See also: The Haymarket Squares Blast Sheriff Joe With New Video; Raise Money For New Record See also: Conor Oberst Disses Lady Gaga, Other Acts who Refuse Arizona Boycott See also: Charlie Levy of Promoter Stateside Presents Pens Open Letter to SB 1070 Boycotters See also: Conor Oberst Pens Totally Reasonable (Yet Dead Wrong) Open Letter About SB 1070 Boycott
Though he's mostly known for cranking out creaky, warbling folk under his own name and nom de folk Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst has signed off on one pretty significant slice of creaky, warbling indie rock too: 2002's Read Music/Speak Spanish by Omaha-based punks Desaparecidos.
Oberst reunited the band this year after ten years of inactivity for a string of dates including Los Angeles' FYF Fest, and has released new music available for download on Thursday, August 2: the music industry skewering "Bakesale" and the Sheriff Joe Arpaio skewering "MariKKKopa."
No stranger to speaking about Arizona politics — he was a key member of the Sound Strike, which has kinda-sorta-mostly ended its commercial boycott of Arizona — Oberst chatted with the Huffington Post about "MariKKKopa."
"Joe Arpaio needs no help from me getting attention. For years he has been a beacon of bigotry and intolerance for all the world to see. The list of human and civil-rights abuses he's committed in Maricopa County is long and well documented. His many "crime suppression sweeps" are some of the most egregious affronts to American values and human dignity perpetrated in this century. What he does need is to be called out at every opportunity as the criminal that he is. There are many ways of doing that. The federal government's current law suit against him being one of them. I used the best means at my disposal to do it: a punk rock song.
Like The Haymarket Square's recent anti-Arpaio video, the song incorporates a sample of Joe's infamous "KKK/honor" line.
The song sounds like it would fit in perfectly on Read Music/Speak Spanish, with Oberst shouting nativist rhetoric in his trademark vocal squeak and the band firing off distorted octave chords, harmonized pop-punk leads, and palm-muted verses. It's short, direct, and pretty fun to listen to, which is precisely why Desaparecidos has an easier time winning fans than the stoic sounds of Bright Eyes.
Lest he be accused of simply shouting about the problem, Oberst does offer some solutions, telling HuffPo:
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I think we should be pushing for amnesty and a path to citizenship for every undocumented person residing in the United States who has not committed a violent crime; with a special emphasis on keeping families together. This isn't just the only practical solution, it's also the only moral one. Our immigration challenges are tied to many other challenges facing our country. In order to achieve "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" we must also reexamine our trade laws, our labor laws, our drug laws, our budget priorities, our for-profit prison system and our foreign policy towards Mexico, Central and South America. If part of that reform is discouraging illegal immigration in the future, we will need an accessible Guest Worker Program as well as a real effort to force businesses to pay a living wage, both here and in Mexico. As far as paying for public services for these new Americans — although I believe their participation in the economy would do so — I'd recommend cutting our military budget in half. We'd have more than enough money for all the basic public services we all require. I'll never understand how we allow public health and education to suffer here at home while we spend endless amounts of money overseas fattening the purse of defense contractors. I know I'm dreaming big here, but you asked!
Whether this new music could indicate a tour stop in Arizona is unclear, but Oberst's stance on politics here in Sand Land sure isn't.