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Music | Irish Punk Rockers Take on Iran


26 Oct 2012 18:36Comments

[ spotlight ] The Dublin-based Hassle Merchants' new music video, "Let's Start a War," is for those ready for some hardcore politics in their rock.

In just under three minutes, the video offers a biting examination of the interplay between the United States, oil corporations, and Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Iraq. Arresting text-graphics interspersed with graphic documentary footage challenge prevailing views in the West about the U.S-Iranian relationship and the corporate interests that guide American foreign policy decisions.

Musically, "Let's Start a War" is as aggressive as its video.

Rough-hewn guitar riffs flood a track built upon super-tight drum rolls and never-ending bass. Screeches of frustration rip through the noise with lyrical blows that drive home the ironies of U.S. foreign policy and its media narrative: "Travel miles into their land/Then they attack/We defend."

Hassle Merchants made headlines in Ireland last year when their song "Run Rabbit Run" was chosen as the theme music to a web series, "Punk Economics," created by lauded Irish economist David McWilliams. The best-selling author, who predicted the global economic collapse as early as 2003, launched "Punk Economics" in late 2011; to date its episodes have cumulatively received more than 800,000 views on YouTube.

The band headlined Ireland's largest independent music festival, Knockanstockan last year. "Dublin's Hassle Merchants are one of Ireland's most thrilling live acts," wrote Brian Marconi of the Irish Mail on Sunday.

The group will embark on a North American tour in March 2013 that includes dates at famed indie rock haunts Arlene's Grocery in New York City and the Middle East club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

You can find out when and where Hassle Merchants will be performing "Let's Start a War" and other tracks from their new EP A Hard Pill to Swallow on Facebook or ReverbNation, and download their songs on the Hassle Merchants iTunes page.

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