PREMIERE: Hear Ekko Astral’s New Song “Holocaust Remembrance Day”

Fresh off their urgent and fearless debut LP pink balloons, and in the midst of a summer tour supporting IDLES, the D.C. punks are releasing the Bandcamp-exclusive standalone single to raise money for Palestinian evacuation funds.

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PREMIERE: Hear Ekko Astral’s New Song “Holocaust Remembrance Day”

Fresh off their urgent and fearless debut LP pink balloons, and in the midst of a summer tour supporting IDLES, D.C. punks Ekko Astral are releasing the Bandcamp-exclusive standalone single “Holocaust Remembrance Day” to raise money for Palestinian evacuation funds. For this track, the group have slowed down their signature, bellowing thrash into a searing country ballad that’s built around three moments of personal and political reckoning as an American Jew, experienced and reflected upon by frontwoman Jael Holzman:

“The first verse is about a time I was asked by a police officer in the U.S. Capitol building if I was a Muslim because of my tichel. The third verse is about when Liam and I produced a podcast for our university’s Hillel about how Jewish students felt about Israel but were censored and disallowed from having any critical voices. And the cover is the site of a 1994 massacre of Palestinians during Ramadan at a holy site to both Jews and Muslims, the Cave of the Patriarchs. I visited this site during a month-long trip to Israel in high school with a Jewish youth group. That trip also included military humvees, attempts at recruiting me and my fellow high school-aged Jews to the IDF, and lectures about how the Dome of the Rock was a reason to hold hate in our hearts for Arab Muslim people.”

The scorchingly personal verses act as scaffolding for a chorus that calls for solidarity beyond borders, and expresses Holzman’s longing for a sense of Jewish community that doesn’t use the very real threat of antisemitism as fodder for fear-mongering, bigotry and genocidal violence. She contends with her own Jewish upbringing, the lessons she’s chosen to take from it—namely, the importance of critical thinking and questioning the status quo—and what to leave behind.

“Holocaust Remembrance Day” speaks to the difficult reckoning that many young, progressive Jews are currently experiencing as our voices (not to mention the voices of our Muslim and Palestinian comrades) are overshadowed by Zionist propaganda that insists upon treating Jewish perspectives as a monolith. The conclusion this track comes to is that liberation cannot come from colonization, and that none of us can truly be safe or free until all of us are.

Holzman’s background as a climate journalist in Washington D.C. has always informed her music, and on “Holocaust Remembrance Day” she calls out the hypocrisy of mainstream news outlets who’ve spread misinformation, downplayed the IDF’s violence and refused to report on the murders of Palestinian journalists. Much like they were on pink balloons, Ekko Astral are tapped into the injustices of the many worlds they inhabit, and that’s what drives them to make music that not only dares to imagine a better future, but understands the need to will such a future into existence—because failure of such imagination is a failure for all marginalized and oppressed peoples.

All proceeds from “Holocaust Remembrance Day” will be distributed to GoFundMe campaigns for Palestinian families seeking asylum from military violence. Listen to the song below.

Read our recent Best of What’s Next profile on Ekko Astral here.

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