10 new albums Trump won't play at his rallies

Political albums from August 2020

As US President Donald Trump continues to piss off musicians by using their music at his rallies, here's a look back at August's political news and the best new music that he definitely won't be playing. What albums would you suggest? Comment on , or 

naima_shalhoub_-_siphr album artwork
Siphr. Naima Shalhoub.

1. NAIMA SHALHOUB - SIPHR 

On August 4, ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Beirut exploded, killing at least 181 people, leaving 300,000 homeless and sparking . Negligent officials appeared to be the culprits. But, without evidence, US President Donald Trump instantly . Two days later, Lebanese-American soul singer and activist Naima Shalhoub released her , whose track "Eight (Arab-Amerikkki)" tackles American prejudice towards people from Arab countries. The daughter of refugees from Lebanon, Shalhoub had been planning to return to the country after she composed one of the album's songs with prisoners there, but had been grounded by the coronavirus pandemic. Her lyrics on "Three (Loved)" take on a particular poignancy in light of the explosion: "Buildings will stand and then they'll fall, but how have we loved at the end of it all?"

47_soul_-_semitics album artwork
Semitics. Soul.

2. 47 SOUL - SEMITICS 

On August 13, Trump hailed a "historic breakthrough" in establishing full diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Palestinians as a betrayal and condemned the Emiratis for acquiescing in Israel’s ongoing occupation - and - of Palestinian land. A week later, 47 Soul released their new album of protest music, which features Palestinian rappers and singers set to "Shamstep" - the band's unique blend of hip-hop beats and Middle Eastern melodies. The album is called Semitics because, as the band put it: "The term is used in a strange way, and in so much propaganda. People need to know that semite doesn’t just mean Hebrew alone – Arabs are included. After all, ‘semitic languages’ include both Hebrew and Arabic and all the people who spoke those languages mixed a lot – it was one of the most metropolitan areas in history."

levellers_-_peace album artwork
Peace. The Levellers.

3. THE LEVELLERS - PEACE 

Over in Britain - the country that - Queen guitarist Brian May of fires surrounding his home on August 11, as the "normally damp" forest burned. Three days later, British festival favourites the Levellers released their first in eight years, which rails against climate change on the song "Generation Fear". "The East and West they posture, to point score," they sing. "They ruined our planet for profit. Was it worth it?" Discussing the album, they : "It’s the most anxious-sounding record we’ve done in a long time. It’s the way the world is." It came in a month when Canada's last fully intact Arctic ice shelf , Mauritius was destroyed by an , a huge hurricane and the first big bushfire of  arrived in Australia's state of New South Wales, as people for the environment.  

4. VARIOUS ARTISTS - CANNOT BUY MY SOUL: THE SONGS OF KEV CARMODY (2020 EDITION) 

On August 20, National Indigenous Television broadcast , a powerful new documentary marking 250 years since Captain Cook "discovered" Australia, presented by comedian and slam poet Steven Oliver. The film looks at "songlines" - the songs that helped Aboriginal people navigate and survive in the country for millennia - and creates new compositions with contemporary Indigenous musicians including rappers and , singers Mo'Ju and Alice Skye, and famed protest singer Kev Carmody. The next day, Carmody released Cannot Buy My Soul: The Songs Of Kev Carmody (2020 Edition), featuring six new cover versions of his songs, including new offerings from Birdz, Trials, Mo'Ju and Alice Skye. "It's a little bit disconcerting that stuff I wrote over 40 years ago is still relevant," Carmody.  

gordon_koang_-_unity album artwork
Unity. Gordon Koang.

5. GORDON KOANG - UNITY 

On August 10, the Federal Court Australian Home Affairs Minister to release a 68-year-old immigrant from a North Melbourne detention facility after it determined he had a high risk of contracting the coronavirus. Instead, Dutton 3000km away from his family to a remote detention centre in Western Australia. Four days later, blind Sudanese refugee Gordon Koang released his after a six-year struggle to get residency in Australia. On album opener "Asylum Seeker", he sings: "My dear asylum seekers, we know you're waiting for your permanent protection visa. We know you've been waiting for a long time." Discussing the album, he : "When you are an asylum seeker you don't have a job, you don’t have a friend, you don’t have any money." A day later, activists stared down police intimidation as they to free refugees in Brisbane.

vusi_mahlasela_-_shebeen_queen Album artwork
Shebeen Queen. Vusi Mahlasela.

