First Listen: Downtown Boys, ‘Cost of Living’

“Cost of Living” by Victoria Ruiz and Downtown Boys should be your soundtrack on this Friday and into the weekend. You can listen to the whole album for free on NPR this week!

Victoria is an amazing member of the Fed Up team, spending her days fighting for economic and racial justice and full employment, and her nights fronting this amazing band. You’ll love it! But you don’t have to take my word for it! Here’s NPR:

“Ruiz and DeFrancesco’s voices blend into a force of nature on songs like “Because You” and “Violent Complicity.” On the latter, they sing, “The stakes are high / And it can’t be just about getting by.” That idea of activism as an everyday necessity bleeds into “It Can’t Wait” and “I’m Enough (I Want More),” in which Ruiz denounces the luxury of being a passive observer in 2017: “As if it were a choice / As if there were a place to run / As if they heard your voice / As if there were a proper time.” Leaping from switchblade riffs to angular hooks with agility, the band pays homage to punks past — X-Ray Spex, The Bags, Los Crudos — while soundtracking a future they hope will come.

“Cost Of Living was produced by Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, and he does more then lend the recording a tight, powerful punch. It’s as if he’s passing the torch, sending off the next generation of impassioned punks to make their own impact. The members of Downtown Boys were already well underway in that regard, and they certainly don’t need anyone’s stamp of approval — but Cost Of Living nonetheless picks up where Fugazi left off, focusing punk rock through a lens of social justice, art-damaged noise and burning intensity.

“That said, Downtown Boys is a band all its own, and Cost Of Living is a cry of resistance — and a celebration of life in all its diversity —that couldn’t be more urgent, vibrant or vital.”

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