Release Date: Sep 28, 2010
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk/New Wave, Hardcore Punk
After its sprawling but ambitious 2007 compilation, Weirdo Rippers, aggregated its dissonant back pages, Los Angeles duo No Age exploded with the 2008 full-length Nouns. From its distorted poppers like “Cappo,” crushing burners like “Teen Creeps,” and out-into-wordless-atmospherics like “Impossible Bouquet,” Nouns announced the arrival of one of the new millennium’s most iconoclastic wonders, immediately upgrading its label (moving from Fat Cat to Sub Pop) in the process. That’s heavy pressure for the skinny shoulders of skateboarders Dean Spunt and Randy Randall, who form the powerhouse rhythmic nucleus of No Age’s postmodern atom-smasher.
Words like "accomplished" and "discipline" seem opposed to the very ideals on which punk was founded. But L.A. dream-punks No Age seek to straighten up and fly a little straighter on Everything in Between, tamping down their whiplash tempos, prying open their songs to let a little more air in, further settling into their frantic sound. Their songwriting's grown in leaps and bounds, evincing unexpected depth yet never shying from a satisfying detour.
All muddied up Many of No Age’s songs sound like a whisked-together emulsion of washed-out lo-fi and California pop-punk slowly drifting apart. The duo’s 2008 LP Nouns was built on this oil-and-water formula; half of the songs sounded like IDM experiments done with a cheap sampler, and the rest drove forward with noisy strumming guitars and pogo-friendly beats, and it was captivating even in its disarray. Everything in Between is not as initially enrapturing as its predecessor, but while the hooks aren’t as sharp, the sonic collage is as rich and satisfying as ever.
Dean Spunt, one half of Los Angeles-based duo No Age, once described his band's M.O. as such: “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.” In the group's relatively short existence (or is a half-decade like a generation in Internet years?), it has adhered to this mission statement the modern way: by "diversifying its portfolio." They released two albums, designed and branded an image (famously promoted through a T-shirt worn by a member of Radiohead) and aligned itself with the disparate worlds of skateboarding and politics.
No Age’s Nouns, is, in this reviewers less than humble opinion, one of the best albums of the 2000’s. It’s frenetic, joyful, noisy, and the perfect representative of the lo-fi Southern California scene. It’s a damn near perfect 32 minutes that sounds completely improvised, just a couple of skater punks’ bullshitting around with a guitar, drums and sampler and accidentally stumbling upon something wonderful.
In the three years since we first wrote about noise-?pop duo No Age, they've become poster children for the DIY Los Angeles punk scene from which they sprang and for the lo-?fi movement as a whole. That's a lot of pressure for a band, often leading to fumbled reinventions and retreads of early glories. Thankfully, they do neither on their second studio album.
For everything LA post-punk duo No Age lack in subtlety, they more than make up for with an innate understanding of dynamics. Sounding in places like Sonic Youth, Everything in Between – the follow-up to 2008's critically lauded Nouns – constantly explores the relationship between melodic immediacy and primal blasts of noise. First single Glitter starts like a lo-fi My Sharona before being enveloped by shards of guitar squall, while the lovely Chem Trails rolls along nicely before firecrackers explode beneath a noodly guitar solo.
As No Age’s Randy Randall stated in a 2008 interview, “Being in a band isn’t interesting, communication is. ” Through their actions and their art, No Age have been communicating loud and clear values that are both positive and punk. As elders of L.
On its third album, Everything in Between, the L.A. noise pop duo No Age doesn't do anything it hasn't done before. As in the past, it balances noise and melody, distance and feeling, lo-fi and high art like vaudeville plate spinners, keeping each plate oscillating wildly but completely in control. As before, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall create a small world of sound out of just drums and guitar that Spunt’s heartfelt vocals ride like a particularly nimble skate kid.
It might seem presumptuous to make such a claim, but No Age has already become something of an indie rock institution in a mere five years of existence. Although the elder statesmen tag might never apply to these all-ages boosters, Randy Randall and Dean Spunt are definitely leaders of the neo-garage rock revival, boasting a brash iconoclasm and a resourceful ambition that have made the very most out of working with a bare-bones formula of guitar, drums, samplers, and vocals. On a more local scale, the two are hometown heroes for putting the L.A.
LA duo [a]No Age[/a]’s on-disc evolution has been as linear as their actual music, well, hasn’t. Highlights from scattered EPs comprised 2007’s [b]‘Weirdo Rippers’[/b]; scratched and imperfect. [b]‘Nouns’[/b], issued the following year, was a comfy fit for new label [b]Sub Pop[/b], ’90s indie-rock classicism that didn’t scrimp on the tunes.And now? Chiefly, they have progressed in confidence, rather than accessibility or grandeur.
Lurking at the heart of No Age's explosive racket, - admittedly shrouded in incandescent curtains of guitar and hand-assembled samplework - there has always been a pop band dying to escape. For all its eardrum-shattering tendencies, the duo's debut album proper Nouns was a soothing listen, as if noise in just the right quantity and form could mutate into something soft and all-enveloping. And given half a chance - the crystalline chord stabs of 'Eraser' or the redemptive blast of distortion that heralded album opener 'Miner' - that melodic sensibility seized the chance to jump to the fore.
Review Summary: No Age are certainly living in the moment, and Everything In Between has a similar retention factor.No Age are the type of band that would probably laugh at the notion of a major overhaul stylistically. After all, the duo relies on each other for ideas, so why change out of a comfy outfit? Their first full-length debut, Weirdo Rippers, brought an earthy luster and a glimpse inside at the potential that was yet to be developed. Additionally, out of No Age’s three full lengths to date, Nouns is the beautifully bounded book, having a lush atmosphere with intriguing developments over the course of the album.
No Age’s third album resides in the area between punk and dance music, which makes for a record that sounds both viscerally rebellious and deliciously danceable. Lead single “Glitter” and the forceful “Fever Dreaming” show off this dichotomy best; the former is a hazy dance number with clean vocals that contrasts heavily with the latter’s shouting and blazing guitars. Only the dreamy instrumental, “Positive Amputation,” provides a well-deserved rest from the rest of the album’s intensity.
Bob Dylan No wonder that upstart from the hinterlands — Minnesota! — astonished the Greenwich Village folkies. He had learned profound lessons from the blues, Appalachian ballads, gospel, pop and agitprop. His voice had a young man’s vigor and an older man’s scars and snarls. He could ….
LA art-punks prove their worth with an enthralling, adventurous new album. Camilla Pia 2010 This latest offering marks a momentous point in No Age’s career: it’s carry on paddling or make a huge splash time. Their 2007 debut-of-sorts Weirdo Rippers, which collected single and EP tracks, and its follow-up Nouns, released just a year later, were enjoyable romps through the joys of noise but hardly left an impact.
In a musical universe where most of the notable movers and shakers are leaning heavily (and without shame) on Auto-Tune software and slick production techniques to move whatever units they can, the undeniably scrappy yet hypnotic pastiche of noise-rockers No Age is something of a marvel. While drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall undoubtedly have the melodic know-how and technical dexterity to lay down tracks worthy of mainstream radio airplay, there’s more joy to be found in the myriad ways they typically subvert any sense of accessibility in their songwriting. When there’s liberal application of bristling distortion, drawling vocals, and caterwauling feedback to an otherwise unassuming pop song, just about anything can masquerade as chaos.