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Prayers for Atheists "NEW HYMNS FOR AN OLD WAR"
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Also, this upstanding Pawcatuck, CT youth got the PFA Heart of the Pit Award:
Photobucket

At 5"6 and 140lbs., young Adam displayed fierce joy and impeccable balance, as well as an unflappable camaraderie with fellow dancers; and the gushing head wound didn't slow him down a bit.

Salute!
Post Thu May 26, 2011 1:07 pm
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
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I'd just like to point out that the sheen of sweat on my face gives me sort of a terrifying clown appearance. I tried to look as ridiculous as I could while this picture was being taken; I almost succeeded!
Post Fri May 27, 2011 12:05 pm
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Z-0



Joined: 28 Sep 2004
Posts: 700
Location: Sydney
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bought the mp3 the other day. loving it, very impressive. and good to see you recommended pilgers doco on the artwork.
Post Fri May 27, 2011 12:39 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Z-0 wrote:
bought the mp3 the other day. loving it, very impressive. and good to see you recommended pilgers doco on the artwork.


We def wanna do a lot more with that in the future. Would love to have all packaging, artwork, lyric book, and website loaded with info and capable of doubling as a community action, anti capitalist, etc., resource.
Post Sun May 29, 2011 5:47 pm
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
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Mikal kHill wrote:
More than anything, I am impresseed by Alan's ability to do DRUMS when recording that way. With hiphop it's one thing, but having the starts and stops and shit you guys throw in, that seems like a nightmare to capture alone in the studio.


Thanks, man! After writing the songs, the recording process is my favorite part of the whole thing. Our engineer, Dan Sawyer, just acquired some new heavy-duty gear for his studio - stuff that will greatly improve the recording quality over what it is already. This next album is already shaping up to be something special!
Post Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:36 am
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
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http://national.thedelimagazine.com/5809/prayers-for-athiests-new-hymns-for-old-war


"Prayers For Atheists’ New Hymns For An Old War is a blazing hardcore record with all the ingredients of a classic—songs about the mosh pit, anthems about the bonds of friendship, shout-outs to their home town, and most importantly manifestos on changing the world. Most of the tracks are played at break-neck speed with mosh-ready breakdowns with vocals that split the difference between screaming and singing (while never degenerating into the cheap thrills of screamo). What sets PFA apart from standard hardcore fare is their relentless positivity and an almost hip-hop groove. I was inspired enough to invest $20 in the deluxe release, complete with CD, digital download, T-shirt, bumper sticker, and patch."

--George Dow
Post Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:38 am
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
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Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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http://www.hanginghex.blogspot.com/
"PRAYERS FOR ATHEISTS, “New Hymns For An Old War”
Here is a band that tours a lot, regularly plays to minimal crowds, survives (somehow) off of nothing, creates music that is not exactly the most popular thing going these days, and sings songs of political protest that often times is yelled at the most blank and apathetic text-messaging-while-standing-in-the-front-row entitled brats. And yet I have never seen a band with more positivity and genuine belief in what they do and what they stand for. It’s straight up awesome and inspirational. And it’s a good thing these songs on their full length are pretty damn good too because it makes me all the more psyched to write about it. For those not in the know, PFA started with national slam poet champ Jared Paul coming up with raspy and gravely verses expounding on social justice causes, environmentalism, and more set to the tune of rock music that mixed three-chord punk and some of the more rhythmic ideas of Rage Against the Machine and released on indie hip-hop label Strange Famous (Sage Francis, etc). Yes, most would call it rap rock, and that term is blasphemy to many. But the execution of the vocal delivery was so well-written, and the music incredibly catchy that any silly genre title just didn’t quite measure up. So that was the first EP. Now the band has self-released a full length, and has shifted gears (mostly) to really catchy anthemic punk songs. The lyrical prose is still just as strong as ever, but the band seems to have found it’s niche, whether it’s in the amazing face-ripping barn burner anthem “Guns Up”, or the could-have-been-a-Minor Threat B-side “Bouncers and Cops”, to the slower and more melodic “May 1st, 1886” there is a bit of variety on the record. Most of these songs have a very fun vibe, like “Keep Left” or the hometown rally cry of “Hope City Sky”, which I think is great. If you’re going to make serious music about serious subjects at least broach it with a sense of positivity and in such a way that is fresh. PFA have done an awesome job of both and this is why this is going to be one of my favorite things to listen to all year. (Prayers For Atheists)"
Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:57 pm
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
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This is probably the best write-up we've ever gotten. Some superlatively awesome stuff here!


http://www.www.socialistworker.org/2011/06/14/passion-is-a-weapon


Passion is a weapon

Alexander Billet reviews a standout album from punks Prayers for Atheists.

