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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Partisan Records

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After toiling in obscurity for nearly a decade, the Bristol, England, band Idles broke through in 2017—earning accolades for their big, heavy, ferocious sound (singer Joe Talbot has vehemently, repeatedly rejected the easy "punk" label) and lyrics railing against toxic masculinity, white privilege and over-reaching government. In 2020, with their third album, IDLES is not saying anything many people aren't already feeling, but there's something undeniably cathartic about saying it with such fury: Sometimes it's just enough to yell out "This means war! Anti-war!" while klaxon guitars wail on the song "War," or "Consent! Consent! Consent! Consent!" on "Ne Touche Pas Moi" ("don't touch me"). Tapping into the Western world's emotional disorder of the moment, "Anxiety" spits: "Our government hates the poor/ Cold leaders' cold class war/ Given drugs you can't afford/ So the poor can't buy the cure." That reliable old chestnut of a punching bag, the British royal family, makes plenty of appearances, including on the sonar-warp "Reigns." "I'm guessing it is hard for you to see, that that that that empathy will kick down your throne," Talbot heckles the Windsors on "Kill Them With Kindness," which opens with a pretty jewel-box tune before sliding sideways into appealingly funky, Jesus Lizard-esque guitar and a strutting beat. And here's the thing: While Talbot gets all the front-man attention, it's the musicians who really shock and awe. Guitarists Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen create a dialogue of needling Wire-esque riffs on the irresistible "Model Village" ("Model low crime rate in the village/ Model race, model hate, model village," Talbot rails against mindless patriotism). Drummer Jon Beavis and bassist Adam Devonshire tattoo relentless, and relentlessly catchy, rhythm on tracks like "Anxiety" and "Grounds" ("Not a single thing has ever been mended/ by you standing there and saying you're offended," Talbot jeers on that one, taking a swipe at the trend of virtue-signaling). "Mr. Motivator" rides a wave of racing guitar and gun-shot drums to underscore Talbot's battle cry: "Let's seize the day/ all hold hands/ chase the pricks away." Absurdly coupling toxic masculinity and feminist power, Talbot chants,"Like Conor McGregor with a samurai sword on rollerblades/ Like Vasyl Lomachenko after four pints of Gatorade/ Like Kathleen Hanna with bear claws grabbing Trump by the pussy … Like Frida Kahlo painting 'arm the poor' on your fuck-off wall." Then he follows it all up with a wink: "How do you like them clichés?" And when things take a wild left turn with "A Hymn"—haunted by spooky, hazy guitars and droning lyrics—it's like everything goes out of focus for a minute. The change in perspective is not just a breather, it's a peek into what more these hard-chargers can offer. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2018 | Partisan Records

It's back to school for Idles. Six months after chomping down the chunky Brutalism, our five Bristol dropouts, standard-bearers for a no-frills punk revival, have spat out Joy As An Act Of Resistance. And once again, Joe Talbot's crew has done a good job. References to the classics (Love Song, Television), England's ills – immigration on Danny Nedelko which brings to mind the social satire Danny Darko, Islamophobia on Great and masculinity on  Samaritans, Idles howl their disgust at a disgusting modern world. It's a (self-)portrait inspired by love, and it is itself modern. And above all, it's joy. There is no breathing space on the tragic Slow Savage ("Cause I’m the worst lover you’ll ever have") but plenty of "I fucking Love You"s. Even more striking still is the brilliant cover of Cry To Me by Solomon Burke, who is well worth his weight in gold. It's in the same vein as Brutalism, with big bass, broken-backed drums, overpowered vocals, guitars sidelined... This second work confirms Idles' raw genius, as well as a certain English disease which is also carried in the jaded yet fresh punk of Eagulls, Fat White Family, Insecure Men, Shame, Sleaford Mods and others. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 27, 2018 | Partisan Records

With Divide & Conquer - a possible echo to the third opus from the Sleaford Mods - Stendhal Syndrom or even Heel/Heal, you could say that Idles have a way with words. And with metaphors, too. Brutalism, the baptismal name of this newborn, refers to the concrete that covered Europe throughout the 30-year post-war boom. Joe Talbot is rather direct when it comes to scratching the surface. And on the ugly stuff, there’s a lot to scratch. His mother exhausted by work, an England under Brexit that's dirtier than a teenager’s skin, the corrupted bourgeoisie. Form meets substance, with the prominent rhythmic section and the guitars relegated to the background, and the thirteen tracks of the already mature opus also wreak havoc. On the brain, on the stomach. There’s also a whole fauna. Because on the European stages, the men from Bristol finally turn up. The five plebs blast a punk with no additives like Eagulls most of the time, and lyricise the tension sometimes. As evidenced by the slow laments on Slow Savage. It’s carnage in a state of grace. © CS/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 6, 2019 | Partisan Records

For a band with a reputation built on their electric performance and inclusion, a record documenting their live show is oddly counterintuitive. Their performance is whole-hearted and explosive, no doubt, but Talbot's aptitude at making everyone feel special can only truly be felt live. Beautiful Thing serves admirably as a brief glimpse of the band riding a career high, at a point where they've transitioned from industry favorites to fan favorites. The set moves from strength to strength, but honestly, this is to be expected, as they made very few missteps on their first two records. Although this doesn't paint a complete picture, the recording does capture the added layers of dissonance and Talbot's erratic on-stage persona, as he switches from a snarling, sardonic showman to a political advocate to a humble bastion of the people; he proclaims, "I'm a feminist" directly before "Mother," but perhaps it's his effort to speak in French at regular intervals that best sums up Idles' live appeal: they're always willing to take that extra distance. Their brand of catharsis is on full display at the Bataclan, a symbolic venue in many ways, and by extracting the negativity of the political landscape and channeling it back as love they provide a brief window into the healing nature of their music; in this case, they magnify it for an even wider audience, re-creating the sensation of being in the room, but nothing will top the crackling angst and sweat-soaked unity they so prominently facilitate. © Liam Martin /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2020 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 14, 2020 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2020 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 11, 2020 | Partisan Records

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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Balley Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 19, 2019 | Partisan Records

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Rock - Released August 4, 2012 | Balley Records

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Rock - Released May 7, 2019 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 16, 2019 | False Idols

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 5, 2018 | Partisan Records

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Rock - Released August 2, 2019 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 15, 2018 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 17, 2019 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 30, 2018 | Partisan Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 27, 2018 | Partisan Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 22, 2012 | Filter Label

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Idles in the magazine
  • IDLES : F The System!
    IDLES : F The System! After toiling in obscurity for nearly a decade, the Bristol, England, band Idles broke through in 2017—earning accolades for their big, heavy, ferocious sound and lyrics railing against toxic masc...