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August 29th, 2012 12:01 am CASEY JARMAN | Music Stories

Primer: Refused

music_refused_3843REFUSED - IMAGE: Dennis Blomberg
Tags: Refused
Formed: In 1991 in Umeå, Sweden. 

Sounds like: Oceanic riffage thrown in a blender with free jazz and lots of bad Marxist poetry. 

For fans of: Born Against, the Make-Up, the Blood Brothers, Snapcase, Charles Mingus, Mikhail Bakunin, Howard Zinn.

Latest release: The Shape of Punk to Come, the band’s genre-fucking and heavily studio-manipulated swan song, was also its masterpiece. 

Why you care: Probably not for the reasons Refused always wanted you to care. The band’s stated agenda—written via lengthy liner-note dissertations more bratty than substantial, and a 1998 breakup “communiquè” that included the line “WE THEREFORE DEMAND THAT EVERY NEWSPAPER BURN ALL THEIR PHOTOS OF REFUSED”—was to “overthrow the class system, burn museums and to strangle the great lie that we call culture.” The real reason you care, though, probably has more to do with the band’s incredible final record, its oft-mythicized live show (mic tricks galore!) and the pure unlikeliness of this reunion ever happening. The band’s more recent transmissions have been humble and largely apolitical (“we should have been forgotten by now, but [we were] not, and why that is is near impossible to figure out”), which is sure to confound longtime fans still trying to decipher whether this purported last hurrah—a tour of late-night TV shows, heavily sponsored festivals and mid-sized venues with prohibitively expensive ticket costs—is an abandonment of the group’s revolutionary ideals or an admission that the Refused Party Program was always meant as theater. Either way, the boys are taking their live shows deathly seriously, and they just won’t be able to rock this hard in another 14 years.

SEE IT: The Refused play the Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, with Sleigh Bells. 7:30 pm. $39. All ages.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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