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Anti-Flag | 20/20 Vision

The Pennsylvania punks deliver the punk rock album you need to hear this year.


Anti-Flag is a political punk band, which is obvious from their name alone. But over the course of 12 albums across more than 25 years together, they’ve rarely set their sights on singular individuals in songs. Unlike their punk predecessors in the 80s, who made targets of Reagan and his cronies, Anti-Flag has always opted not to date their work with current references, instead focusing on fighting ongoing oppression and dismantling deeply rooted systems of injustice. But on their new album, 20/20 Vision, the band is drawing a big, fat line in the sand. “We have actively chosen to not attack Presidents directly, either with album art or songs about certain times in history, because we recognize that the issues we?re dealing with are cyclical,” says bassist Chris #2. “But this record in particular, we kind of said, well fuck that, we need to be on the record in opposition to the policies of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.” “This record is a warning to people holding neofascist ideas or people who are enabling these types of positions, whether you’re outright racist or you’re enabling racism or sexism or homophobia or transphobia,” adds guitarist Justin Sane. “You need to make a choice at this point. What we’ve seen with this White House is that there’s no grey area anymore.”


Yeah, yeah, I know: We’re not even three weeks into the stupid year and that album title already feels like (and basically already is) a tired, overworked cliche. (Hell, if I had the sense that heaven gave a halfwit, I woulda copyrighted the phrase “2020 Hindsight” by now — then I could just sit back, watch the calendar pages flap away like some cheap movie effect, and ship off the legally threatening invoices to every lamebrained media outlet come year’s end. Sigh. Ah well, that’s life. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Anyway, what the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah … ) But give these Pennsylvania punk stalwarts some credit for being pretty much first off the mark with the whole 2020 thing (they announced this album way back in October). And more importantly, give them props for taking a stand, drawing a line in the sand, manning the barricades and making the sort of punk album everybody needs to hear right gawddamned now. Inspired by everyone from The Clash to Green Day in their pre-private jet heyday, these pointed and potent anti-fascist screeds and rabble-rousing calls to action are as close as we’re likely to get to an American Idiot for the 21st century. And as good a soundtrack to the impending American Revolution 2.0 as any. See you at the end of the year. Maybe.