sheriff who used hoodoo to govern a largely black county for 37 years. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, focusing on ethics and tyranny and became a reporter in an attempt to live like Socrates. He wrote the libretto for Rhymes with Opera’s climate-change opera film “Adam’s Run.”