NØ MAN Break Down the Personal and Political Nuances of Their New LP “Glitter and Spit”

Fronted by Palestinian-American vocalist Maha Shami, and rounded out by members of Majority Rule and Haram, the project’s third LP is out now via Iodine Recordings.
Track by Track

NØ MAN Break Down the Personal and Political Nuances of Their New LP Glitter and Spit

Fronted by Palestinian-American vocalist Maha Shami, and rounded out by members of Majority Rule and Haram, the project’s third LP is out now via Iodine Recordings.

Words: Mike LeSuer

Photo: Zach Hobbs

March 29, 2024

As we were reminded a few years ago amid the onslaught of early-pandemic releases, it’s perhaps telling that music that’s received as commentary on a national or global issue was actually ideated well before everything went to hell. Such is the case with NØ MAN’s third studio album, Glitter and Spit, which is hard to dissociate from the ongoing genocide being carried out in Gaza as lyrics across the release hone in on ethnic cleansing, corrupt leadership, and grief—all belted out by Palestinian-American vocalist Maha Shami over serrated hardcore-punk instrumentals from her backing band (which, technically, equates to a reunion of cult DC screamo faves Majority Rule). 

But of course the violence perpetrated on Palestinian soil dates back much further than October of last year, and a return to Shami’s homeland prior to the event that launched countless misleadingly passive-voiced headlines was the original impetus for Glitter and Spit. In fact as Shami breaks down the lyrical influence for each track it becomes increasingly clear that she’s going much deeper than most album-length punk statements tend to dig with regard to the thought patterns that shape our perception of these news stories and the world around us. Opener “Eat My Twin” even kicks the record off with an analysis of self-blame in a world where it increasingly feels like everything is outside of our control.

On the other hand, closer “Damaar” is the track that’s most overtly political, written as it was while the band watched the news out of Gaza—they even incorporated the sounds of drone strikes to express the horror of the situation. In 30 minutes the band manages to tie together the personal and the political, individual man-made horrors and a broader framework of evil that will continue to perpetrate them until we achieve a progressive change in leadership across the globe. 

With Glitter and Spit out today via Iodine Recordings, you can read Shami’s track-by-track breakdown of the LP below.

1. “Eat My Twin”
“Eat My Twin” is about being in your own head and that spiraling inside voice. It’s about obsessive thinking and self-blame about things you can’t control. It relates to always waiting for the other shoe to drop and no fairy tale endings. 

2. “Glitter and Spit”
Sometimes people fall in love with the idea of you. This song is about not letting people distort your reality to fit their fantasy. It asserts my existence and my lived experience, as a woman and as a Palestinian, on my terms. It embraces strengths and ugly truths—not fitting a pretty and neat mold.  We almost abandoned writing the music for this song and it ended up being our title track. 

3. “Poison Darts”
Making art about personal trauma can be cathartic. “Poison Darts” deals with the vulnerability that comes when uninvited feedback and misinterpretations distort your art and push you to elaborate, no matter how intimate the subject.

4. “Eye Spy”
Everytime we get together to practice, our drummer Pat and my daughter Kami spend some time making music. This song is representative of some of their collaborations. The voice is a reversed tape recording she made years ago of a story she wrote.  

5. “God’s Neighborhood”
This song is about grief and those before and after moments in life. I lost my father and made him a promise that I would always take care of my mother. I have no idea how I’m going to pull off playing this live.  

6. “March of Ides”
“March of Ideas” is about corrupt leaders breathing the same infected, power-hungry air molecules as dictators from history and an inevitable countdown to their demise. I really like the noisy feedback in the beginning. Matt always loved the creepy intros of Uranus songs like “Panacea” and wanted to create a similar vibe. 

7. “Can’t Kill Us All”
People are gravitating to this song because of the catastrophe happening in Gaza right now, but it was written well before October. This song is about being Palestinian and the ethnic cleansing that’s taken place over the last 75-plus years under occupation. It’s about my travels there and the loss our family has faced. 

8. “Monument to Pleasure”
We’re living in a culture of mass consumption with constant distraction and a sense of false needs, numbing us as people and resulting in a fake sense of productivity while the world is on fire. “Monument to Pleasure” is timely with all of our heads buried behind screens, but inspired by one of my favorite sociologists, Herbert Marcuse’s 1960s book One-Dimensional Man.

9. “Burning Skulls”
“Burning Skulls” is a cover of a cover. Originally written by Jeremy Gluck, it was redone by Lydia Lunch and Rowland S. Howard on a collaborative album called Shotgun Wedding. I’m such a huge fan of their music and always found this song so haunting and beautiful. It’s a tribute honoring their music’s impact on us. 

10. “Damaar”
Damaar is an Arabic word, translating to “devastation” in English. This was the last song written for the record. Matt wrote the guitar line while watching images on the news of violence in the West Bank and later finished the song while watching the early days of the genocide in Gaza. The hum throughout the song is the sound of the ever-present Israeli drones over Gaza.