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Indie artists unite against racism on 90-track album

Sarah Barthel and Phantogram are among the indie music artists are joining in the chorus of voices decrying police brutality on the black community.

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By JIM HARRINGTON | The Mercury News | Published: June 5, 2020

Indie music artists are joining in the chorus of voices decrying police brutality on the black community.

Phantogram, Jesse Malin, Jay Watts, Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, Bartees Strange, Lonemoon, Rogue Wave, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Crashing Hotels, Nick Andre, Worriers, Sulene, Superchunk and Damon & Naomi are among the acts who have contributed to “Talk - Action = Zero,” a compilation album of previously unreleased music, demos, live recordings and other material now available on bandcamp.com.

Organizers said the album features some 90 songs from more than 90 artists, most of whom work with Bank Robber Music and Rough Trade Publishing, the two organizations that curated the project. It was “created in reaction to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other acts of violence against Black people that happen every day due to systemic racism, white supremacy and police brutality,” according to a news release.

“We as a small company have always been committed to our artist community, but it would be a disservice to not recognize that the music we love and the roster of artists we represent are influenced by Black culture,” says Emily Roman of Bank Robber Music. “The artist and the Black community are in the midst of changing times. We wanted to use our platform to amplify the two communities that allow us to do what we love every day in this industry.

“We are extremely grateful for all the artists we work with who quickly mobilized to be a part of this benefit compilation; We are here for our artists, and we stand with Black Lives Matter. This is the time to dive in, dig deep and take action.”

Buyers are asked to pay what they can for the album; there is a suggested price of $20.20. The release benefits Black Visions Collective, a “Black-run organization based in Minnesota that aims to develop Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership, heal the Black community through justice, support the local LGBTQA community, organize powerful, strategic campaigns and build movements from the ground up,” according to the news release.

The whole project took less than a week to come together, “based on the eagerness of so many artists to contribute to take action by making a unified statement against white supremacy, racism and police brutality while actively raising funds for a pro-Black organization,” according to a news release.

According to Rolling Stone, Bandcamp is waiving all fees for the content, which was released on its site June 5, meaning that all proceeds go to artists and designated charities.

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