June 14, 2011


PASSION IS a fashion. So read the jacket of Joe Strummer from the Clash, back in punk's early days. It was a declaration that in a sea of apathy, giving a damn was a radical act.

It's an outlook often admired yet seldom duplicated in recent years, when many indie groups try so hard to be above it all. And even with groups like Rise Against and Strike Anywhere having come to relative prominence, punk's mainstream remains dominated by sophomoric poseurism. Few acts aspire to Strummer's mantra, and even fewer manage to pull it off in style.

The sands are shifting, though. Sooner or later in post-neoliberal America, most artists won't have a choice but to take a stand. Propagandhi, Against Me! and others like them have certainly paved the way, but really the future rests with acts like Prayers for Atheists. And that's a good thing.

Prayers for Atheists could quite easily rest on their laurels. Vocalist Jared Paul has been friends with underground hip-hop mainstay Sage Francis since middle school (it's Paul that Francis is speaking to on the phone during the intro of "Makeshift Patriot"). Certainly, PfA might stick out a bit on Francis' primarily hip-hop-oriented Strange Famous Records, but it wouldn't be difficult for them to ride out a decent existence content being in the shadow of their contemporary. Instead, with a solid profile developed with Francis' help, they've struck out on their own for their second album New Hymns for an Old War.

All the earmarks of a damn good hardcore punk album are there: the tense drumbeats, the dissonant vibrato guitars, the screaming gang vocals. But with such an epic title, it's easy to ask what this "old war" is (even easier still with the operations in Afghanistan now the longest war in U.S. history). The answer is more thoroughly provided just by looking at the song titles: "Bouncers and Cops," "Keep Left," "U.S. Out of the Amazon."

Guitarist Alan Hague and vocalist Paul are the primary songwriting team for PfA, and both have a long history of radical organizing in their native Providence, R.I., and beyond. Back in 2008, Paul was among the 800 protesters arrested by overzealous cops at the Republican Convention in Minnesota. "Hope City Skyline," off New Hymns, name-drops a litany of social justice groups: "Jobs With Justice, Youth In Action, End the Siege, SDS...ISO, Food Not Bombs, 2:1, Marriage Rights, WIL, IWW, What Cheer? Mobilize..."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

TAKEN AS a whole, this is an album of good, solid, politically charged punk rock. What is it, then, that separates this from all the other countless albums fitting that description over the past 30-plus years?

In a word, timing--specifically, the return not only of class to the American landscape, but class war. For the past three decades, the punk scene has put itself in opposition when few others would. Amid historic declines in strikes and union power, fightback was certainly a necessary thing, just not a workers' thing.

Not anymore, and certainly not for Prayers for Atheists. The events of the past year have been enough to turn plenty of cynics into believers. In the public mind, "workers" are no longer just a collection of beer-bellied, white men with NRA cards. They're the kids who rushed the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Jimmy John's delivery bikers trying to unionize, the dockers in the Bay Area who refused to unload Israeli goods.

It's here, at the present intersection between a hidden militant past and potentially radical future, that PfA's passion comes in. Lead single "Guns Up" centers the whole album. Clocking in just under three minutes, veering between fast-paced mania and unrelenting stutter-step, its lyrics pull on imagery of foreclosed farms and homes, while linking it back to a very real history of struggle--in particular, the "Bloody Harlan" miners strikes of the 1970s:

'Drivers headed for the docks
Caught between the road and clock
Miners up against the boss
Black lungs pumping in the dark...

Like villagers against the tanks
From Gaza City to West Bank
Can't always bleed, one day we'll win
New hymns for an old war, sing!'


