Algiers, the politically righteous Atlanta soul-punks and onetime Band To Watch, are gearing up to release their sophomore album The Underside Of Power next week. We’ve posted the video for the album’s title track, and now the band has shared another deeply resonant song. “Cleveland” is an apocalyptic gospel track that lurches into Detroit techno, and it’s about Tamir Rice, the Cleveland 12-year-old who was killed by police for playing with a toy gun. You can hear the song, which also pays tribute to other victims of police violence, below, and read a statement about it from frontman Franklin James Fisher.
A recurring theme in our music is the idea of injustice and the bitter understanding that obtaining justice in this world is all but impossible — particularly for black and brown people. I wanted the song to sound like the Final Judgement in the Bible, wherein the wicked are judged and condemned by the righteous with all the “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” of the damned when justice is finally realized. This translates in the “solo” section of the song. It consists of various recordings of people inconsolably crying and weeping while the guitar and lead vocal mirror their contortions. If you’ve ever witnessed something like that in real life, sound of a person’s sorrow is equal parts frightening and musical.
The Underside Of Power is out 6/23 on Matador.