The grown ups weren’t happy. Following violent protests against university fee hikes in London last year, a screed against the musical tastes of the demonstrators was circulated on a number of prominent discussion lists. Not only was the music played at the demos unchallenging. There wasn’t that much of it either. What had happened to today’s youth? Were their iPods suddenly empty?

As annoying as it was to read such complaints, there was in fact some truth to them. The music being broadcast by the students wasn’t all that interesting. Nor, to get to the heart of the criticisms, did it seem especially significant, either. It all sounded like an afterthought. Part of the identity of the protestors, but not its principle cultural moment. The kids had other things on their mind.

The idea that music, or, to be more precise the kind of music you listen to, is no longer important, is not particularly shocking. Take a good hard look at the decline in recorded music sales over the course of the past decade. It is as much an indicator of music’s decline in cultural importance, as it is students getting their music for free, from the Internet, instead of from the record store.

Nonetheless, as the Occupy Wall Street protests have grown into regional occupations throughout the United States, artists and critics alike have been looking for the soundtrack. Who is the voice of the protestors? What are the favorite bands? Unsurprisingly, The New Yorker could only come up with a list of older music, set to Youtube videos, while Tom Morello repackaged more Rage Against the Machine-style clichés.

Spend a little time researching the subject. The chances are you’ll find some new music, much of it made by young people. Not all of which, thankfully, inhabits the aesthetic confines of traditional protest music, though there is a lot of it being made. Some of it sounds like Garage Band interpretations of Emergency Broadcast Network and Nineteen-era Paul Hardcastle. And some of it sounds like Dan the Automator-influenced hip-hop. Think Deltron 3030.

Reviewing twenty-nine Soundcloud pages of songs tagged “Occupy Wall Street,” Souciant found a few noteworthy tracks, by artists working in several genres. “The Chase,” an acoustic guitar piece by Georgia’s Jared Rankin, exhibited lo-fi production values and acerbic lyrics that particularly stood out. “Just for fun/We ought to lay down a gun/Have a money bonfire/Burn those Benjamins/Fuck you I got friends.” Ignore track 2. It’s a throwaway.

Photograph by Shankbone. Published under a Creative Commons license.