In music, you have to be authentic to survive. In punk, you can make it but you may not survive without authenticity. It’s safe to say that since pop punk became a new sub genre for the music industry to exploit, that there’s been plenty of posers in music-especially in the world of punk. Being genuine is already a marker that gets questioned but in punk it’s commonly cross-examined. However when you hear the Oi! driven punk of Houston’s Liberty & Justice, you should hear the authenticity of their punk rock roots. Between booking shows and tours, releasing a slew of singles where all of the monies went to charitable causes and in the midst of finishing a new album, we spoke to vocalist Ryan Taylor and guitarist Halston Luna for our podcast Self Released Songs. Aside from getting from their youth to punk. we also chatted about the band’s early years and how they got into music in general.
While both Luna and Taylor are different ages and from different backgrounds, they’re both driven by music that’s similar in retrospect. Luna’s early fascination with Elvis before being turned on to the notes of doo wop and Motown acts. Taylor speaking of how he found hip hop duo Kriss Kross, speaks volumes to the more melodic sound that Liberty & Justice utilizes today. Both members found different eras of punk, yet came to the understanding of what punk is. It’s youth, anti-establishment and community.
But within the path to getting into punk, the roots of it are what are at the core of the music that the band makes. In the stream of singles the band has released in 2020 alone lies a Robyn cover alongside melody driven punk that stands above what many are doing in the genre today. Whether it be “second ward serenade” or “halfway home,” the band finds the balance between the early days of punk and the roots inspired tones that lean more towards the melodic side.
The authenticity of a band that owns up to loving albums like Totally Krossed Out by Kriss Kross or falling for the swagger of an act like Elvis rings true throughout the band’s music and who they are as people. From being judged by appearance or just for being a punk in the truest sense of the word, the band’s honest approach to who they are and what lead them to where they are is refreshing. But better yet, it’s punk. It’s anti fascist, anti hate and community based. Whether the band is on tour with The Old Firm Casuals or playing a festival out of state, or just playing a dive in Houston, no one feels like the members of Liberty & Justice are in this for the wrong reasons.
The music of Liberty & Justice is available on Bandcamp. Their latest seven inch, a split with Italy’s F.A.V.L. is available for purchase from Oi! The Nische Records. The band is set to release a new full length album before the end of 2020. You can stream the podcast on this website, or subscribe and stream it on all podcast streaming platforms. You can support it at Anchor.
Image Credits: Photo by Mark Champion.