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Music to Fight Evil
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The opening track from the debut album by Atlanta's Kyle Troop & The Heretics is a slice of hardcore skate punk that compares the supporters at a presidential campaign rally to oversexed nightclub drunks salivating over a pole dancer. In a song inspired by the 2016 presidential primaries, the preaching star of Disco is handing out "sugar water" guaranteed to "leave you wanting more" and at the end of it all, Kyle tells me, "people get to take their candidate home like a cheap date".

With a chugging Black Flag riff and tongue-in-cheek NOFX turn of phrase, Kyle and Co use the mould-breaking medium of punk rock to remind us that we should be questioning our representatives in high office, not lionising them - and what's more, we should also be careful not to demonise the opponents of those we support.

"Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to treat one another with decency," Kyle explains. "If you want to fall head over heels for a candidate, cool. But falling head over heels doesn't mean being outright disrespectful and hateful toward other humans that disagree. That's where a lot of the aggression in the song comes from. This last presidential election was full of personal attacks. Not the candidates, but from things you might see on social media from people you actually know. It got to me."

Although he's the frontman in the Heretics, Kyle is a recording engineer and plays drums for Atlanta's Tragic Magic, whose line-up also includes his wife and Heretics bassist, Tiffany.

"I do like to keep it in the family," says Kyle. But the remaining Heretics, Dean (guitar) and Jake (drums) "are also family", he says. Presumably he means metaphorically. "These are some of my best friends and the best people in the world".

The Heretics' new album is called Fake Songs, an unmistakable allusion to a conspiratorial phrase much loved by US President Donald Trump.

"Fake Songs started as a cheeky working title. But as the record came together, it really found its place," says Kyle. "A lot of the songs are about things overheard while sitting at coffee shops or a bar. Anywhere people end up hanging out and talking loudly. Or from conversations that play out on Twitter or Facebook. People are so quick to react before hearing the other person out or even reading the entire post online before making smoke come out of the keyboard on their computer. So the overall vibe of the record is a commentary, a point of view, on the last two years in the South-Eastern United States."

"The theme," Kyle summarises, finally, "is thinking for yourself and knowing what you believe."

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About the curator: Jon Ewing

After graduating from the University of Keele in England with a degree in Politics and American Studies, Jon worked as editor of a music and entertainment magazine before spending several years as a freelance writer and, with the advent of the internet, a website designer, developer and consultant. He lives in Reading, home to one of the world's most famous and long-running music festivals, which he has attended every year since 1992.

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