Safe to say Bernie Sanders now has a better chance of becoming Vampire Weekend’s new frontman than he does of becoming president, but we’re all for everyone’s favorite muppet staying in the race if it means new music from Thurston Moore. Joyful Noise Recordings, the Indianapolis-based label that has released limited editions by the Melvins and Dinosaur, Jr., is now giving away limited edition plexidiscs of the Sonic Youth frontman’s new single, “Feel It In Your Guts,” to those who contribute to Bernie’s campaign. The cover art is by Dave Kloc, one of the artists who participated in that roving art show where real-life Bernie met his muppet counterpart.
In a message about the collaboration, label founder Karl Hofstetter says he was inspired by “the only presidential candidate who refuses bribes from big business.” It would seem Thurston, one of many indie musicians who has endorsed Sanders, is also still feeling the Bern, because in “a matter of minutes,” the London transplant “excitedly agreed” to lend his talents, Hofstetter writes. With Mr. “Youth Against Fascism” on board, the label reached out to the Sanders campaign and “heard that Bernie himself was into the idea.” Et voilà.
To hear the new song, I coughed up $5 via Bernie’s website, uploaded a screenshot of my receipt to this page, and downloaded an MP3 (you can donate as much or as little as you’d like, but the label warns that it reserves the right to cancel your order if it feels like you’re “being an opportunistic dick”). The track starts with a recording of Bernie proclaiming that “you have to feel it in your guts” (hence the title), and continues with more pull quotes from his September speech at, um, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Meanwhile, Thurston backs the raspy proclamations and Pope quotes with some mellow 12-string guitar arpeggios and strumming around a theme, reminiscent of one of the chiller tracks off of Trees Around the Academy. As Bernie complains about people with “wealth beyond comprehension… with huge yachts, and jet planes and tens of billions,” it occurs to you that this is pretty much the antithesis of the trap anthem he inspired.
Is the track better than Bernie’s spoken word album? No doubt. But if you’ve heard the candidate’s stump speech one too many times, you’ll wish Thurston had released this one sans Sanders, to say nothing of the recurring applause that’s oddly included in the mix.