Listen: David Byrne and DEVO Team Up for “Empire,” Supporting Reproductive Rights Nonprofit Organization Noise For Now

June 6, 2024
Listen: David Byrne and DEVO Team Up for “Empire,” Supporting Reproductive Rights Nonprofit Organization Noise For Now

Today, legends reunite as David Byrne and DEVO share “Empire,” the latest high-profile single to be included in the forthcoming charitable compilation NOISE FOR NOW Vol. 2. Set to release on June 21, this second all-star collection created by reproductive rights nonprofit Noise For Now carries on the organization’s mission of fighting back against continues attacks on abortion access by raising funds to benefit independent abortion providers across the country. For their part, Byrne and DEVO have unearthed a collaboration from the vault that has only accrued potency with time, a booming and satirical call against the rising tide of fascism.

“Years ago, I did a record called Feelings [1997] in which I collaborated with different musicians on the songs,” Byrne recalls, detailing the origins of the urgent new offering. “I worked with members of DEVO on 2 songs, one of which [“Wicked Little Doll”] is on the album. The other one, ‘Empire,’ is an ironic capitalist fascist anthem and, at the time, I thought our version was just too mean and caustic for release. Well, times change, and it certainly resonates now in ways it maybe didn’t then. It was a joy to work with the DEVO guys, they knew exactly what the song is about.”

DEVO’s Gerald Casale echoes this sentiment, writing, “We were on board working with the dark satire of David Byrne’s ‘Empire’ over 30 years ago. The song was prescient and we got it. Now it can be heard!” 

With its striking reappropriation of authoritarian aesthetics and lingo, “Empire” is perfectly suited for the adamant progressivism of Noise For Now, which connects artists with grassroots organizations in the field of reproductive justice to stir up support. NOISE FOR NOW Vol. 2, which is slated to arrive two years after the Supreme Court’s earth-shattering Dobbs decision, carries on this mission by raising funds for Keep Our Clinics. “Empire” follows Faye Webster’s lead single “Lifetime (Live)”; other artists on board include The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin and Big Freedia.

​​“Unfortunately the forces of tyranny are striking with impunity now,” Casale asserts. “These bad actors are not Pro-Life so much as they are Anti-Choice… But there’s more of us who respect human rights than those who want to crush those rights. Freedom of Choice is a constant fight. DEVO salutes NOISE FOR NOW for their efforts to save a woman’s right to abortion.”

NOISE FOR NOW Vol. 2 is available to pre-order and pre-save now. For more information on the organization and how you can support reproductive rights, visit Listen to “Empire” below, and read on for the complete tracklist for the upcoming compilation album.

NOISE FOR NOW: Vol. 2 Tracklist:
1 – Julia Jacklin – “Dead From The Waist Down (Catatonia cover)”
2 – Courtney Barnett – “Boxing Day Blues (Demo)”
3 – Becca Mancari – “It’s Too Late (Demo)”
4 – The War On Drugs – “Victim (Live)”
5 – MC50 feat. Arrow DeWilde – “High School (Live)”
6 – A.J. Haynes (of Seratones) – “Everything is Change”
7 – Claud – “Spare Tire (Demo)”
8 – Faye Webster – “Lifetime (Live)”
9 – SOFIA ISELLA – “Hot Gum (she version)”
10 – David Byrne and Devo – “Empire”
11 – Big Freedia – “Holatta”