Synthesizing anti-fascist lyrics, medieval folk-punk act Blackbird Raum’s aggression, and conscious rap, The November Criminals’ pastiche offers a distinct musical style. Formed in 2011 when core members and emcees Brümeister, Spade One and NTSC met at open mic events in Milwaukee, the group released their self-titled debut in 2015. Last year found The November Criminals releasing the full-length LP The Great War, entering NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, and speaking with WORT’s Helena White about their origins.
While the group initially seems like a bad punchline, The November Criminals’ sheer authenticity easily turns eye-rolling skeptics into believers eager to raise a beer for peace. If one sets aside prejudices regarding “high” and “low” art, this band is certain to delight. Not lacking for material in recent years, The November Criminals’ lyrical themes call for solidarity among working-class persons regardless of gender, sexuality, religious affiliation, or ethnicity.
In this way, the group’s seemingly kitschy genre-blending proves all-too-necessary. Insofar as form follows function, The November Criminals’ blend of Public Enemy-esque flow, crust punk ethos, and polka frivolity should encourage unlikely companions to lock arms in defiant celebration Sunday afternoon.
Listeners may stream The Great War and watch “Vulgar Boatmen 2” below: