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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Most Negative Review Yet of No Age’s ‘Nouns’

posted by on August 27 at 11:09 AM

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…by miles. Find it in the August issue of The Wire, the one with Tricky on the cover (I’m a bit behind in my reading; forgive me, I just moved).

On page 60 in the British magazine’s Avant Rock column (the review isn’t online), critic David Keenan rips No Age something fierce. “Deeply ordinary alternative rock murk and lightweight instrumental fluff” [can something be murky and fluffy?]; “There’s a fairly diverting use of loops here, an eruption of fuzz guitar there, but it all seems so diluted, so lite, that it plays more like a Wikipedia entry than a rock record.” Keenan then delivers the deathblow: “these guys… dress like punks from a Madonna video.” Meow.

I think Keenan is offbase with his No Age slags (and so did my Stranger colleague Eric Grandy), but what do you expect from a guy who played in the deadly dull Telstar Ponies and mistakenly puts an apostrophe in Trumans Water’s name?

RSS icon Comments

1

Deeply ordinary? I don't know about that - they don't sound like a lot of other bands.

But the hype is way overblown, probably because The Smell scene/ethos itself is pretty cool. I have both Nouns and the previous compilation album and just can't warm to them. Nothing really sticks because there's little emotional resonance in either the vocals or the melodies.

Posted by Derek Smalls | August 27, 2008 11:50 AM
2

Ooh, Trumans Water punctuation dis! Ouch!

I feel like the obscurantists at the Wire hate bands like No Age because they take sonic or aesthetic elements of "noise," break them out of an isolationist/academic context, marry them to choruses, and play them for actual audiences of psyched-up kids. It's experimentalism combined with pop(ulism) rather than a bunch of beardos stroking their chins trying to prove who gets Merzbow the most, and it's fun.

But then, I just let my subscription to the Wire lapse because I was tired of feeling condescended to.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 27, 2008 11:51 AM
3

the word 'experimental' gets tossed around way too bloody frequently....this is just one of the latest examples...

Posted by who cares | August 27, 2008 12:16 PM
4

I'm only basing this opinion on their SP20 performance, but I thought they were uninteresting and uninspired and if they had any musical talent it was kept safely hidden away. Their set just made me yearn for that most triumphant of Sub Pop duos, GODHEADSILO.

Of course, maybe I would hear their album and totally jizz over it. Their live show, not so much.

Posted by Levislade | August 27, 2008 12:19 PM
5

@2--Eric, if you honestly think No Age qualifies as some sort of "experimental noise band" for the masses, I might have to question every opinion you've ever written. The Boredoms, or Boris or, I would think this goes without saying, YLT or SY would be actual "noise" bands for the masses. They make a racket while eschewing an academic approach to it all. No Age make music that is fairly boring, with way too many pointless instrumental passages and no emotional core. It's all wink-wink with no pay off.

Posted by ballard | August 27, 2008 12:28 PM
6

FWIW, I think Nouns sounds way better than I've yet to see them live. Cosign on GODHEADSILO, though.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 27, 2008 12:29 PM
7

oh no he didn't!

who gives a fuck. hella safe needless backlashing. if the record is so boring, how is the writer moved to hate so hard? this is a critic trying to get shine from lashing out. wack.

unless the music is evil, i say keep it moving. didn't anyone see ratatouille?

Posted by ndrwmtsn | August 27, 2008 12:42 PM
8

I didn't say they were an "experimental noise band," I said they took those elements and worked it into their own sound. And I think the scholars at the Wire are offended by such cherry picking.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 27, 2008 12:45 PM
9

A critic not liking a band? The horror.

In other news: I'm no food critic, but Whole Foods has great chicken terryiaki.

Posted by Jeff | August 27, 2008 12:47 PM
10

ahhhh,chuckanut overdrive.

Posted by ryko72 | August 27, 2008 12:54 PM
11

It's funny how in the same issue they give Abe Vigoda's album Skeleton a good review.

Posted by COD | August 27, 2008 12:57 PM
12

the abe vigoda review was by a different writer. it's not like the editorial staff of the wire tells the writers what to say...
i agree with the review of no age for the most part, he makes some good points. esp the part that you didn't quote about how it seems like they are mostly into making shirts, bandanas, etc.
also, i thought that the quote was that it sounds like a "wikipedia entry on alternative rock," not "more like a wikipedia entry than a rock record." maybe i'm wrong, i read the review while waiting for coffee at powell's books.
eric grady does have a point about the wire coming off as condescending, though... i'd say that is a problem with most writing from the "experimental music press." oh well...

oh yeah, i think godheadSilo's best work is their 7"s. the one on sub pop and the two on krs. that last album on sub pop didn't do it for me...

