Release Date: Aug 5, 2014
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Noise-Rock
‘Television Man’ is Olympia, Washington noise trio Naomi Punk’s second album for New York indie Captured Tracks. That its second track is called ‘Song Factory’ is crazy – this is a band who don’t write songs, not really. Instead, the album is split into 10 blasts of discordant brilliance. ‘Firehose Face’ and the volatile title track could be leftovers from debut ‘The Feeling’, but that’s not laziness.
Television Man is a tough, grimy album made by three young men who sound like they could use more "outside time" in their lives. Its province is the damp basement, the dirty aquarium, dreamy half-places of strange light and no easy egress. No surprise that Naomi Punk are from the Pacific Northwest, a region legendarily devoid of sun but graced with persistent, almost prehistoric lushness—somewhere that feels both forbidding and overgrown at the same time.
On Television Man, Naomi Punk double down on their meta approach. Where they reconfigured their Pacific Northwest influences on The Feeling, here it feels like they're cutting and pasting their debut album into ever more reflexive collages of collapsing riffs and drums, distant, howling vocals, and spacy interludes. "Linoleum Tryst #19" reworks the former B-side "Linoleum Tryst," taking it even deeper into dirge territory, while the lunging title track resembles a sped-up version of "Trashworld" that sets that song's eeriness on fire with a simple tempo change.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. How can you describe Seattle's Naomi Punk? A musical weapon of mass destruction that's equal parts grimy art punk and caustic garage metal, few bands since the '90s have so unabashedly disintegrated the veneer of modern rock music. On their newest, Television Man, Naomi Punk continue their hollowed out punk rampage with snarling and often unintelligible vocals and savvy if not sloppy instrumentals.
Naomi Punk, the thrashing sons of Olympia, Washington, don't just play their instruments; they pummel and maul songs out of them. The trio specialize in moments of meditative bliss found amid jerky noise, and their second album captures the full-throttle attack of their live show – dabbling in staticky feedback without drowning in it the way their 2012 debut, The Feeling, did. "Eon of Pain" amplifies tension with mantra-esque chords, and "Rodeo Trash Pit" is the band's masterful eight-minute opus.
The Northwest is a mess of perceived importance; everything is. Something happened once, and everything exists in its shadow. Naomi Punk is inevitably and regrettably wrapped up in this; when their debut The Feeling was reissued by Captured Tracks (the album started gaining critical traction by the label association), everyone and everywhere compared it to grunge.
Naomi Punk's Television Man possesses the same "demo" feel as their previous releases. While the choice of chords and murky vocals bring grunge to mind (progressions in "Eleven Inches" are reminiscent of Nirvana, "Linoleum Tryst #19" of the Smashing Pumpkins), overall it's a more deconstructed, almost no-wave interpretation of punk.The elements the sound shares with other genres are less important than those it doesn't, the foremost of which is dissonance. Relying heavily on sustain, the songs include no fast-paced, 4/4 power chords.
Since 2010, the visceral and abrasive Olympia trio Naomi Punk have been mainstays in the Pacific Northwest’s DIY punk scene. Still, their first album, 2012’s The Feeling, got bogged down by sophomoric predictability and noisy songs that felt calculated where they were trying to be reckless. Now, with Television Man, the band’s second album, they improve on much of their debut’s downsides with better songwriting, but are unable to fully overcome the flaws.