America is in a state of emergency. A kleptocratic reality television star–a fraud–has been ushered into the White House by a minority of voters and with the assistance of a hostile foreign power. His message: Bigotry, ignorance, fear, and rage. His mission: The dismantling of a system he’s leveraged to benefit himself and his family to the tune of billions of dollars. And now he’s landed himself the best bully pulpit those billions could buy.
As dismayed and frustrated citizens wrestle with the reality of what their fellow countrymen have done, planning protests and lobbying the electoral college–the last line of defense in a system of checks and balances–to perform their constitutional duty in preventing an unqualified autocratic tyrant from taking office, others are doing what they can with the resources they have to temper the dystopian potential of the next four years.
Enter the good folks at DC-based Verses Records, who released a compilation of independent talent from around the world to benefit one of the great bastions of American freedom: The ACLU. Entitled Code Red, the album is meant to raise money and awareness through the sounds of artists concerned with the direction America has taken.
“‘Code Red’ is standard terminology for extreme emergency,” said label co-founder Douglas Kallmeyer. “It also is a bit funny that it’s used by a lot of groups we oppose–for example, Women for Trump. It’s like a big middle finger to that type of nonsense, while also maintaining a standard call of alert.”
The compilation is a beast at 40 tracks, with sounds as diverse as the call-and-response chants you’ll hear at any progressive protest.
Featuring the discordant violin compositions of James Wolf, the Lamb-esque downtempo sounds of Subaqueous, the dutch heavy experimental jazz of Dead Neanderthals, and the metal-infused post-rock of DC’s The Orchid, there’s a lot to explore here and it’s well worth the $5 Verses is asking at Bandcamp.
Dave Harris, also with Verses Records, explained that the label intentionally reached out to diverse acts who were concerned about the election results.
“Basically, I reached out to a large number of artists and friends that we have relationships with via social media, or in person,” said Harris. “A lot of my international friends had already reached out to me the night of the election, late night, to express their sorrow and concern. All of this happened very fast, so it was really ‘from the gut.’ The artists all asked what I was ‘looking for.’ I told them that I was looking for nothing more than their musical reaction as an artist to the election results, how that makes them feel.”
The result is an eclectic collection of heartfelt sounds and a message of solidarity.
“At the end of the day,” said Harris, “collectively, we just wanted to not only raise money for the ACLU, but send out a unified message that we are not alone, and that we are concerned and very much care about the future of our planet. The artists conveyed this message of solidarity, equality, freedom. The overwhelming consensus from the artists is that we can, in fact, do something to help in such trying times.”
Give the album a listen right here, then head over to Bandcamp and pony up the $5 for high-quality downloads. Your donation will benefit the organization that has promised to keep Donald Trump in check and court, and with a history that proves it. The label plans to present the first round of donations to the ACLU on inauguration day.
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