I first heard the Flobots at Target .
I thought maybe it was Eminem, because that seemed like something that might be playing at Target. Listening closer thought it became obvious that there was something more intelligent going on.
The song was “Handlebars”. I don’t claim to know the artists intent, but to me it is a song about the duality of power in the form of intelligence. How it can be good or evil and how sometimes it’s hard to differentiate, even when it’s used the same way. It struck a chord with me.
Once I figured out the name of the band I hunted down a copy of the album containing “Handlebars”; “Fight With Tools”. I was so moved by “Handlebars” that I had high expectations for the rest of the album. I was a little surprised by the varied style of the music, it reminded me a little of the rap-metal-funk we saw in the 1990’s but with something new as well, and lyrically, it took me back to my punk-rock days. It was like having Dead Kennedy’s music that discussed events I was old enough to remember happening.
I anxiously awaited their next release and have to admit I was underwhelmed. I wasn’t disappointed, it was still a good record, but it just didn’t resonate with me the way FWT did.
Then “The Circle in the Square” came out. For me this was an huge leap over Survival Story and cemented for me that Flobots would be a band I’d be into for a long time.
It’s hard to quantify what I love about this band, but that’s probably because they are more than just a band. Like a lot of my other favorite musicians, music is just a way to get their thoughts and observations out there, and each song turns into research and study, and in the case of the Flobots, connecting with active movements in the world working on the kind of changes I want to see happen. Their latest effort underscores this aspect of the group, and they are directly working to raise themselves (and I think other musicians as well) above the world of entertainment and into something new entirely.
The #noenemies project ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/974127639 /flobots-two-new-albums-for-2016-noenemies ) stands to be a prototype for other artists to rise above simply being entertainers and revenue generators for an industry that has long exploited them. Using music as a tool to enable, not enslave. It’s very exciting and the kind of thing I’ve wanted to happen for a long time.
Take a few minutes to check out the Kickstarter project video and if you share my enthusiasm back the project. I’d love for the success of this project to inspire other artists to go this route and eventually, those of us working for “the machine” in other lines of work as well.