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Rex Goliath Releasing Debut Full-Length

In Music
Fighting Back: San Jose Punk trio, Rex Goliath, take on sexism, police brutality, the war on drugs and more on their new album, 'No Magic.' Photo by Darlene Phan.

Fighting Back: San Jose Punk trio, Rex Goliath, take on sexism, police brutality, the war on drugs and more on their new album, 'No Magic.' Photo by Darlene Phan.

In an era where mainstream alternative radio is ruled by fuzzy, garage revivalists and stimulant-fueled electropop, and all the cool kids seem to have time for is jangly indie rockers singing sardonically about sex, drugs and the rock & roll lifestyle, Rex Goliath is a breath of fresh air—a deep breath. You know, the kind you take before letting out a splenetic howl of rage and dismay.

If the San Jose-based trio, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Dominic Miranda, seems to be a direct answer to downer, downtempo rock, that’s because it is—in a way.

“I wanted to do something different than I’d been doing,” Miranda says, explaining that as he was coming out of his previous band—the folky, psychedelic outfit, The Record Winter—he had grown weary of writing music about himself and his own issues.

And so, when Miranda formed Rex Goliath in early 2014—along with bassist Krystl Johnson and drummer Anders Ericsson—he knew at the outset that he wanted to turn his amp, and his anger, up to 11.

“There’s quite a bit of anger,” Miranda says. And yet, he feels much better than he did with his previous project.  “I definitely feel more of a sense of purpose now. There was all this shit going on and I’m singing about, ‘Oh, she left me.’ There’s too much shit going on for me to be singing about myself anymore.”

Lyrically, the songs are very political, and musically the tunes are fast and aggressive. On the band’s new full-length album, No Magic, which they will release on cassette at Cafe Stritch on Friday, July 17, Miranda takes a stand against police brutality, the war on drugs and the perpetual conflicts in the Middle East.

Album opener, “Privately Owned,” takes on the prison-industrial complex—which Miranda believes is a kind of government-sanctioned slavery. “Slavery ended 150 years ago, yet these black and brown people are doing slave labor for these privately owned prisons,” he says.

“Swords” takes aim at excessive use of force by the police. “Shoot first and ask questions later,” Miranda wails. “Who is protecting who now? You’re just saving yourselves.”

Miranda isn’t always angry. In fact, he says the anger in his music often ends up putting a smile on his face after he has wrapped up a set. “When people come up to me after a show and say, ‘People need to know what you’re saying.’ That makes me happy.”

Rex Goliath are releasing their first LP, ‘No Magic,’ at Cafe Stritch on July 17. More info.

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