Distras, Louise - Dreams from the Factory Floor - New LP
New. Kelly green vinyl.
“The living, breathing, screaming embodiment of the best that the punk spirit has to offer. Only with hard work, self-knowledge, passion and singular vision do you record an album that is as powerful, punkish and so thrillingly alive.”
"In these days of economic turmoil, where the world’s most wealthy still so often treat its most poor and needy with contempt; where the rise in popularity of proto-fascist politicians and their fear-fed, simplified soundbites result only in further civil and social unrest, the questing, protesting spirit of punk is more vital and necessary than ever.
"Stand up and be thankful, then, for UK punk siren Louise Distras; the living, breathing, screaming embodiment of the best that the punk spirit has to offer.
"In the darkest of days, it’s often the case that our artists become our beacons of hope and agents of change; the brave and bold few who have the guts and the intellect to hold a mirror up to societal ills, and work hard enough and shout loud enough to get people to take note. More so than politicians, business magnates, clerics or celebrities, they become our means of holding on to the little we have left; our representation of what it means to be free. Distras is one such artist.
“The music that brings us together, is the same thing that tears us apart. Stand strong together, with unity in your heart,” she belts out with a raging fire on album opener, ‘Stand Strong Together.’ And the vocal roar that she musters over the top of her frenetic acoustic guitar work let’s you know she means every single word.
"It’s little wonder that the likes of Billy Bragg are giving their patronage to Louise, but it’s another artist from across the pond that springs to mind when second song, ‘Bullets’, careers into view. In it’s tackling of the obligations of familial ties, and it’s burning, soulful, uptempo sound, there’s something of Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town about the track. Darkness’… shadowy, emotional scars are there, too: “Mother your demons made me broken and betrayed. Your bitterness feels sick in my stomach. I only love you coz you’ll never go away.” It’s a brutal but honest truth, and a far cry from our stately and sanitised Western view of what it means to be bound by blood.
"Everywhere you look on this record, the downtrodden and dispossessed are raised up, championed, supported and urged to keep fighting, as with “Love Me The Way I Am”, Distras’ latest single and the story of a friend who attempted suicide before coming out. Thank goodness the friend survived to tell the tale and now, in interview after interview, Louise describes it as the most important song that she has ever penned or sung. With 82 countries in the world still known to have legislation criminalising same sex relationships, it’s little wonder that it has struck a chord. The fact that it’s a belting, melodic thrash, as well as a statement of solidarity and a call for change, simply makes it all the more powerful.
“Equal rights aren’t special rights. When you let go of who you are, you become who you will be. Open your eyes, what can you see? Closing your heart won’t set you free. Love me the way that I am.” Quite.
"Wakefield residents will no doubt connect with the picture that Louise paints of her hometown in “Shades Of Hate”, with it’s references to the city’s infamous Westgate run on a Friday night, where “the girls are in their Friday best” and “the men are wearing anger.” It’s a vivid, poetic, relevant and relatable portrait of a kind not often seen in music these days; at least not in mainstream channels overrun by vacuous sex and an anodyne vocabulary. Here is the story of a thousand disenfranchised young people, laid bare in viperous and vitriolic song.
"Later in the album’s running order, Springsteen’s spectre raises its head again with impassioned, spoken-word howl of title track, ‘Dreams From The Factory Floor’: “You work you work you work, the human machine void of soul. No feeling, no thought, no reason, no rest. You dream of happiness, life without pain. They say that dreams never come true. Well I say that they do.” It’s the contemporary, prose-poem version of The Boss’ own ‘Factory.’
"But let’s not get carried away with comparisons. Distras is no Springsteen copyist. She has voice, opinion, musicianship and style all of her own. ‘Love me the way that I am’? Damn right we do. You can’t be this good if you spend your life trying to be someone else. Only with hard work, self-knowledge, passion and singular vision do you record an album that is as powerful, punkish and so thrillingly alive as Dreams From The Factory Floor.
