Milla Belanich


proper. turn in an anthem of the times on the ferocious “red, white, & blue”

November 23, 2021

“Slap me as you hard as you want
Aren’t I supposed to offer the other cheek?”


Proper. vocalist Erik Garlington has a rare gift for translating the emotional impact of systemic forces into massive punk rock anthems. The band’s latest “Red, White, & Blue” examines their relationship to America through the lens of an abusive relationship, turning in a heart-wrenchingly brutal track worthy of a James Baldwin epigram. The song feels claustrophobic and propulsive, capturing the sense of dread and powerlessness that so many of us feel right now. Of course it’s not all analysis. With none other than Bartees Strange behind the mixing desk, the band turns in one of their tightest performances to date layering hook-filled vocals on top of angular riffs and jagged rhythms. Recently signed to Father/Daughter Records, the new single is a harbinger of what’s to come from Proper.


Explaining the track, Garlington says “A lot of millennials in my life share the sentiment that being American feels like being in an abusive relationship that you can’t find the courage to leave. Uncle Sam is this charming older man that you find yourself drawn to and only realize way too late into the game what you’re really dealing with. I knew I wanted to focus on looking at what makes this country what it is, and how hopeless I feel to stop it.”



Follow Proper. on Instagram @likerealproper for more, including upcoming UK and US tour dates.