"Have heart, friends," they tell us in the chorus, and there's no doubt that there's a lot of that on New Hymns For an Old War. Listening here, one would think that despair is for poseurs, and that's a rather refreshing concept. Even with defeat so palpable amid so much volatility, it's also hard to not feel a real sense of hope and belief. At its core, even at its most sneering, it's something that punk always seemed to paw at. Over the past 30 years, it's seemed little more than a spark, however.

But the music of New Hymns also seems to know that there are plenty of other times when that's been the case. "May 1st, 1886," one of the final songs off the album, is an homage to the early days of American class struggle wrapped in a kind of rattle-and-rolling testimonial. In fact, so well are the lyrics woven with the song that it was only after several listens that I realized they actually are a testimonial; specifically, that of Haymarket martyr August Spies:

'The time will come when our silence
Is stronger than the voices you strangle today
The cause of my alleged crime
It is your history!'


Truer words couldn't be spoken by any of today's "criminals." And it's worth remembering how many of these crimes have been leveled against some of the best artistic rebels. Seems that passion is, oftentimes, illegal. If that's true then it can only be seen as a weapon--one that's well-wielded here.

There's something profound about making such a successful hardcore album that consciously reaches back over 125 years. If it all resonates so well--and it obviously does--then it must mean there's something indelible in its content.

Perhaps it shows that punk rock, having been twisted around and declared dead so many times over the decades, may actually have its best years ahead. Or maybe it shows that its very seed--rebellion, distrust of authority and a profound intolerance for hypocrisy--are actually sown much deeper in our cultural soil. History may go in circles, but that doesn't mean it can't also be smashed to smithereens.
Post Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:30 am
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Nick Bianco



Joined: 04 Sep 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Sacramento, CA
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^awesome!

I sent my copy of New Hymns to Sacramento News & Review. I expect another copy upon your arrival in Sacramento. ;)
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:03 pm
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sarah q



Joined: 02 Dec 2009
Posts: 175
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Looking forward to the kick off show Thursday night!!!!!
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:12 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Nick Bianco wrote:
^awesome!

I sent my copy of New Hymns to Sacramento News & Review. I expect another copy upon your arrival in Sacramento. ;)


That's my kind of religion, Nick Bianco. xoxoxo
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:37 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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http://www.viceland.com/int/v18n6/htdocs/records.php

"Prayers for Atheists is punk-rap for the Dead Prez set. What sets PFA apart from most rock-rap acts is that MC Jared Paul has some real flow mastery. Meantime, his bandmates play more than just the standard chugga-chug bullshit you might expect from this sort of genre fusion. Comparisons to Rage Against the Machine are obvious, boring, and missing the point entirely.

-ALEX DUNBAR"

A positive review in Vice. Holy fucking shit.
Post Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:59 pm
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FranktheP



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 1367
Location: East Coast, Fuck You!
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I caught the show in Philly the other night--my ears are still ringing and that is not an exaggeration. Sorry I did not talk to you guys-I didn't see you Jared without a bunch of people around you and I didn't know the others. But I thought you guys were terrific. I hope that is the last time you guys play in such a small place to such a small crowd in Philly. I liked the set list and the energy (though the crowd gave you nothing to feed off of). I wish you guys nothing but luck over the next month and a half. Be safe.
Post Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:56 am
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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FranktheP wrote:
I caught the show in Philly the other night--my ears are still ringing and that is not an exaggeration. Sorry I did not talk to you guys-I didn't see you Jared without a bunch of people around you and I didn't know the others. But I thought you guys were terrific. I hope that is the last time you guys play in such a small place to such a small crowd in Philly. I liked the set list and the energy (though the crowd gave you nothing to feed off of). I wish you guys nothing but luck over the next month and a half. Be safe.


That crowd was fine! hahahahah

You should see it when it's REALLY small.


( :
Post Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:34 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Also: thanks usin much for coming! That was our first show ever in Philly and we had no idea what tiexpect. It really means a lot that you came!

Mean?! Are you still in OH? We're playing Euclid Tavern tonight! And Bourbon Street on Wed!!
Post Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:24 pm
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