"When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing left to lose. It’s something that Dreams… suggests Distras knows all too well. But maybe, just maybe, when you’ve got nothing, you might still have hope; with a little courage and a lot of strength, you might still make a difference. As the albums closing lines implore: “If you should fall from grace and have nothing left to believe, bring exploitation to its knees.”
"Goddamn it, Louise; with your help, we will."
"The debut album from England’s Louise Distras is making a lot of people around the world sit up and take notice of the songwriter being described as “the 21st century Joe Strummer who personifies punk rock spirit and renegade soul”. The twelve tracks of Dreams From The Factory Floor really show her ability to channel her passion into some damn fine songwriting. Having seen her live, I can tell you that the songs and her tendency to wield her guitar like a deadly weapon, makes you want to pay attention to what she’s saying. Because she has something to say, and it’s worth listening to.
"The album taken as a whole stands as a battle cry against intolerance, injustice, inequality and those who fuck it up for the rest of us. It is an undoubtedly aggressive record, but Louise’s vocals add a tenderness and humanity that show that protest, acoustic punk music is very much alive and kicking in the UK. Targeting subjects like domestic abuse, gay rights, political apathy and the reality-show fueled narcissistic media, the lyrics don’t hold back in both their scathing critique of society and a message of empowerment to those most affected. Ultimately, it’s a positive message about unity and community, wrapped in music that at points made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
"Stand out tracks include album opener “Stand Strong Together,” which was released earlier this year with all benefits going to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a nonprofit that works against violence aimed at people from alternative subcultures. It’s a great choice for album opener and really sets the scene for what comes next. “The Hand You Hold” is a singalong anthem for anyone who has ever wanted to be judged on who they are, rather than their appearance, “What we look like means more to you than what we say and what we do”. Never let the hand you hold, hold you down is an epithet that should be taught in schools. Here it comes with ferocious acoustic guitar accompaniment. Another stand out is album title track Dreams From The Factory Floor, a spoken word protest song, delivered as fist raising violent poetry. The anger in Louise’s vocals is evident in this tale of the universal struggle of those of us who have to work for a living, and the people that make the profit from our labor.
"As an artist who is completely 100% DIY, she has clearly worked hard at producing a record that remains true to herself as a musician and as a person. The finished result is brimming with honesty, heart and hope, with provocative lyrics that should make you think. It deserves to get the attention that its release is getting. You won’t hear another album like it this year. (Hannah McFaull)"
Recommended for fans of: Billy Bragg, TV Smith, Atilla the Stockbroker, Frank Turner, Jenny Woo
"Dreams From The Factory Floor" is a bit of a change in musical pace for Pirates Press Records, but the angst and soul, and positive message presented throughout this spectacular record is totally consistent with what this label brings to the table.
"Louise has for years been spreading this message of empowerment and equality to the (punk rock) world, and her approach has significantly taken hold amongst UK and European punk rock circles. She is a stronghold year after year at the infamous Rebellion Festival (UK), and continues to embark on tour after tour, big and small, both acoustically and with a full band– either way, and both ways, these songs turn heads wherever and however they are played!
"Working with the Oakland abolitionist non-profit Justice Now! (www.jnow.org), Pirates Press Records is taking the opportunity to help Louise wave this flag in a more profound way, releasing this album (previously only available digitally) on vinyl, worldwide.
"There is no other reason besides proximity that this record and these songs have not begun to turn heads here in the US and beyond – with Pirates Press Records and Rev Distribution behind this release, and with Louise’s constant support online and through never ending touring, more and more people will undoubtedly become loyal fans of this passionate and talented songwriter."
This release will include a digital download.
1. Stand Strong Together
3. Love Me The Way I Am
4. The Hand You Hold
5. Not In Our Name
6. Black and Blue
1. Shades Of Hate
2. No Mercy
3. One Thousand Tears
4. Story Is Over
5. Dreams From The Factory Floor
6. People of The Abyss