Books get written about the first 100 days in office of Presidents past, but Donald Trump will be the first to have that book be released in installments – volumes for each and every single one of his tumultuous and terrifying days at the helm of the most powerful force in the world, with seemingly no intention to use any of that privilege for good.

You can see here what we think music’s role is during the Trump regime. In terms of more proactive stances, the recent Women’s Marches provided a safe place for those under threat to exist and coexist. They were the largest post-inauguration protests in history, with millions around the world joining together to fight hate and bigotry with love and acceptance, and one would hope that similar rallies inspire similar action; whether it’s #BlackLivesMatter or #NoDAPL, fighting for abortion rights or fighting for climate change facts to not be censored on government-owned social media pages (what a fucking time to be alive), the fightback rolls on. Right now, there are calls for Trump to not be permitted within the UK while his proposed Muslim ban is in effect. Fight hate with love, counter oppression with liberation, and know that he will not divide us.

Instead of just presenting a ‘Here’s Some Songs We’re Loving This Week’ that no one will give a toss about, here are some inspirational songs that might just carry you through another depressing week on Planet Earth.

Lily Allen – Going to a Town

Lily Allen might not be the first person you think of when it comes to protest music, social commentary, or political movement, but Sheezus herself has blessed us all with her presence in the form of ‘Going to a Town‘, a Mark Ronson-produced cover of Rufus Wainwright’s 2007 heartbreaker. What was Lily doing ten years ago while this song was being written? Topping charts, punching photographers, and outrageously winning NME’s ‘Worst Dressed’ award [insert “some things never change” joke here]. Honestly, have you SEEN Ricky Wilson, pre-Voice makeover?! I digress.

Proving that not all protest music needs to sound angry, and that not all social commentary needs to have been penned right this second and tweeted while still topical, Allen’s beautiful rendition of an already-stunning song highlights the already-declining plight of citizens of American and the world under Donald Trump.

“I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down // I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced // I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down // I’m so tired of America

I’m gonna make it up for all of The Sunday Times // I’m gonna make it up for all of the nursery rhymes // They never really seem to want to tell the truth // I’m so tired of you, America”

The music video shows a number of different marches and rallies that have occurred since the inauguration of last week, and highlights the diverse and wide-ranging population that seems doomed to fail under the politics and power of Trump. The anger and rage that the average person should feel at any number of that man’s already-devastating actions are channeled through Allen’s exacerbated and despair-ridden vocals, while harmonious strings tragically underline her every syllable.

This decade old song might have just summed up our current ‘situation’ better than most think-pieces and alt-blogs you’ll come across, but don’t let that deter you; ‘Going to a Town‘ is timeless, and the urgency of its conveyed message must not be ignored.

Real Estate – Darling

Success can make or break you. When New Jersey’s Real Estate released ‘Atlas’ in 2014, they were shot into the consciousnesses of homes around the world thanks in no small part to jangle-pop masterpiece ‘Talking Backwards’, and the subsequent sell out tours and television appearances justified as much. But, as with all great stories, act one must lead on to act two; Founding guitarist Matt Mondanile left to focus his energy on his work in Ducktails, frontman Martin Courtney settled down with two kids, and a whole host of uprooting and relocations had jeopardised the possibility of any new Real Estate music for the foreseeable.

But fear not, as Real Estate’s third act has arrived in our hearts, ready to resolve the entire story and return us to a state of equilibrium; if new single ‘Darling’ sounds like the most Real Estate-thing they’ve ever done, it’s because it’s one of the best.

Both the opener and the lead single from fourth album ‘In Mind’, ‘Darling’ takes a wandering stroll down memory lane, using phased-around guitars and lucid vocals to convey a sense of true longing and loneliness in the absence of a loved one. Layers of vocals and synthesisers expand their sound beyond the simple guitar-bass-drum dynamic, but never stray from the recognisable psych-pop cloth that Real Estate are cut from. Having undergone significant changes while coming out stronger on the other side proves the staying power in the five-piece’s artistry, and hopefully act three gets the encore it so rightly deserves.

LPX – Tightrope

Lizzy Plapinger is using the hiatus of her band MS MR to explore a different side of pop to that which the NYC-based duo normally explore, and creating something viscerally empowering in the process.

“I’m here to assert myself – harder, louder, and stronger – as a woman and an artist. A force to be reckoned with, wrapped in amplified distortion, emotion and chaos. To create music that RIPS through your speakers and shakes you to your core, the kind of music that gets into your blood, takes hold and doesn’t let go.”

Rip through the speakers it does. The song is a two-sided affair, with half of its four minutes laden with sweet oohs and aahs and epic pop chord sequences, while the other is a feral and energetic beast, complete with distorted vocals screaming over the top of frenetic guitars.

