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Welcome to the latest installment of U.S.A.: The Underground Sounds of America, our series that shines a spotlight on the most underrated rock, metal, punk, and hardcore bands in the United States. Each week, we ask one band member to answer five unique questions so you can get to know them better. Because if you aren’t already a fan of the artist featured below…you should be.
To hear Amygdala’s music, one might assume they hail from New York, California, or Washington DC. The quintet’s frenetic brand of hardcore punk has a hard-hitting fury and a driven political bent that many associate with one of America’s time-honored coastal scenes. But no -- Amygdala hail from San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo and a cultural hub not that far from Mexico. That fact adds a new dimension to their sonic rancor, painting a picture of a band who is making political noise in a place commonly known for its good-ol’-days politics.
“Considering we’re about three hours north of the border, we hear lots of what’s going on,” says bassist Yole Centeno, “especially since we have friends who are actively doing lots of work to help those undocumented at the border. It’s very influential. As far as music goes, I feel like we use our little platform to raise awareness and share donation links/information of local grassroots orgs doing the work to help those at the border. We’re currently working on a new Amygdala ‘Fuck ICE’ shirt and proceeds will go to help with struggling families with legal fees. Never stop caring.”
To hear the band’s new album, Our Voices Will Soar Forever, one couldn’t imagine a world in which Amygdala would stop caring. The tracks on Our Voices are packed with so much outrage and raw vulnerability that the listener can’t help but find themselves pulled into the social maelstrom. In that respect, songs like Our Bodies, Our Choice and I Hate To Say It perfectly pull of what most political punk bands desperately try to do: they add humanity to the politics, pointing out that broad issues and statistics boil down to matters of flesh and blood.
“I Hate To Say It focuses on elder abuse in Latino/Mexican communities,” says Yole. “How this particular type of abuse continues to uphold toxic masculinity, because no matter how much neglect our elders take, they won’t seek help. They’d rather sit in silence.”
Excited to hear a band this heavy working to be part of the solution, we reached out to Amygdala about what drives them to scream in a world that wishes they would be silent.
1) Who are Amygdala's five biggest musical influences?
2) If you had to play a newcomer one Amygdala song to introduce them to the band, what would it be and why?
It would prolly be the song Our Bodies, Our Choice (it’s on our new album). It’s just so energetic and fun in the beginning and has so many elements of what we love about heavy music.
3. Who would be on Amygdala's dream tour?
That’s tough. Definitely with Los Crudos would be dreamy. A realistic dream tour would be With Soul Glo and Anti-Flag.
4. As a band with an incredibly diverse line-up, playing during the aggressive cultural shift fostered by the Trump administration, do you ever encounter discrimination on the road?
Mainly at gas stations in Midwestern/Southern cities.
5. What are you most passionate about outside of music?
When I’m not revolved around music, I’m still very much around music. Organizing a DIY show for traveling band is something I’ve always been passionate about and been good at.
Amygdala's Our Voices Will Soar Forever is out now on Prosthetic Records, and is available for purchase.