MOON BANDITS: Danger. Ruckus. Riot.: LP

Tommy and Astrid make folk punk albums the way some people scrapbook or update their social media pages. Each full length release is a way to catch up with what the two of them have been reading and thinking about, protesting, and adventures shared as they build a home and raise children together. Moon Bandits have once again teamed up with producer Paul Roessler (who was a member of The Screamers and 45 Grave) and this time added guitar and piano, which round out their sound nicely. In my opinion, too many folk punk bands sound like they are sour about not being able to plug in, so they awkwardly beat their riffs onto a banjo. Danger. Ruckus. Riot. moves Moon Bandits solidly away from that. The songs and themes are still punk but they take the folk part of the equation seriously, crashing the two genres into one another to create something really special. There are so many good songs here, some political, some personal, but all heartfelt. Like other Moon Bandits releases, this one comes with a well-crafted zine full of art, photographs, lyrics, and explanations of the songs. The tune that gets stuck in my head is “Emergency Hearts,” which Tommy describes as a “love ballad for our fellow anarchists.” It is a wonderful and poignant song as the country literally burns for justice. But the moment on the album that punched me in the gut comes in the song “Silent Moments.” Tommy and Astrid sing about their relationship together, “When things around us are tough/ We look at each other and we shut the fuck up/ Sometimes silent moments are all we can conjure.” As these two artists join in art and uprisings, life and shared work, they take time to talk about the realities in their relationship and it makes me feel seen for all the things I try and juggle in my own life. Art creating solidarity. And it is refreshing to hear someone, especially someone with passionate beliefs, admit that they don’t have all the answers. –Jon Mule (Self-released, moonbandits.bandcamp.com)