There is a time and a place for subtlety, for florid poetic entreaties, for hidden meanings and multi-layered metaphor, for shades of grey and leaving gaps for the listener to fill in for themselves, for riddles and for allusions and for ambiguity. There is also a time and a place for two minute punk rock eviscerations with titles like “John McCain’s Ghost Sneaks Into The White House and Teabags The President”, and that time and place is here and now.
Thankfully Durham, NC punk trio The Muslims are here to provide just that with their fourth album Fuck These Fuckin Fascists which gets a physical release on Epitaph Records this week following its digital launch a few weeks back. The album packs 12 tracks of arse kicking, racist baiting, politically charged afropunk into a breathless 22 minutes. If you’re not left angry and energised by the end, you need to go back to the start and listen properly this time.
Vocalist/guitarist Sheikh QADR, drummer Ba7Ba7 and bassist Abu Shea take aim at police brutality, white supremacists, transphobes, homophobes and those who use all of the above to preserve their own wealth and power. It’s a call to arms loaded with humour, insight, tenderness, rage and hi energy melodic punk rock bangers. We asked the band to guide us through the record, track by track.
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot
Starting with radio static and paying respect to Born In Flames’ Phoenix Radio, this song is a fast-paced, in your face, punk protest anthem against cops and state violence. This is the anti-compliance banger, chants and all. This is the we-aint-finna-stand-here-while-you-kill-us song.
Crotch Pop A Cop
We really wanted to channel our inner buttrock sauce for this one. “Crotch Pop A Cop” is a fun, easy-going summer jam about dick punching high school bullies with badges. It’s about having wholesome fun with your friends and sharing in the deep joy that they apparently have when they beat us up. It’s all good vibes. Every now and then I write down a title idea for a song then forget about it till years later. I think this is one of those songs.
Love is an action word that demands of us to speak up and fight, passionately, for the future we all deserve. I’m so tired of their belligerent screams for ‘UNITY,’ corny dances and symbolic gestures. We don’t want Harriet Tubman on a fuckin $20, we want reparations and no more racist police.
This was a very fun and important song to write. Taking such xenophobic and racist statements, that are said about Black & brown people, and applying it to the ones who are actually guilty of all that shit. It’s a classic case of “whoever smelt it, dealt it” mixed with some good humor. It was great to spin this narrative and do so with an upbeat, easy-going, catchy chorus. I mean, how could you not sing this all day?
Kill Your Masters
“Kill Your Masters” channels more of the Mayo Supreme style of fast and crunchy rage, going between mid range and high-pitched vocals. It hits you real suddenly, full band, full volume, all instruments wide open, with a clear ass message and thumping redundancy on the verses. It’s about destroying patriarchy and any symbol of it. With a title like this, I wanted to keep it real easy and cut throat, pun intended.
Fuck These Fuckin Fascists
I started writing this song during Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial and finished it during the attempted coup. What a time to be alive. As a person who fits the description of a so-called ‘Black Identity Extremist,’ I find it funny that our music and message, calling out racist violence, makes people more uncomfortable than actual racist violence. At least we’re cute, tender, and funny af. Artists are the truth-tellers throughout history, and we’re just speaking our truth. Fascism was never wiped out, it just got more polite and calls itself a Richard Spencer now, whatever that is. We’re going to speak truth to power and have a damn good time doing it. I hope our fans (aka Munks) get some coded message about destroying capitalism and the patriarchy, but only if they play it backwards. I hope this song inspires the next Munk to be themselves: to mosh in the mirror, cuss out racists, steal plant clippings from government buildings, and support their local Co-ops.
IDGAF is all about being yourself. Be your true self, your best self, your happiest self, and don’t let anyone drag you down because of who you are. It’s the ultimate middle finger to any and everyone who hates other people for just existing.
This one’s pretty self explanatory. We just couldn’t drop this album without paying bitter and resentful respect to the global pandemic and every asshole that keeps it going. I actually recorded this on my phone in like spring/summer 2020 after coming home, wiping down my damn groceries and almost having a panic attack. I was so fuckin pissed.
Gwinnett County Detention Center? Global Change Data Center? General Communicable Disease Control? Gulf Coast Data Concepts? Who knows.
Froot of The Loom
This song is dedicated to trans kids, young queers, baby gays, all the thems and theys and enbys. This song is for everyone who ever had to live closeted, waiting and hoping to be loved and seen. It’s a sweeter groovy song and melodically, felt perfect for this message.
Live, Laugh, Lead
Who plays a better wolf in sheep’s clothing: live, laugh, lead or live, laugh, love? This one is about the violence of niceness when it’s in place of true care. Fuck being nice. Be caring and authentic and collective. When I was writing this, I kept thinking of all the “cowboys and indians” and thanksgiving bullshit I was taught as a kid, or how religious people are often the most bigoted and mean. So much bullshit, the lies we tell ourselves to feel good.
John McCain’s Ghost Sneaks Into The White House And Tea Bags The President
I don’t have anything to say about this one, bless.
Fuck These Fucking Fascists is out now on Epitaph Records as a digital download and on all of the usual streaming platforms. It receives a physical release on vinyl and CD on 5th November – pre-order here.
Find out more on The Muslims’ official website
Introduction by Paul Maps
Photograph by Chris Charles