Friday, April 11, 2008

New No Age - "Eraser"

Download: No Age - "Eraser"
Download: No Age - "It's Oh So Quiet"

Along with their contemporaries in Liars and Deerhunter, ambient punk duo No Age aren't so much interested in emancipating dissonance from its art-noise chains so much as dressing it up real nice like and showing it a good time by recontextualizing it as a pop song. Not just any old pop song about a girl you loves you (yeah, yeah, yeah...), but, rather, "the most beautiful noise pop song", presumably ever.

Their last effort, the compilation album Weirdo Rippers (comprised of 5 different EPs), certainly had enough tracks that went for the aesthetically-pleasing-yet-artfully-damaged best song EVAH prize. Songs like "Every Artist Needs A Tragedy", "I Wanna Sleep" and "Sun Spots" successfully combined MBV-style atmospheric soundscapes with tribal drum sounds, lo-fi production, and drone-y melodies, while others, such as "Boy Void" are more forceful about their chaotic roots in punk and noise.

For their first batch of all new material since the original EPs, a record called Nouns (their first for Sub Pop), the cover of which is the image for this post, the direction that band seems to be heading in is all about how "bands should be fun and exciting and they should push all the buttons at the same time. They should make you feel like you are going to explode and make you utterly confused and inspired at the same time." So sayth drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt on the band's Sub Pop page.

So now that the venerable indie label has revealed the track-listing for Nouns (check it below), as well as its first single, what are we as listeners to make of "Eraser"? Will minds be blown? Will we be reduced to stuttering, stammering Grandpa Simpsons as new sounds and music patterns form before our very ears?

The answer just might be both yes and no.

"Eraser" (made available yesterday by Sub Pop) may not necessarily be groundbreaking, but it's the absolute pinnacle of what a pop song with ambient undertakings can be. After a sweetly melodic two-chord vamp (doubled by heavily fuzzed-out guitar buried way in the background) starts the track off, swirling waves of feedback echo which carry on from here til who knows when enter the sonic picture and create a tapestry of whirling distortion. This motif picks up some speed until the minute-and-a-half mark, when the levees break and a full-on song emerges. For the remaining minute-and-change, No Age don't quite create the most beautiful noise-pop song, but instead pen something akin to Lonesome Crowded West-era Modest Mouse undertaking a Loveless influenced sonic makeover.

Yes, that's as awesome as it sounds, and consider my mind blown.

Listen to "Eraser" at the top of the post, as well as their cover of Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet".

Here's the Nouns track-listing I promised earlier:

1. Miner
2. Eraser
3. Teen Creeps
4. Things I Did When I Was Dead
5. Cappo
6. Keechie
7. Sleeper Hold
8. Errand Boy
9. Here Should Be My Home
10. Impossible Bouquet
11. Ripped Knees
12. Brain Burner

Nouns is out on May 6th.

No Age MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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