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No Age - Nouns

 

In the mid-1970s, bands like The Ramones, Sex Pistols, and Patti Smith created a genre that was rooted in raw rhythms, simple chord structures, and civilian angst known as punk rock. Punk rock was straight-ahead rock music that stripped away the guitar solos and glamorous outfits - no bullshit - and it built an anti-establishment movement that pissed in the mainstream. Many genres spawned from that period including grunge rock, post-punk, and pop-punk, which is, of course, an oxymoron. In the late '90s, a derivative of punk rock, known as noise-rock, began to emerge, led by Japan's Boredoms and followed by many experimentalists. Noise-rock picked up cues from early punk rock and each subsequent genre. Recently a new genre came to being, crawling up from the depths of L.A.'s DIY scene: noise-punk. Wait. Hold on. Who really cares about this genre talk? Like punk rock, I'm going to have to cut the crap.

In 2007, Fat Cat released No Age's Weirdo Rippers, a collection of EPs that received much critial acclaim and created a decent amount of hipster hooplah. But, with the recent release of Nouns, No Age has jumped head-first into the sound that they were striving to create on their debut. On their sophomore release, No Age has created a sound that is, at times, as artistic as Liars, as volatile as Lightning Bolt, and as inspiring as Nirvana. Nouns is a tsunami of loud, distorted guitars and violent drums, but riding each wave of noise is a melody that softens the blow. Like hydrogen peroxide, each song stings then soothes. It seems as though there is a constant level of static that, strangely enough, blends each guitar riff, drum beat, and self-recorded sample together. Although such static is, alone, just noise, it plays a significant, pleasing role as an atmosphere for the little melodies and loud instrumentation to mesh in. There are times when the loudness retreats and melody comes to the forefront. The most beautiful song on the album, "Things I Did When I Was Dead," begins with a lovely distorted guitar melody on top of a piercing sample melody that is completely off-putting if not for it's rhythmic contortion. But, when the keyboards slip in to bring in the chord changes, a sunny pop song suddenly bursts out, only to quickly fade away into the raucous of "Cappo." This transition is precisely the trend of emotions that Nouns evokes. It is a world in which you feel welcome, yet shunned at the same time, but, ultimately, you are fully allured. It is as bright as campfire flames, but hot to the touch. It is a perfect blend of noise, rock, and melody that draws you in, kicks you around, but makes you want to stay for more.

Listen to "Eraser"
Then get it from Sub Pop.

- Caleb Morairty
I'm Losing My Edge

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