THE FLAMES OF DISCONTENT...
'REVENGE OF THE ATOM SPIES' was recorded in the cold reality of upstate New York in January, 2007. Even with the peripheral knowledge of a new Congress in place, our immediate view was confronted by an endless, illegal war waged by an illegitimate president. The promise of the New Year—one without a Right-wing stranglehold of Washington—continues, yet both the butcher’s bill and the deficit continue to swell. Civil liberties, labor laws, women’s rights, environmental protections, and immigrants’ rights have been strip-mined. Suspicion of other continues, even as our loyalty is questioned. Today, we live in a frightening reflection of the infamous Red Scare periods in US history: the first one was in 1919, the second in the 1930s, and the third, which began in 1947, boiled over in the 50s, only seemed to fade by the 70s.
This compact disc is a collection of topical song and prose informed by past and current events. Cold War-style sounds and imagery speak in real time and in metaphor. Strains of folk, vintage pop, punk and world music suggest a Protest Song for today’s dangerous times…
…when listening to this album, please do so with eyes facing straight ahead as well as within range of your rear-view mirror.
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"John Pietaro, Laurie Towers and company have recreated the mood of the 1950s Witchhunt...and just in time for the newest waves of intended repression. While a large swath of liberal opinion, a half century or so ago, joined the Cold War crusade, eager to grab a share of the swag that would be handed out to cooperative intellectuals and artists, a larger number of dedicated artistic activists held to their positions and took the blows, determined not to give the McCarthyites the satisfaction of wiping out dissent entirely. Pietaro and Towers recall the fight-back that looked ahead to the revival of social movements during the 1960s. Likewise now, with musical verve and lively lyrics, the Flames of Discontent call us to the colors of the future...in hopes that they will be Red." -Paul Buhle, historian/author
"This is no time for complacency; this is time for the Flames of Discontent" - Greg Gattine, WDST Radio Woodstock
"Riffs sharp enough to cut the US deficit" - Whisperin & Hollerin (UK indie music site)
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A LIMITED RELEASE AND WILL NOT BE REISSUED ONCE SOLD OUT
The Flames of Discontent are John Pietaro (vocals, electric and acoustic 5-string banjo, drumkit, xylophone, percussion) and Laurie Towers (lead electric bass guitar).
With Rafael Figueroa-percussion/vocals
The Flames' repertoire combines daring reconstructions of classic protest music along with original topical songs, spoken word pieces and improvisation. Their sound fuses strains of rockabilly, jazz, punk and ‘60s pop to the folk/protest genre, producing a mix that is simultaneously edgy and familiar. With the September 2005 release of their first CD, I Dreamed I Heard Joe Hill Last Night…A Century of IWW Songs (credited to “John Pietaro & The Flames of Discontent”), the Flames have been regularly performing their brand of radical song throughout New York State’s Hudson Valley area and in New York City. The CD, described by Chronogram magazine as, “kick-ass music for the masses…noble and timely”, was recorded in honor of the Industrial Workers of the World’s centenary and produced in accordance with historian/author Paul Buhle. Pulse magazine described the Flames sound as “radicalism through song”.
In March of 2007, they released their second album, 'Revenge of the Atom Spies', a collection that metaphorically comments on contemporary struggles for social justice and civil liberties through the imagery and some of the sounds of the Cold War years. In contrast to the first disc, this one is largely comprised of originals but vintage songs are included as well, albeit treated to the Flames unique arrangements and irony. Liner notes were written by Buhle.
The Flames’ music has been heard WDST-FM "Radio Woodstock" (Woodstock NY) as well as WVKR-FM (Poughkeepsie NY), WBAI-FM (New York City), KAOS-FM (Olympia, Washington), Radio Labourstart (internet radio from London, UK), and Oscar Brand’s esteemed folk music program on WNYC (New York City), among many others. They performed for New York area IWW centenary celebrations and also for May Day, Labor Day, anti-war and social justice events including the West Point Peace Rally (2006, 2007), various fundraisers for progressive political campaigns and for the conventions of the Retail, Warehouse and Department Store Workers Union (2006 and 2009). The Flames also organize and host annual tribute concerts for Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie (Woodstock NY) as well as the Dissident Arts Festival, and were featured performers at The Woodstock Fringe Festival (July and September, 2006).
FOR MORE INFO ON THE FLAMES PLEASE SEE OUR WEBSITE www.DissidentArts.com
John Pietaro: When not engaged as the Flames front man, Pietaro is known as a xylophonist-percussionist performing on NYC's improvisation, experimental music and jazz circuits---most often combining his edgy music with Left politics. He has performed with Alan Ginsberg, Karl Berger, Pete Seeger, Fred Ho, Amina Baraka, and his quartet Radio NOIR and many others and his music has been heard at Labor rallies and other progressive events including The Million Worker March (2004, Washington DC) and The Solidarity Rally for TWU Local 100 (2002, NYC). He has also organized many concerts including those commemorating Hanns Eisler (1998, NYC), Woody Guthrie (2001, NYC) and May Day (multiple years, NYC, Beacon, Kingston NY) and is the producer of the annual Dissident Arts Festival. Pietaro's articles have appeared in“Z” Magazine, Political Affairs, the Nation, Portside, Fifth Estate, Groundscore, People’s Weekly World and others. He holds degrees in music and certification in Organizing. By day, Pietaro works as a union organizer.
Laurie Towers is the Flames’ lead instrumentalist. In addition to her extensive music career, she is an alternative health practitioner and independent businesswoman in addition to being a writer and artist. She is an active feminist and has been a guest speaker at programs for women in “safe houses” and other locations and has acted as a mentor for girls who have been deemed “at risk”. Her music is deeply influenced by jazz and rhythm-and-blues, particularly the bass playing of Carol Kaye, James Jamerson and Charlie Haden. In addition to the Flames, Towers is a member of the dissident swing quartet Radio NOIR.