kites can’t jive (July 2020)

I’m obsessed with Palimpsest by Protest the Hero. I was a big fan of theirs in the mid-to-late 2000s. Keiza, Fortress, and Scurrilous (the band’s first and second albums respectively) slay: a perfect combination of energising metal riffs and captivating vocals.

But, after that, I fell off the band. Drifted away from metal as a genre. Now, nine years later, Protest the Hero have released Palimpsest (their fifth album) and I love it. It has everything I loved about their previous work and a great narrative hook: the songs are re-tellings of American history.

Take my favourite two tracks.

“The Fireside” presents a version of Pearl Harbor wherein the bombing provides a reason to go to war that US leaders wanted all along:

I’ve got a job for every able-bodied man
Munition factories for women and children
And all we needed was a reason
And you gave us one
You gave us one

“Soliloquy” is an infectious and dramatic story from the perspective of bank robber “Baby Face” Nelson:

You can reach for your service pistol
By the time you get it
I’m betting that this will be over and done with
Leave your badge and your gun
You won’t be coming home tonight

Well worth a spin if you’re into metal.

Other highlights

Expect the unexpected by 79rs Gang. Impossibly cool. The album looks to bring “New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian culture… to dance floors and block parties around the world” and it does. Just give it a spin.

The light pack by Joey Badass. Joey cannot be stopped.

Staying power by Emma Ruth Rundle. I love everything Rundle’s released and this is no different.

Drop 6 by Little Simz. Simz is on fire. One of my favourite rappers in the game right now.

Palimpsest by Protest the Hero. Protest the Hero are back with their fifth album (and their first in four years). It might be their best.

Joy as an act of resistance by IDLES. Rock music (don’t call it punk) at it’s most vibrant and vital.