6. VUSI MAHLASELA - SHEBEEN QUEEN 

Back in Gordon Koang's , revered South African musician Vusi Mahlasela released his on August 14, recorded live at his late grandmother's — or informal drinking den — in the slums. "In 1976, when I witnessed the Soweto Uprising, my political education began and I realised how important music was," he . "I began writing songs of justice, of freedom, of revolution, of love, of peace and of life. For these songs, I was arrested and thrown into solitary confinement. Magogo was always there for me — she fought for me, protected me and stood up for what was right. She was and still is my greatest hero. I decided I wanted to record some of these great Township songs in an effort to preserve this important music.” Released as swept South Africa, this protest music is the most sublime you will hear anywhere on earth.

los_fastidios_-_from_lockdown_to_the_world album artwork
From Lockdown to the World. Los Fastidios.

7. LOS FASTIDIOS - FROM LOCKDOWN TO THE WORLD 

In Italy, Los Fastidios - a band who fight fiercely against racism meted out on African immigrants - released their new album of live songs recorded in lockdown, on August 11. The typically upbeat and catchy, singalong punk album, which opens with the irrepressibly optimistic "Joy Joy Joy", was released on the same day that worldwide cases of coronavirus . Other artists releasing pandemic-themed records this month included John McCutcheon, who mourns the death of musician on his album, , and Martyn Joseph, with his EP. On "Nye (Song For The NHS)", Joseph sings: "No society can call itself civilised, if the sick are denied through lack of means. And if you don’t believe me take a plane my friend, go break your arm, see what it costs in New Orleans."

billy_nomates_-_billy_nomates album artwok
Billy Nomates. Billy Nomates.

8. BILLY NOMATES - BILLY NOMATES 

Billy Nomates' song about calling in to work sick took on a whole new meaning as she released it on her amid the pandemic on August 7. “See I’ve been up all night with one of the worst cases this town has ever seen," sneers the post-punk on "Call In Sick". "And if I come in Debbie, if I come in Debbie, I’m gonna take down the whole team." Similarly, "Supermarket Sweep" sticks the knife into dead-end jobs, with a typically acerbic guest appearance by former dole office worker Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods. And on "FNP" Nomates spits: “I was born with a fork not a spoon, and things fall through.” It's a fitting soundtrack as governments worldwide try to back into jobs that often pay worse than the dole, risking their health in the process.  

james_dean_bradfield_-_even_in_exile album artwork
Even in Exile. James Dean Bradfield.

9. JAMES DEAN BRADFIELD - EVEN IN EXILE 

On August 14, it was that Communist Party politicians were trying to raise $US6 billion ($8 billion) by taxing the ultra rich in Chile, which has the second highest income inequality in the OECD. The same day, Manic Street Preachers frontperson James Dean Bradfield released his new about Victor Jara, the Chilean protest singer and communist activist who was killed by the regime of Augusto Pinochet in 1973. The album, and an accompanying three-part podcast series, aims to tell Jara's life story, rather than dwelling on his infamous death. "If you just focus on his death, you ignore the journey, you ignore the ambition, you ignore the songs, and you kind of ignore Chile," Bradfield. The album came as in the country entered their 100th day of hunger strike, while the US-backed coup regime in neighbouring Bolivia its grip.

regina_carter_-_swing_states album artwork
Swing States. Regina Carter.

10. REGINA CARTER - SWING STATES 

As South America's main tormentor, the US, geared up for its , Michigan jazz violinist Regina Carter released her new voting-themed album, Swing States. While Trump ratcheted up claims that the poll would be rigged in Democrats' favour ( has long been the truth) Carter : "Voter suppression, especially in African American communities, racism and Black people being disproportionately killed by police are not new injustices in this country. And the spewed by the current occupant of the White House has played a role in encouraging violence. It is extremely important for ALL of us to be vigilant, educate ourselves about issues and exercise our right to vote, especially now." The album came as multiple musicians - and failed - to stop Trump in his election campaign.    


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mat Ward has been writing for Green Left since 2009. He also wrote the  Real Talk: Aboriginal Rappers Talk About Their Music And Country and makes political music. This year, he released a concept album about the media  as "edgy, daring and new". You can download the deluxe version free for a limited time .

Stream our new "Protest albums of 2020" playlist on Spotify This replaces  at more than 500 albums.

Read about more political albums .

Stream Green Left TV's political music playlist .

The multi-award-winning journalist John Pilger says: "There are few other newspapers — radical or any other kind — that draw together news and analysis that is as well informed, credible, and non-sectarian as Green Left. Its work has influenced mine and has been a beacon to those who believe the press ought to be an agent of the people."