The Dallas Observer is proud to premiere the video for Salim Nourallah’s “The Bullies Are Back.” His double-album, Somewhere South of Sane, will be released this fall on Palo Santo Records. Nourallah will also DJ the Palo Santo Showcase at the Armoury D.E. on April 28.
As gun violence, political menace and cyberbullying continue to dominate the news cycle this year, it’s easy to forget that in the United States, we have a long and sordid history of various forms of pugilism.
Nourallah understands this.
“One of my first memories of violence was the murder of John Lennon,” Nourallah said during a recent phone chat. “I always thought that music was a safe haven from madness. Now, people are being shot at concerts and pretty much everywhere for no reason whatsoever. It’s just a collective insanity.”
In light of recent events around the globe, Nourallah rerecorded “The Bullies Are Back,” a track from a couple of years ago written in the aftermath of a stalking incident he and his family experienced. In the broader picture, the track is focused on subject matter that continues to resonate.
The new recording finds Nourallah singing the lyrics in a low, hushed near-whisper. The understated guitar accompaniments whirl with a similarly disconcerting vibe. The sobering and, at times, difficult-to-watch video encompasses a vast array of news clips showcasing the country's history of violence, prejudice and discrimination.
“You don’t think this song will be the dance hit of the spring,” he said. “This isn’t a happy or fun video to watch. All I can do as an artist is do my part, and this insanity has been on my mind a lot.”
The video intersperses video clips of well-known incidents, such as the Kent State shootings and 1960s race-related police brutality, alongside stock footage of children happily enjoying target practice and dancers enjoying 1930s Nazi rallies. It’s disturbing and chilling to watch.
“We probably could have used hundreds of clips that are recent,” Nourallah said. “But, again, the point was to show this shared history of violence.”
“The Bullies Are Back” portends a busy year ahead for the longtime Dallas fixture. He’ll release a sprawling double-album of new music titled Somewhere South of Sane. Its theme, he says, centers around the concept that “the mind is madness,” capable of both amazing and destructive things. He’ll release a couple of songs over the next months as teasers for the final product.
Additionally, Nourallah co-runs Palo Santo Records, a diverse label. Its April 28 showcase event at the Armoury D.E. features Sleepy Zuhoski, Broken Baby, and Xuan and will be Nourallah’s first-ever DJ gig.
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Jeff Strowe now calls DFW home after stints living in Raleigh, North Carolina, and New York City. He enjoys writing about music, books, beer/wine and sports. His work is also featured in Glide Magazine and PopMatters, and he has written for No Depression.