Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Tercer Mundo - El Punk No Es Cultura 7"
I'm going to start this post just by saying that this 7" is easily the best punk release of 2013 in my opinion. It fits every parameter of punk in my eyes, this record is nothing short of amazing.
On Gag tour I stopped off at Ralph's in Chicago and asked him if there was anything he had come across recently that I had to hear. This was one of the records he showed me. The aesthetic alone was enough to completely capture my attention. A booklet with gruesome photos from the Mexican Drug War and information about how it affects their daily lives in Monterrey Mexico. This immediately hit home for me and I thought of my friends in Brigada Roja we had booked in 2011 and 2012 for both New Direction Fests. James made contact with the people in Brigada Roja and we gathered money through fundraisers, shows and personal donations to fly them out here both years as well as many other bands for the fest. Of all the people I met through booking the fest I formed the closest bonds with Carlos and the guys from Brigada Roja. These people were not handed punk as an 'alternative' choice or lifestyle, they are punk and had to work to create a punk scene in their community. They shared incredibly powerful stories about their hometown and how it is affected by the relations between America and Mexico and the ongoing drug war and Mexican cartels. When you can't even walk through your town without firebombings, people hanging from bridges and gunfire then you really have something to communicate with anger. Brigada Roja communicated this on stage in a way that was so compelling people were moved to tears and rage. Tercer Mundo communicates that frustration and rage in a way I have yet to find in a contemporary band this year. In a contemporary hardcore punk scene that has become an irony in itself this record fucking blasts through and tears it apart.
American youth are extremely ignorant as to how their country subordinates and dominates "third world" countries economically and creates this kind of chaos in places like Monterrey. I believe this could be why Tercer Mundo (meaning third world, an outdated and insulting term at best) chose their name. For the most ignorant out there, Third World countries were named so during the Cold World to denote countries which at the time remained unaligned with NATO (US and 'first world' countries) or Communists (Asia, Russia, and Socialist 'second world' countries). It was a way to stratify the countries of the world based on political allegiance and economics. The true irony for many Americans is that Mexico is blamed for these sort of drug conflicts and seen as 'unsafe' when that very sort of political stratification and economic dependance is what causes these kind of conflicts to exist. The very prohibition of drugs in America is what generates this market, this market does exist in the United States (Mexican drug cartels control 90% of the cocaine entering the United States as of 2007), and the US is the number one weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world. Simple 1 + 1 = 2. So while the majority of the current American punk scene is comfortable moving from ironically portraying to fetishizing military garb and treating their world and decisions like a plaything (i.e. mainstream American culture i.e. not punk by definition) Tercer Mundo is using the freedom they have to make the most visceral, dirty, enraging hardcore punk I've heard in some time. It motivated me to contact Carlos who gave me the contact for the singer of Tercer Mundo. I am currently discussing booking them and Brigada Roja on a West Coast tour sometime next year.
To quote Shit-Fi.com who did a better review of this record than I could ever do:
"And then there is the urgency of the moment in which we live. The studied introversion and apolitical character of nearly all punk bands in the United States today is just fucking stupid. Does anyone really want to pay money to buy a record that comes with beyond-inane lyrics, sung in English, thus making their unintelligence intelligible? I love Crazy Spirit and Perdition, along with a handful of other current US bands, but for the most part the US scene as I experience it today might actually disprove my ideas about the indirectness the relationship between of cultural production and socioeconomic context. The crumbling US empire, a mephitic morass of nattering neoliberal individualist idiocy, has found its soundtrack as much in LMFAO as [insert current hardcore band of your choice here; I don’t want to hurt any numbskulls’ feelings]."