Tyler Sullivan


noise punk pioneers ono return with the massive single “coon”

April 14, 2020
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Chicago’s ONO have been making noise and shredding boundaries for two weeks shy of 40 years now. The experimental band’s ever-shifting blend of industrial noise, bursts of jazz, and prophetic verse just keeps getting more timely, as the rest of the music world gradually catches up to what they’re up to. While it’s common for bands to look backwards as they reach major milestones, ONO once again goes further than anyone else should reasonably expect with a suite of songs examining the racism of 1919. Their latest single “Coon” finds frontperson travis shouting out abstract shards of lyrics that evoke the Chicago race riots of 1919. His voice rises in sharp Biblical proclamations, while the band grows an agitated tension before transforming into an end that finds hope amid the chaos that travis describes as “redemption deserving of the very humanity that produced them.”

He explains the genesis of the song, saying throughout 1919 the phrase, “‘Kill the Coons’ mysteriously appeared on placards throughout Chicago neighborhoods. Phrases like ‘The Coons Have Taken Over 29th Street Beach…’ appeared in journals. ‘Coon’ became more volatile than the word ‘Nigger,’ as it was home-sown and home-grown.”


Red Summer drops May 1st pre-order it on Bandcamp. Keep up with ONO on Facebook @onoband