Monday, November 21, 2011

Music Spotlight: Joe Pug

by Joel DeVyldere

"I've come to meet the sheriff and his posse, to offer him the broad side of my jaw..."
The declaration of defiance, confrontation and autonomy named Hymn 101 is a rambling man's lament and celebration.

It's music to get assaulted by the police to, and with it Joe Pug opens his classic 2008 EP Nation of Heat.

The lyrical qualities of Nation of Heat consist in subtly displayed insight and a curious talent for detachment. Pug paints a sepia-tone world in which one might imagine first-amendment rights have always been hypothetical for the working man, the traveling man. It seems obvious that he is critically examining the content and context of the United States. But he's critical of its dissidents too.

In I Do My Father's Drugs, Pug portrays anti-nationalistic protest as oftentimes containing a culturally compulsory element and not necessarily the effect of reflection and self-examination. "You will see me at the protest, but you'll notice that I drag. I burn my father's flag."

Pug also seems to take a tact critical of systemic hyper-consumerism in the track Hymn 10I: "The more I buy, the more I'm bought; and the more I'm bought, the less I cost."

In light of all this, should you really buy Joe Pug's music? That, dear reader, is entirely in your discretion. But you should definitely at least give it a listen. The Nation of Heat EP is streaming on his website here.

+ Check out this fan-created video for the title track of Nation of Heat.

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