Philadelphia punk outfit Soul Glo has gone through a lot of changes since the release of their UNTITLED LP from 2016. The propulsive hardcore of that record is steeped in taut playing and nervy shrieks, but the gigs they’ve played have gradually developed and changed, making ample room for large swaths of expansive, cathartic noise. Theirs is a live show that makes the audience feel the frustration and anger of the music in a visceral way, and seeing the song listing of their new album include a cut called “noise tracc,” we expect that it will echo what we’ve been seeing Soul Glo bring to the stage over the past year or so. Continue reading →
If you don’t think Philly’s Soul Glo are one of the most important artists in punk right now…well, I’m not sure what punk shows you’re going to, but you might want to course-correct a bit. Using an aesthetic of driven-to-static guitars, blast beats and screamed vocals, the band channel anger and frustration over systemic racism and oppression, as well exasperation over the way that oppression creeps nefariously into the day-to-day lives of people living in a changing city, of players in an largely white punk scene. As frontperson Pierce Jordan told our Yoni Kroll in an interview ahead of the inaugural Break Free Fest in 2017, “essentially our music is the sound of the yelling and cussing in our heads as we field the various microaggressions of our lives.”
Jordan went a bit more indepth in another interview later that year with The Key’s Alex Smith: “I started to get really possessed by the idea of learning about myself and what I believe in by writing about how I and others live and what we see around us during our lives. A lot of what i feel like I really should be talking about is truly foul and ugly shit and I wanted to keep it real by addressing that instead of vague poetry.”
In addition to being a powerful force on the lyrical front, Soul Glo is charting new territories in punk sonics; when we last saw them (headlining an Everybody Hits show at the top of the month), the band expanded from its earlier guitar, bass, drum format to include laptops and samplers, bringing a harsh noise layer to their already-visceral sonic catharsis. The latest song to emerge from that, “Mathed Up,” was released via Twitter and Soundcloud last week as the band toured to a hardcore fest in Toronto. Continue reading →
For many rockers of color, finding films like AFROPUNK — James Spooner’s groundbreaking documentary about minority involvement in punk and hardcore movements — was and is a critical milestone in their development. As a young black and queer punk rocker immersed in the community, watching this film’s scenes unfold, bearing witness to ideas, perspectives, and experiences expressed in the film that were so wildly different, I realized something: each one of those perspectives, from both the youthful, energetic dayglo punk who “didn’t want to be defined by their race” to the raging political hardcore kid using the genre towards black liberation, at some point I had felt similarly, at least in part, to all of the interviewees. The lived black punk rock experience was given a voice. In that documentary’s wake the legions of weird yet still culturally impactful black music has practically given birth to new ways of discovering music through blogs and social media. This wave has infiltrated community centers and Shriners’ hallls, as well as taken to the stages usually reserved for all white bands.
Philadelphia is a city ripe for a black and brown punk reclaiming. Entire movements have thrived for more than a decade dedicated to promoting art and music by marginalized people. Enter Soul Glo, a band etching dark, interpersonal screeds on ancient parchment cut from the skin of the rotting corpse of hardcore punk. Their music travels pedal-driven through lush, dense shoe-gaze forests, bursting out of the other side screaming. Lead singer Pierce Jordan’s voice is an unmatched wail that snakes through the band’s wiry punk orchestration as a truly exhaustive vessel for his trauma-informed lyrics. While their name — taken from a parody product from the cult 80’s Eddie Murphy comedy Coming To America, said to give black folk luscious, wavy jheri curled hair — may come across as comedic, it’s important to remember that the moniker choice is all a part of the intricate cultural interplay and relevancy that truly revolutionary, unbothered and alternative black acts have traditionally embraced. From Parliament’s colorful renditions of life on the mothership to Odd Future’s notorious hyper-cartoon troll Tyler the Creator’s transformation into a living meme, there’s certainly room for jest in this revolution. The sentiment is most aptly put by an interviewee in the AFROPUNK doc when she casually intones: “I don’t feel less black because I’m less normal”
We sat down with Soul Glo to discuss the contradictions, struggles and even empowerment of speaking the truth of the black lived experience to a punk power structure that often values the social capital of whiteness over others. Continue reading →
Local bands are teaming up for a run of benefit festivals this spring, supporting organizations that are crucial to queer and POC communities. Electrifest: Radical Queer Empowered Healthcare and Wellness expands the fest model to include symposium-style discussions on April 8th and 9th at The Rotunda, while the 4th annual Get Better Fest supports the Trans Assistance Project, Youth Emergency Services, and Women Against Abuse on April 28th at Glittery Gallery, April 29th at the First Unitarian Church, and April 30th at PhilaMOCA.