Released by herself and for herself, LPX’s first foray into the world is a statement that’s as assured and powerful as you can make; “Don’t look down, keeping my eyes wide, and I won’t fall“. Some pretty sound principles to maintain in especially troubling times like these.

Nana Grizol – T.V. Song

After a whopping seven years since their last album, ‘Ruth‘, Athens, GA’s Nana Grizol are back with new single ‘T.V. Song‘, sounding like they haven’t skipped a beat during their lengthy downtime.

The folk-punk collective, formed by Theo Hilton, have reconvened ahead of new record ‘Ursa Minor‘ (out in March), and the timing couldn’t be better. Hilton originally used Nana Grizol as, “an outlet for expressing how confusion and constant pining became ingrained into a young, queer male in a small town,” and it’s easy to imagine that not much has changed.

T.V. Song‘s jaunty and happy-go-lucky instrumentation is compounded by politically-charged lyrics, questioning the editorialising of mainstream media (“‘My nightly news is inundated with your views”), the bigotry and scapegoating that leads to war (“You move mountains with your anger, you swell oceans when you’re sad // You start wars with your rejoicing and you’re making me feel so bad“), and even his own role as a political commentator (“They say that it’s a choice to make a message with my voice“). If it’s a choice to deliver these messages then it’s a choice worth making, and one that people like Hilton are still, fortunately, free to make. For now.

The Yugos – Ingenue

Sometimes you just have to love, and smile every once in a while.

It’s about as simplistic a premise as can be, and yet The Yugos‘ latest offering is shrouded in mystery and complexity from the word go. Opening with a cacophony of reverberating guitars, a wall of sound eventually erupts through Cure-like dark-pop and Brandon Flowers-esque vocal leaps.

The word ‘Ingenue‘ was reportedly invented by singer Christian Gough while at high school, and it mean “innocent woman”. Much as it’s a bit too late to have been used on the campaign trail by Hillary Clinton, ‘Ingenue‘ is an uplifting thrill ride across plentiful guitar riffs and pounding bass drums, eschewing krautrock and psychedelia while maintaining an anthemic and uniting quality.

Leatherneck – Vincent

Cheshire four-piece Leatherneck are favourites here at H&H, and not without good reason. Their noisy yet refined punk rock finds its way onto this new double A side release available for free right now, while also being included on a cassette tape due out later this year. Old school.

The passion on ‘Vincent‘ is evident from the get go, as each respective part screams and squeals its way out of the speaker during three and a half minutes of blisteringly brilliant melodic rock. Think a band like Superfood or Get Inuit after about eight cans of Monster and you can roughly imaging the frenetic and energetic sound that Leatherneck pursue.

Unlike any old band with a distortion pedal and a chorus, the band also have their shit together when it comes to moderation and restraint within their sound – never does ‘Vincent‘ feel overproduced or too long, while the intimate spaces between the song’s multiple sections create breathing space and clarity. Dynamic range is a rare thing in modern rock, but Leatherneck know how to make the big bits feel HUUUUUGE.

Koria Kitten Riot – White Trash Kids

Something  nice and chill to finish us off comes from Finnish act Koria Kitten Riot. Having just released a sweet and innocent LP named ‘Songs of Hope and Science‘, the band present an optimistic outlook during troubling times through colourful guitar work, hook-laden melodies, and pure relaxation throughout. It’s nice to sit back and take it all in, isn’t it?

The band wear their influences on their sleeve, with Wilco, Elliott Smith, and Neutral Milk Hotel being three choice comparisons to make – particularly the latter, with the entire album resembling a more-polished version of ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea‘. ‘White Trash Kids‘ is an intimate, isolating tale told through simple drum loops and acoustic harmonies, and the frail vocals of frontman Antti Reikko are reminiscent of Jeff Mangum.

The album is a much-needed rest in a time of just pure hell, so get yourself some peace of mind and check it out here.

In all seriousness, if shit’s got you down then memes, Facebook shares, and petitions aren’t enough. Actions speak louder than words, and I’ve said a lot of bloody words here, so make sure that the actions are as plentiful. As the world races itself to the finishing line of existence by seeing who can fuck up the furthest, your civil liberties and basic fucking human rights are going to be violated, torn up, and pissed on. Here is a list of organisations (h/t Jezabel) that are fighting and doing vital work to ensure that citizens of our planet are treated fairly, legally, democratically, and humanely. If you are able to, please donate whatever you can afford. If you’re unable to, then please try to spread the word. A lot of those organisations operate internationally, or deal with affairs that will greatly affect international policies for years to come – the time for complacency is over, the time for activism is right now.

Good luck, enjoy these perhaps-insignificant mere moments of pop, rock, and pop-rock brilliance and I’ll see you next week.

About The Author

Mark Riley

Always pick the Fire starter-Pokemon.