Mayo Supreme 


Don’t Panic Records & Distro; Apr. 1 

In the classic punk tradition, The Muslims hold nothing back. The Durham trio’s new album, Mayo Supreme, is an in-your-face wrestling match with the white supremacy embedded in the structure of not just America, but of the world. Punk doesn’t always feel relatable to me, especially the mad-white-boy variety, but The Muslims’ timely lyrics, paired with radical queer sentiment, offer something fresh and palatable. 

The cover of Mayo Supreme sports a hilarious depiction of band members FaraH BaHbaH, QADR, and Abu Shea posing in an ironic nod to all-American-family portraits. The album itself is essentially a twelve-track takedown of people who are complacent in white supremacy and don’t see themselves as having a mandate to help break it down. If you find yourself shying away from difficult conversations about identity politics or political work surrounding marginalized groups, you’re probably going to feel actively attacked by this album—and that’s the point. Like all good punk, Mayo Supreme intends to wake people up from apathy toward radical ideas about the human condition and the social structures of the world.

There’s an absolute, necessary rage flowing through almost every track, though the record allows for humor and tenderness as well. The title track speaks to the idea of who actually gets to be a responsible gun owner in the public consciousness, while “America the Great” infuses familiar nationalistic phrases with the sordid, horrific history of race relations, slavery, and colonialism in America. But then “Stew” is a love song that vocalist QADR wrote for their partner. For fans of punk—and anyone concerned about the foundational values America supposedly stands for—Mayo Supreme is the kind of self-interrogation we could all use these days. 

One reply on “The Muslims Blast Through Twelve Tracks of Tough Love on Mayo Supreme”

  1. “[P]eople reclaiming land, reclaiming their indigenous or cultural practices” is exactly why political Zionism was founded in the nineteenth century. But according to punk band The Muslims, Israel exemplifies nothing more than a white supremacist, apartheid state. This popular lie feeds on the denial that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country in which the rights of women as well as religious and cultural minorities are constitutionally protected, the only one with a free press, and the only one in which LGBTQ people are not tortured and murdered. This lie also conveniently denies the continuous Jewish presence on that land over more than 3000 years and, most crucially, that Palestinians cannot “reclaim” something that never existed: the only independent sovereign nations in that region, ever, have all been Jewish. Worse, this lie morphs into a narrative that deliberately ignores the refusal of Arab Muslim states to assimilate Palestinians. It ignores the corruption and brutality of Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Judea/Samaria (both elected governing bodies of the so-called Palestinian people), which includes not only “pay for slay” practice of funneling international aid money into bounties on dead Israeli Jews but also violent suppression of dissent. It ignores the ecocide perpetrated on tens of thousands of acres of farmland and wildlife refuge in southern Israel by incendiary kites. It ignores the rockets aimed from Gaza at Israeli civilians, in open defiance of the Geneva Convention. Most significantly, it ignores the explicit language in the charters of both governing bodies that calls for the destruction of Israel and the deaths of Jews–language that was supposed to be deleted as per the Oslo Accords, signed 26 years ago. It’s understandable that young, hotheaded musicians would embrace this ignorance and promote these lies. To do so seems cool, and revolutionary. Above all, it seems easy and simple to scapegoat Jews for the failures of the Arab world while also pretending that Israel is not the Jewish homeland. But somehow the editorial staff of The Indy, who should know better, has also bought into the fad of Israel-bashing as something hip and progressive. For pity sakes, wake up and smell the bullshit. Self-proclaimed people of color readily denigrate Jews as “white” perpetrators of white supremacy. Self-proclaimed white supremacists take the opposite approach by denigrating Jews as subhuman. The only constant is that anybody with a racist axe to grind feels entitled to define Jews according to whatever stereotype they wish. That’s the essence of antisemitism. Accusations of deicide, blood libel, dual loyalties, bribery of governments, media control, wealth accumulation, warmongering, and secret plans for world domination are no more true than accusations of apartheid and “stolen land.” Yet all of these lies have been successfully used, and are still being repeated, as justifications for disenfranchising, expelling, and slaughtering Jews. It’s no different when anyone–including a punk band–says that Israel is practicing “supremacy” and then declares that “supremacy” must be “thoroughly eradicated and destroyed.” They’re not being hip or progressive. They’re not being metaphorical. They’re saying that genocide is an end that justifies noble goals. It’s appalling that The Indy perpetrates this rhetoric and the lies on which it’s based. Please stop.

Comments are closed.