Thursday, June 25, 2020

Liberty & Justice's All-around Breakdown for Bandcamp-only Restoring Justice Tracks & "jason andrew relva" Music Video Premiere (Green Day)

Liberty & Justice are a Houston, Texas-based Punk, Hardcore Skinhead & Oi! group. Their current line-up consists of frontman Ryan "Crowns" Taylor, bassist Edwin Carson, drummer Cory "Gaza" Parker, and guitarists Halston Luna & Ramzi Beshara. Since forming in 2016, Liberty & Justice have released a full-length, 4 All (2019) on Crowd Control media, as well as numerous singles, EP's, and splits. Prior to The COVID-19 Pandemic and Nation-wide shutdowns, Liberty & Justice had, apparently, been working on their follow-up to 4 All. However, it was quickly brought to a screeching halt a few months ago, along with many of Liberty & Justice's members' own small businesses. Back at the end of March, Liberty & Justice quietly released their own impassioned Punk/Oi! rendition of Robyn's 2020 Dance-Pop/Disco smash-hit, "Dancing On My Own." It was accompanied by a remotely-recorded and socially-distant music video recorded, edited, mixed, and released by Liberty & Justice themselves from their own homes and practice spaces amidst quarantine. Over the course of the past month or so, Liberty & Justice have effectively re-released "dancing on my own" on Bandcamp, along with a few additional loosies.

In total, as of this article's publishing, Liberty & Justice have released five brand new songs on their Bandcamp page just this month, including the aforementioned Robyn cover and a damn near spot-on cover of Green Day's "J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva.)" We've been speaking with Liberty & Justice frontman Ryan Taylor on-and-off since the release of "Dancing On My Own" and we've been quietly paying attention to and absorbing their recent practice space recordings/demo tracks. We reached out to the band, via email, last week and Ryan Taylor, Ramzi Beshara & Halston Luna, who provided track-by-track breakdowns for each of these five tracks. Liberty & Justice's "dancing on my own," "jason andrew relva," "no more orbits," "second ward serenade," and "halfway home" are currently available to purchase exclusively on Bandcamp page. Liberty & Justice have vowed to donate 100% of the sales raised to Houston-based organization Restoring Justice. Below, you will, also, find the world premiere of Liberty & Justice's "jason andrew relva" music video compiled and arranged by Joey Molina from Ryan Taylor's other band, Trash Magz.

i. "dancing on my own"

Ryan Taylor: "Robyn's one of my favorite singers going right now. On our new full-length, we're, actually, covering "Hang with Me," have been doing it live for a bit now. Halston had the idea of us covering "Dancing On My Own" at the beginning of Houston shutting down to promote social distancing and it all kind of came together pretty quick after that."

ii. "jason andrew relva" (J.A.R.)

Ryan Taylor: "Remember being a fat kid in La Porte and renting Angus from Video Hut every week? Studying it, gaining some semblance of hope from it, before the drugs got really bad. Remember starting another Oi! band in your thirties and thinking it would be hilarious to p*ss off/agitate anyone who would be into said band/sub-culture by covering a Green Day song like a tired Punk Goes Pop Clearance Bin band, because nostalgia, and because Jacob Majors? Still my favorite Green Day track, one of my top Punk songs of all time, from one of my top movie soundtracks of all time, from one of my top movies of all time; cheers to the weird!"

iii. "no more obits"

Ryan Taylor: "'no more obits" is about denial. Or, maybe, it's a protest song. Or, maybe, it's about coming to terms. For sure, it's about my brother, it's not the first, but it may be the last. Certainly, seemed easier, at times, when we were both in it."

Ramzi Beshara: "Edwin [Carson] came in with this song on bass and me and Halston [Luna] filled it in with guitars. Love the contrast of the verse and chorus on this one. Halston had this idea on the chorus for Cory [Parker] to do a 1/8 note roll on the tom the entire time. It's a unique thing to do in a Liberty & Justice song and really helps it stand apart from the others."

