Bandcamp of the Day: Down With Rent

The Lotus Eaters in Book 9 of Homer’s Odyssey were a peaceable people who survived without doing any real labor, contented to sleep and lounge, living off the nectar of flowers. When Odysseus and his crew encounter them, these characteristically un-antagonistic people served as only a minor foil and the food they give him and his men merely made them drowsy and forgetful of their mission to return home.

Naming your album for a group of consummate pacifists would seem like a mismatching of sonics and subtext for a hardcore band, unless you’re Connecticut’s Down With Rent. I think if you asked these dudes what an ideal society would look like to them, I don’t know that it would be too far off from the one which Odysseus scorned to continue on his ill-fated tour of the Mediterranean (maybe it could use a record co-op and a place to score booze, but those are really the only things missing).

Now, Down With Rent’s part, they have been mounting the heads of landlords to the walls of their adversely possessed abodes since 2013. Lotus Earter is their second LP and follow-up to 2018’s Entitled Millennial Scum. This is a band whose style of protest-punk is very reminiscent of ’80s anarcho-punk, but with a metallic edge and a demonstrated taste for shout vocals that come directly from the top of the throat, not unlike Jacob Bannon of Converge. Their work has been taking on an increasingly groovy quality since their inception, a character trait that may have reached its final, fearsome form on the boney bass swing of “Dead Dogs,” and the spin-dry pig-drainer “Copfucker.”

And yes, as you can probably tell from the titles of their songs, they don’t just hate property lessers; cops earn their fair share of ire as well, as do Nazi kpop trolls (“Kpop Death Squads”) and other varieties of real-life villains, like oil companies and other perpetrators of climate change (“Surf’s Up, Franklin County Ohio!”) and art cannibalizing advertisers (“Advertising is Mind Control”).

These are, of course, all deserving targets, but you don’t need to seek out a band to lay out our collective grievances with these instigators of injustice. You could get the same kind of screed by visiting an anarchist subreddit. No, you’re here for the tunes, and Down With Rent definitely have those.

Down With Rent really laying into the rhythm in these beasts like a whip on the back of an ox—they’ll either drive your forward into the pit or cause you to scream in cathartic agony. Either will be sure to satisfy, but the band may prefer that their music motivate you to join them in the streets rather than taking your frustration out on a couple of knuckleheads on the dance floor. The social order isn’t going to overturn itself, so make sure you save some of your slam dancing energy and direct it towards community organizing—or at least if you’re going to slap someone around, make sure they really deserve it (eg kpop Nazis or your local slumlord). 

Buy and stream Lotus Eater below via Bandcamp:

Follow Down with Rent here. 

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