Hard Left, “Future Perfect”

Liz Pelly

Along with their new record, We Are Hard Left, the Oakland hardcore 4-piece is currently selling patches depicting a fist in the air, reading “ALL POWER TO THE IMAGINATION” as well as buttons reading “We’re All Hard Left.” Those items plainly spell out the band’s explicit politics and unapologetic idealism, the driving forces behind their songs inspired by Situationism and Marxism. Really, the band name says it all: Hard Left are both very hard and very left.

“Don’t run, ’til the victory’s won / what you want done / we gotta make it happen,” they sing on “Red Flag”. It’s a song they’ve inspired by Occupy, but the sentiment could just as easily be interpreted as a reflection on decades spent in DIY and punk. Hard Left includes members of Lunchbox, Boyracer and Black Tambourine, but here they mostly take influence from 70s street-punk and growling hardcore. “Read up comrades, analyze the past / future perfect is coming fast,” they sing on “Hand in Hand”. The record is full of fittingly self-aware musings on anti-capitalism, group-chanted messages of collective social change.

“Future Perfect” is their newest single, and also the name of the band’s own label started in 2014. With unrelenting drive, the track “imagines a world where the people were the true beneficiaries of the surplus created by progress, the perfect future we were all promised during the golden age of capitalism,” says the band. If that’s the kind of sentiment driving not just this song but their records in general, then they are indeed a group whose politics-first ideology the music world could use more of. 

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