"It's a red alert
Got it years ago
Call on my brother
Not them other fools
What I didn't say
What I didn't do
What I should have done
I'd f**kin' die for you
Truth of the matter
They f**in' think you're dead
Look in your eyes
All I see is red
What do I tell my sons
About [their] uncle now
Dropped out in them poppy fields, he's never coming out
Take me back to the summertime and the leaves of green
Back when we were both on dust and thick as thieves
We would take 'em out
And grin cheek to cheek
The warm bath of the summertime
Kept us close and clean
Now the creep called winter took my brother from me
Got clean and left him behind
Mr. Misery won't take no talk, no touch from me
Lord, bring my brother back sans misery
This ain't the first
Or third or fifth from me
Words on my brother
Looked up to indelibly
What I didn't do
What I didn't say
Truth of the matter
They f**kin' think you're dead
Look in your eyes
And all I see is red
What do I tell my sons
About their uncle now
Dropped out in them poppy fields
He's never coming out"

iv. "second ward serenade"

Ryan Taylor: "Once you think you got it licked is when it hits back even harder than before. "They were all my friends and they died," Jim Carroll. Rest in peace, T.J. Key."

Ramzi Beshara: "This one's fun. A real punch-and-go song. Halston came to rehearsal with this one pretty much completely finished. The only thing we changed was the bridge. We wanted the bridge to kind of change up the feel by bringing in some darker sounding notes. Turned out really cool, in my opinion. And Ryan [Taylor's] vocals really brought it together, the bridge and the whole song, in general."

"Phone call in the middle of a firefight
Harrisburg Hill on Tuesday morn or was it night?
Hangin' hydraulic swingin' left to right—miss me misery don't make it right
* That ain't me—head above, feet in front, God and family
F**k! Goddammit, there goes me—swivel shut, can't catch up, head enemy
Key got caught on nod one too many times
Said he'd see the rooms before he'd see that side
Hard to pass when the world wants to see you high
Culture killed a man, bastardized a boy
* That ain't me—head above, feet in front, God and family
F**k! Goddammit, there goes me—swivel shut, can't catch up, head enemy
They call it a serenade, I call it a pain parade (x 2)
Pray for me
Can't keep up
Brain beat up
Mother mercy"

v. "halfway home"

Ryan Taylor: "Never in my life have I felt more justified in my desire to dig a hole to the center of The Earth for me and my wife and kids to toil and live out the rest of our lives. That's what the lyrics to "halfway home" are about. In the wake of systemic oppression, police brutality, and generations-deep racism I watch my sub-culture look down on the marked few of us for simply protesting. In the wake of a global health crisis crushing the American Dream, I'm watching me and my fellow small business owners get slapped in the face by said parts of sub-culture for simply asking to show up and wear a f**king mask, so we can keep our doors open, while folks around us in our community are getting very sick. I, no doubt, want to exit, but I keep participating, I keep listening, learning, showing up because we have to. These lyrics are just my pity party; real Skinhead sh*t is happening right now and you'd rather get drunk in your record room and sing songs to yourself about rioting and argue with folks half your age online?"

Ramzi Beshara: "'halfway home" is one of those songs that wrote itself. Halston came up with a couple chord combinations on-the-spot and the song came together in one rehearsal. It's one of my favorites that's going to be on the new record. I'm big into melodic feels and this one does it for me."

Halston Luna: "Yo, "halfway home" is in AA'BC form and is bookended by an ominous and dark, Western-style melody upon introduction and at the end. The A part begins on the VI creating a dark palette for the melody/hook. There is a colorful moment at the end of the A and A' part created by a dominant III chord in A Major. The B part starts on the I (A Major) and continues a I/V/IV/III7 progression. Although, we play an extended version on the full-length, we go straight into the C section, which is a throwback to the intro/hook to Blitz's classic track, "New Age" (at least, that's where the [inspiration] was drawn.) To round it out. we re-introduce the melody/hook to remind you that you don't feel good. And we finish with the A' section."

"Why am I still angry?
So torn in two
So f**kin' over every one of you
The bleeding backs
The whining tribes
So dead inside
Why aren't I more calloused?
Still more morose
I used to care less
Then fathered hope
Two brave hearts
My f**kin' queen
Could be so serene
Why do I feel alone?
Feels like I'm halfway home
Walls slowly coming down on me
An old man singin'
(la la la la...)
Just wanna be free
Closer to my family and me
Who, who am I?
Just a f**kin' shell
Just a f**kin' lie
Ghost of a man
When it comes to work
Still run and hide
Who, who are we?
Just an endless feed
Of hey look at me
Shock and sympathy
A grand giving tree
We pull from every branch
'til it's twigs and leaves
I just wanna be free
Closer to my family and me
Away from society
(la la la la...)
We're halfway home"

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