Can punk music exist in 2019? That seems to be what Fusilier explores with this Talkhouse weekend playlist. Since leaving RIBS, a friend’s band, and now focusing on solo material, Fusilier seems to be surrounded by the question of identity. Who is Fusilier? And how can you describe his often genre-bending sound? It all makes sense that Fusilier reexamines the meaning of punk in this playlist.
Rico Nasty — “Smack a Bitch” (2018)
I just saw Rico Nasty perform for the first time at V-Files, and she closed with this one. She came out wearing a Di Du corset/skirt piece sporting a high high high ponytail. The outfit paired with these songs crushed guitars and Rico’s distorted, hardcore-singer vocals confirmed that music and fashion both agree, your granddaddy’s punk is dead. Ours wears couture.
93PUNX, Vic Mensa, Loko Wit Tha Mask — “Fistfight!” (2019)
We can’t really mention punk and fashion in the same sentence without talking about Vic Mensa, who dressed in designer suspenders, a white tee, and a gold necklace, and was the talk of at least my little corner of Twitter for the Internet year (three days). All of this came ahead of the debut album of his new band, 93PUNX. On “Fistfight!” they perfectly combine punk attitude with Southern rap production, with the utmost ease and respect. Truthfully, all it takes is some “yea ho”s and a Three 6 Mafia reference for me to feel right at home.
Grimes, HANA — “We Appreciate Power” (2019)
I love this song for all the reasons I hated it the first time I heard it. Everyone’s favorite double agent, Grimes, returns to music with a dispatch from the inner circles of the oligarchy using the aesthetics of the rebellion. I can’t tell if this song is tongue-in-cheek, but I think the dystopian cyborg future she describes is coming, and she’s seen it all first-hand.
Show Me the Body — “Trash” (2017)
I stan Show Me the Body and I’m equally enamored with their latest album, Dog Whistle. But I first fell in love with their album Corpus I after seeing their singer mount the stage at a Dreamcrusher set at MOMA PS1 and proceed to (as I remember it) open his head with a microphone before screaming the lyrics for the band’s collaboration with the night’s headliner. It’s one of the few true “who is THAT?” moments I’ve had in New York.
Dreamcrusher — “Fever” (2019)
Noise music might seem like it’s just a bunch of knob twisting and fucking around (but also that’s really all music is), but it’s also about control. On “Fever,” Dreamcrusher shows us that they’re the master of control. They manage to build a track that’s of course, gritty and metallic, but also serene. It’s a pillow to muffle out the screams that never find the volume to overwhelm the track. It’s perfect music for keeping your calm while seething on the inside—Signed, Capricorn rising.
BROCKHAMPTON — “J’OUVERT” (2018)
I’m not sure why this song is called “J’ouvert,” the Creole festival celebrated around Caribbean Emancipation Day. It could be because the song sounds like a hard earned celebration. On its surface (the song) “J’OUVERT” is violent (violence is also associated with Brooklyn’s J’ouvert parade thanks to the NYC press), but if you dig deeper and just feel the music, it’s begging to be danced to. You just have to know all the steps that haven’t been appropriated yet.
Tyler, The Creator — “New Magic Wand” (2019)
Tyler, The Creator previewed his new album, IGOR, with a clip of him hopping around in the desert with a blonde bob to the song, “New Magic Wand,” and I freaked the fuck out. The video is exactly the chaotic punk-hop pop that keeps me coming back to his work. He’s been doing it since before it was de moda and it inspired this whole playlist. I’m looking forward to more wigs.
Billie Eilish — “you should see me in a crown” (2018)
Haters won’t say it out loud, but Billie Eilish has her finger on the pulse. This song being the one of the first five on Spotify’s New Music Friday really made me feel like the tide had finally turned in the mainstream. This song is a perfect mix of Trump-era mood, dubstep form, and mainstream hip-hop elements. It’s creepy, it’s quotable, and it feels fantastic.
Ho00o9 — “Street Power” (2017)
I love “Street Power.” The song sounds like everything I love about music put into a Ninja blender. I love the Memphis Horrorcore inspired verses that sample the Halloween theme song, and when the song launches in to distorted guitars and the chant “street power,” Ho99o9 is quick to remind us that we ain’t never heard anything like them before.
Lil Nas X — “Bring You Down” (2019)
It’s almost paradoxical that the only artist to fully embrace the old-school punk instrumentation (drum kit, electric bass, electric guitar complete with solo) is the one that’s had the most pop success. Lil Nas X’s “Bring You Down” is a rebellion and takedown of… I actually don’t know. Does it even matter? Maybe what separates us from the punks of yesteryear is our willingness to not take everything so seriously, or maybe that’s what makes us the same. This song makes me smile and if it gets people to do something besides mindlessly nod their heads, isn’t that all that matters?
(Photo Credit, left: Justin French)