Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Band You Should Be Listening To - No Age

*Photo courtesy of Flickr member Charlie two hats

Admittedly, I am a little late to the party in regards to No Age since I am a Los Angeles resident. These guys play at The Smell (an all-ages indie rock venue that is ground zero for some of the most interesting music of the LA scene) all the time and I never (at least until now) bothered to pay $5 to see them on a whim? I need to stop being so lazy with stuff like that.

Anyway, No Age is an LA duo whose profile has started to elevate over the past year. Thanks to critical praise from the indie blogosphere and a print feature in none other than the standard-bearer of indie snob liberal society, The New Yorker. The exposure is warranted since their two albums are pretty damn great.

For people outside of LA (or, those of us too lazy to frequent The Smell), their introduction to No Age was probably last year's Wierdo Rippers. While not a proper album, but merely a collection of five previously vinyl-only EPs, Weirdo Rippers still manages to sound like one. It's a nice mix of distorted guitar soundscapes and good old fashioned noise punk that gives outsiders a glimpse into the chaotic and dynamic nature of the LA rock scene. You can hear elements of Sonic Youth, SST-era SoCal punk, and the Jesus and Mary Chain throughout, basically giving the listener different flavors of noise to savor.

No Age released their official debut album, Nouns, just a couple of weeks ago and already it is generating serious buzz as one of the year's best rock albums. After about six listens in three days (quite a bit for a musical ADD person like myself) I would tend to agree with that praise. Thus far, it joins Atlas Sound's debut as my favorite rock album to come out this year.

Similar to the Atlas Sound album, Nouns is a tightly constructed collection of sounds that weaves in and out of moods through a constant river of cacophony. The transition from instrumental noise drone to DIY punk noise is seamless throughout the album and never once could you accuse it of being pretentious (something that more bands think they succeeded at then actually did). Instead, No Age sees brevity as a virtue and shows that just because you can go crazy with the delay for 12 minutes doesn't mean you have to play for that long. Once again, something that bands who rely heavily on noise melodies fail to recognize.

I'm told No Age is even better in person, which doesn't make me feel like any less of schmuck for not seeing them any of the 20 or so times they played at home over the last 12 months. Better late than never, I guess.

No Age - "Boy Void" (from Weirdo Rippers)

No Age - "Eraser" (from Nouns)

No Age - "Here Should Be My Home "(from Nouns)

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