Love For Downtown Boys’ Anthem ‘A Wall’

“Maybe the first great Trump-era protest song.” That’s not just my opinion, but that of the New York Magazine Approval Matrix who have positioned the song by Providence punk rockers Downtown Boys in the always desirable ‘Brilliant/Lowbrow’ quadrant. (Regular readers of NYMag always turn to this feature first.)

Amos Barshad writes in their online edition, Vulture.com, about how tedious and lazy most protest songs and “resistance anthems” are . . . but then there’s ‘A Wall.’

We hear a rolling bass line, some smashed downstroke guitar, and a rising saxophone. Then, the powerhouse vocalist Victoria Ruiz punches in for work: “How much is enough?!! And who makes that call?!!!” The call and response vocals kick in: “Fuck yeah!” The guitar goes squirrelly and sideways. But it all comes back up for the big shouts. “From the broad side — to the hidden side — a wall is a wall — a wall is just a wall.”

Ms. Ruiz et al. are committed political activists who, in conjunction with Demand Progress, launched SparkMag, an online publication that features musicians who are promoting progressive and radical ideals through their work.

Barshad sums up: “A wall is a wall — and nothing more at all,” Ruiz shouts, and we’re left to make of that what we will.

(The album — ‘Cost of Living’ from Sub Pop — got a thumbs-up from Pitchfork as well.)

 

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