The Tuts' excellent Update Your Brain is imperative listening for 2016.
The Tuts are making crucial music for the times we live in. Based in the U.K., they're a trio of passionate people who use their artistic platform to rail against sexism and inequality. The pop-punk feminists Nadia Javed, Harried Doveton, and Beverly Ishmael released their official first full-length Update Your Brain on Dovetown Records this past fall. While it may often seem like the outlook of the world is extremely grim, it helps to see a group of diverse (Caribbean, English, and Indian/Pakistani) musicians making a statement with their art, and many people agree; it took the band only five days to hit their album fundraising goal. The debut album features re-recorded and updated versions of some of The Tuts’ first tunes, as well as brand new material. On top of that, they’ve toured with and collaborated with Kate Nash and played major festival Glastonbury, impressively all DIY-or-die.
Update Your Brain opens with “Let Go of the Past,” with lyrics like “I still can’t let go of the past / It’s ruining my present and holding up my future,” that are enough to urge you to delete all evidence of past lovers and move way, way on with your life. The video, released this summer, is a trip through a vintage teen magazine complete with cut-out paper dolls, horoscopes and makeup tutorials. “Tut Tut Tut” is a powerful take-it-or-leave-it stance to men in bands who might feel threatened by women on the stage instead of in front of it. With “Dump Your Boyfriend” and “Give Us Something Worth Voting For,” The Tuts prove that their songs are an imperative listen for this day and age. Everyone should break off of anything holding them back and demand more from the world - it’s 2016 and we all deserve better. The A-side closes with “1982,” a fantastic track that while upbeat, bitingly explains to a former manager who did them wrong that “it’s not my job to protect your ego” and daring him to try to respond. It’s got all the lines young people, especially women, hear in the music industry: “I’m respected, well connected. I know everyone.”
“I Call You Up” kicks off the second half of the album, a track about confronting someone avoiding you and calling out anyone who's ghosting. Don’t become a “dark no show...giving up too soon!” There's a deep rage channeled into their songs, with battle cry lyrics about the political, the personal, and the professional. It's highly relatable for any marginalized person out there, just trying to survive through the day to day. “Sway” encourages you to learn to stand tall on your own and be okay with yourself, a critical step for contentedness, if not true happiness. “What’s On The Radio?” takes on a passionate critique of the homogenized entertainment industry. It indicates that top 40 radio sounds so similar because it's the same old men writing all the hits performed by the most manicured and stylized stars. “I don’t like it / I want to fight it” is the conclusion The Tuts come to, taking on anyone trying to keep them down. Asking themselves who they write for and who they’re trying to impress, The Tuts decide to “cut the cord” with mediocrity. And on this record, they’re anything but mediocre.
Listen to The Tuts on bandcamp.
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Kat Harding is a music publicist living in Nashville, TN, with her loud kitty cat Goose. She often cries when excited at shows and can be found on twitter at @iwearaviators.