AUSTIN CHRONICLE: BLXPLTN Streams New York Fascist Week
Austin’s most politically compelling act, now comprised of vocalist/bassist/guitarist Jonathan Hortsmannand vocalist/percussionist Taszlin Muerte, lit an audio Molotov in 2015 with their debut album Black Cop Down, a collision of street punk and industrial sounds fueled by anger, aggression, and paranoia. Today, the electro-punk duo returns to the scene of the crime with New York Fascist Week, a 10-track LP raging against racism, environmental abuse, militarism, and gun violence.
“We have a history of our songs being timely, but it’d be nice if they weren’t,” sighs Hortsmann. “If only they could be tributes to a time passed.”
“Yeah, we don’t take pride in our music being relevant,” adds Muerte. “It’s hard to put into song something that hurts us so much, share that with everyone, and be so vulnerable. Then you feel like you were at a goddamn funeral every time you play a show because of the shit we’re talking about.
“But in my opinion, if you’re an artist – especially people of color – and you’re not making at least one song talking about what’s going on, then you’re a fucking coward and I don’t want to listen to your shit.”
New York Fascist Week, produced by ...Trail of Dead bassist Autry Fulbright and Ringo Deathstarrsinger/guitarist Elliott Frazier, diversifies Blxpltn’s stylistic profile. “How Many Shots” spins an electro-addled pop serenade, while the title cut and “FEMA” employ a hip-hop delivery, the twosome sounding like angry, apocalyptic versions of the Beastie Boys and Death Grips, respectfully. Although Muerte’s a hip-hop head, the idea to include rap elements nevertheless proved a hard sell.
“I wasn’t interested in rapping in this band, to tell you the truth,” he reveals. “I’m still trying to get respect as a rock & roll person, but Autry was like, ‘I didn’t know you could rap! You should do more of that!’ So I was like, ‘Fuck it, if they think it’s something I should do, I’ll do it.’”
“We still show up to gigs sometimes and people will say, ‘Oh man, I’m so excited that there’s some hip-hop tonight,’ just making an assumption because we’re two people of color,” says Hortsmann. “I think that’s the reason we were trying stay away from it – to break that mold. But what Autry brought up was that there’s no reason to let the racism of it limit ourselves as songwriters and what our sound can be. We can incorporate all of it.”
New York Fascist Week arrives today on Austin’s Wolfshield Records. You can stream the entire LP.