Downtown Boys, the Providence U.S.A punk band use their ferocious energy and powerhouse live shows to unite crowds in the struggle to smash racism, queerphobia, capitalism, fascism, boredom, and all things people use to try to close our minds, eyes and hearts. Their third album ‘Cost Of Living’ is the follow follow-up to their critically-acclaimed sophomore album, 2015’s ‘Full Communism’ - is at once incendiary, cathartic, and fun, melding the band’s revolutionary ideals with boundless energy. Produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, one of indie-rock’s most mythological figures (he also produced Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, and others), Cost of Living shows a sense of maturity without compromising the band’s righteous assault and captivating presence.
The position of Downtown Boys has been clear since they started storming through basements and DIY spaces with their radically-minded, indefatigable rock music: they are here to topple the white-cis-het hegemony and draft a new history. This is how Downtown Boys began, and their resolve has only strengthened as both their sound and audience have grown. Like the socially conscious groups of years past, from Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine, Downtown Boys harness powerful sloganeering, repetitive grooves, and earworm hooks to create one of the most necessary musical statements of today.
They are keenly aware of the increased visibility and credibility that comes with signing to a corporate-media conglomerate such as Sub Pop. They’re using this platform as a megaphone for their protest music, amplifying and centering Chicana, queer, and Latino voices in the far-too-whitewashed world of rock. In just one example, album-opener ‘A Wall’ rides the feel-good power that drove so many tunes by The Clash and Wire as it calls out the idea that a wall could ever succeed in snuffing the humanity and spirit of those it’s designed to crush.
Compared to previous efforts, the band have shifted from a once-meaty brass section to the subtler melodic accompaniment of keyboards and a saxophone, colouring their anthems with warm, bright tones while singer/lyricist Victoria Ruiz spits out her frustrations and passions. Some might say it shows a sense of maturity, as Downtown Boys have undoubtedly smoothed down some of their earlier edges, but there is no compromise to their righteous assault and captivating presence. Like the socially conscious groups of years past, from Public Enemy to Rage Against The Machine, Downtown Boys harness powerful sloganeering, repetitive grooves, and earworm hooks to create one of the most necessary musical statements of the day. We should all do well to take notice!
“… wild, bilingual, no-filler, can-still-throw-down punk rock.” NPR
“Accompanied by production from Greg Norman and Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, Downtown Boys sound sharper than ever, their urgency tightened into a raging storm. The band understands that for a song to be political, it needs to be more than just than a temporary rebellion: It has to dig into the essence of an identity with relentless honesty.” Pitch Fork
“ …the politically-minded Rhode Island punk crew Downtown Boys slam bullying hardcore guitars, X-Ray Spex-y horns and radical lyrical fury together into a moshpit utopia.” Rolling Stone