Socialist Worker

Algiers—playing the sound of 21st century revolution

New band Algiers from the US deep south are about to tour Europe. Bassist Ryan Mahan spoke to Kevin McCaighy about their music and their politics

Issue No. 2466



Algiers is one of the most exciting acts to have come out this year.

Their fierce and passionate debut album was released in June. 

It brings together a series of powerful and political songs that can’t be pinned down to one genre. 

They describe it as combining, “the rapturous call and response of 

millenarian gospel, the bellowing urgency of 60s protest soul, the scene-searching intensity of DC 

hardcore and the smeared viscosity of post-punk and no wave”. 

Their music reflects a popular hatred of mainstream politics.  

 Bassist Ryan Mahan told Socialist Worker, “We reject the hollow and hypocritical practice of neoliberalism and parliamentary democracy. 

“At the same time we assert politics and collective struggle. 

“That’s the only response to this dreary reality of neoconservative Francis Fukuyama’s claim that we’ve reached ‘the end of history’.”

Algiers’ music manages to get the politics across without sounding worthy.


Ryan explained, “We’re constantly facing the challenge to show this confrontation with the capitalist world.

“Yet we don’t want to just resort to rhetoric or empty sloganeering.” 

The band’s impressive musical range and politics runs throughout their album. 

Blood is a searing track about the horrors of slavery and racism. 

Meanwhile, hip hop song Irony, Utility, Pretext captures the mood of resistance and rebellion.

Algiers places the fight against racism at the core of their music. Ryan explained, “We’re focused on struggle, memory and the struggle over memory.”

“Algiers as a name is particularly deliberate,” Ryan said. It alludes to the struggle against colonialism in north Africa. 

The band members now all live on different continents and only come together to play.

“But the experience of playing live has definitely brought us closer together,” said Ryan. “It’s helped consolidate our ideas for the future. 

“We also hope that our music serves as an intervention into the culture debate.” 

Tuesday 18 August, The Waiting Room, 175 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH
Wednesday 19 August, Scala, 
275 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9NL with Viet Cong ( 
For full list of European tour dates and album details go to

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Article information

Tue 11 Aug 2015, 18:00 BST
Issue No. 2466
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