Pussy Riot - "Putin Lights Up the Fires"

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Pussy Riot

The new single from the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot comes with a little very important backstory  – yesterday, three of the collective’s members, MariaAlyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” (a charge which apparently actually exists) in a Moscow court, and sentenced to two years in jail. Their offense? Staging a “punk prayer,” a performance of their song “Our Lady, Chase Putin Out,” in a Russian Orthodox church, clad in their trademark neon dresses, tights, and balaclavas. Under Russia’s draconian anti-protest, anti-dissent laws (laws which also had many Pussy Riot supporters who showed up at the courthouse to protest the ruling detained), Pussy Riot’s music and performances are illegal. Imagine if the same was true with protest music in the U.S., especially the spirited anti-Reagan punk of the ‘80s – things would definitely be different. There are plenty of ways to show solidarity with the jailed women: protests were staged in many major cities, and you can give money or sign petitions. The best way to help, though, is by sharing the story and the band’s music with your friends to spread the word about what’s going on. Their new single, “Putin Lights Up the Fires,” is a truly awesome, brutal riot grrrl-revivalist cut; check it out.