new music: punk band blxpltn debuts their full length ‘black cop down’ #soundcheck

October 15, 2014

Since getting the first taste of BLXPLTN last spring, we all knew we had heard something special. The outspoken Austin punk rock trio tweaks the classic hardcore punk formula with drum machines and synths without losing an ounce of the raw human emotion that more or less defines hardcore punk. Of course this isn’t the first time someone’s thrown drum machines into the mix on a hardcore record; bands like Pailhead, The Rise, and the Beatnigs have all been down this road before with varying degrees of success. It’s just that BLXPLTN’s Black Cop Down is the first time it’s been this good.

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

The record opens with the synth heavy “Train (Get Out),” a noisy blast of rage that culminates in a tweaked 303 line that bleeds into a modem crash. It’s a moment that encapsulates what makes BLXPLTN work so well: they’re not just about punk fury-in-all-directions, this shit’s fun. TaSzlin, Javelin, and kQ are talking about some major issues; police brutality, poverty, and racial and gender equality. It’d be easy to get heavy handed or dour, but BLXPLTN injects a surprising amount of nuance, levity, and satire in their breakneck jams. The band’s two big singles “Start Fires” and “Stop & Frisk” both shine here alongside hopefully future-singles “Betta Run” and “Blah.”

On a sad note, Black Cop Down comes out as news reaches us that one of the album’s producers and all-around Afropunk icon Isaiah “Ikey” Owens died in his hotel room last night. The Mars Volta and Jack White keyboardist and Free Moral Agents bandleader did some early tracking on Black Cop Down with final production by Autry Fulbright and Elliott Frazier. If it needed any illustration, Ikey Owens’ work on Black Cop Down showcases why there is a very big hole in the music world now. Our thoughts go out to his family.