I've become increasingly convinced of late that the influence of art and music on our current political rat's nest is pretty much nil. Our country's administration has shown us that even legitimate grass-roots organizations don't have a prayer of challenging the status quo, let alone a bunch of stoned literature majors singing 'bout "revolution." Its quite telling that the only musical entity in the past 20 years to even make a dent against the wall of Republican bullshit has been the platinum, conglomo-punk of Green Day's American Idiot album.

One of the things to like about prog-rock duo USA Is a Monster (and there are many) is that despite the heavy-handed moniker they stick with what they know best: being big friggin' hippies! Just take a glance at the artwork gracing their new Load record, Wohaw and you'll be hard pressed to disagree with me—irony-free montage of rainbows, whales, and Native American imagery that would feel right at home on the wall of a head shop. These guys aren't trend-chasing neo-hippies: they sport well-aged dreadlocks and refuse to put down roots, opting instead to tour nine months out of the year and sow their seeds of discontented oddness throughout our monstrous nation.

USA Is a Monster's music is an appropriately honest reflection of the band's strong, outsider ethic. Whether churning out pitch-shifted prog workouts that would make Lightening Bolt blush or faux-archaic Casio reflections, this two-piece has some balls. Tracks like "The Hoboken" sputter out long melodic phrases with tongue-twisting eco-friendly lyrics about Native American tribes, and still manage to sound fluid.

So yeah, the USA is a monster—but what're you gonna do about it, really? Personally, I wouldn't mind stealing a page from these guys' big friggin' hippie manifesto, hitting the pavement and getting off the grid for a while. Either that or joining Green Day.