Posted by ben | August 27, 2008 1:50 PM
13

I felt like the weakest parts of Weirdo Rippers were the ambient interludes, and Nouns is made up entirely of those parts. SO boring. It's no wonder beards are so 'out' now--- they've all been scratched off due to the intellectual implications of 3 guitar loops running simultaneously.

anywho, yay for cheap loop pedals and tiny art gallery venues. Mika Miko still has the best record out of that scene.

Posted by Brandon | August 27, 2008 1:50 PM
14

11,
How is that funny? One band can be good and one can be awful. Just because they come from the same scene doesn't automatically make everything from said scene good. Maybe I'm misreading your comment.

I'm gonna have to go with the anti-No Age crowd on this one. Those of us who read a lot of music blogs for new music are usually pretty open to hyped up new bands, but these guys just don't do it for me. No one will remember them next year (think Test Icicles, Black Kids, Barcelona...)

Posted by Randy | August 27, 2008 1:55 PM
15

Which is more popular, vindictively bashing No Age or hyping them to unobtainable heights?

I like their records, but don’t love them. I saw them in a basement and thought they were fantastic. I saw them at Sub Pop and in the KEXP parking lot and thought they were awful. It seems like they’re playing to the 15 kids in front row, which is punk rock but not too compelling.

No Age blew-up too fast and can’t deliver on the hype. The heads still believe.

Posted by Greydon Clark | August 27, 2008 3:37 PM
16

i thought that the quote was that it sounds like a "wikipedia entry on alternative rock," not "more like a wikipedia entry than a rock record." maybe i'm wrong...

You're wrong.

Posted by segal | August 27, 2008 6:07 PM
17

I'm wrong, too. I left out "alt.rock" from the quote, so it' s "alt.rock Wikipedia entry." Apologies.

Posted by segal | August 27, 2008 6:10 PM
18

i was closer than you! hahahaha... i don't know, i kind of can't help but think of no age as mall punks with a pedal board. whatever, it's all good, nobody is forcing anybody to listen to it.

Posted by ben | August 27, 2008 6:41 PM
19

but they must be doing something right if they have people arguing so much. they're just fun to dislike!

Posted by ben | August 27, 2008 6:42 PM
20

oh, where to begin?

@12, Mr. Ben -- nobody gives a FUCK that you go to Powell's Books or that you drink coffee, jerkoff.

@7 - You're way out of your league if you're criticizing a music writer who actually has balls. get the fuck out of town.

@2 - Grandy, pretty much everything you say sucks and is wrong, so i'm not surprised at this point. You are wrong specifically about No Age being "fun," proving my long-held suspicion that you have no fucking clue what fun is and I wager that most of No Age's fans are in that same boat. Self-conscious, impressionable, DIRTY idiots who know nothing about music.

oh yeah, @12 again. Helio Sequence's last album will blast a shot of melodic/rhythmic awesomeness into your anus and out your mouth, douche.

Posted by Skeet Foxes | August 27, 2008 9:53 PM
21

@20

you fucking idiot -- you're dislexic.

godheadsilo is a DIFFERENT band.

and you're really angry too. check yo'self.

Posted by stealio sequins | August 27, 2008 9:59 PM
22

It looks like the words are falling off the page man!

Whatever, everything else I said is still true and everybody still knows it.

Posted by Skeet Foxes | August 27, 2008 10:01 PM
23

"hella safe needless backlashing. if the record is so boring, how is the writer moved to hate so hard?"

@7: Maybe to counteract the hype? I find it hard to wrap my head around the idea that it's "hella safe needless backlashing" because of your use of the word hella. Well, that and it was neither needless or backlashing, some would even say it was about time...

Posted by dan10things | August 28, 2008 10:06 AM
24

skeet foxes,
i'm trying to explain why i don't have the review memorized while ALSO attempting to correct somebody. give me a fucking break, okay? i'm commenting on a blog post, here.

Posted by ben | August 28, 2008 10:48 AM
25

#23 making statements "to counteract the hype" and because "it was about time" actually ARE backlashy motivations, so what are you really saying?

can you say it hella clearer?

Posted by ndrwmtsn | August 28, 2008 2:29 PM
26

#25, sure. How you can presume to know the writer's motivations? If it's backlash, it certainly wasn't needless, it's a mediocre record that has been completely covered in the cum of record reviewers jacking off over it. But who knows? Would you bet your paycheck the writer would have written it any different if it hadn't gotten all the hype? I'm a degenerate gambler and I sure wouldn't.

Posted by dan10things | August 29, 2008 12:34 PM
27

Not everything that's popular is bad, Dan.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 29, 2008 1:08 PM
28

Oh I totally agree. And that record isn't bad at all, it's just not anything new or very exciting, so the piles of hype it's gotten has been kinda surprising.

Posted by dan10things | August 29, 2008 3:20 PM

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