After two weeks of total Best of Phoenix immersion, a time during which I worked a whole lot and listened to very little music, the new record by No Age is a welcome blast of noise.
Some of that noise created by this guitar-drums duo (augmented by synths and samples) are blasts of Wipers-meets-Urinals inspired punk, and some of it is gauzy and hypnotic fuzz that reminds me of the golden age of Yo La Tengo (which, of course, would be Painful and Electr-O-Pura).
Those who fell in love with the band's previous off-the-rails squalls of noise may be turned off by Everything in Between's relatively tempered approach -- and they're clearly shooting for a more accessible sound here -- but the songs here are simply better and the experimentations with sound more interesting. Indeeds, the songs on Everything in Between are catchy enough to reel in a wider audience, but their limited vocal talents could hold them back. No Age even seems to understand it, with many of lead vocal tracks floating about in the mix as though they didn't really know what to do with them.
But it barely matters about the vocals, because for a record made by what essentially is an abrasive noise band, the music contained on Everything in Between is strangely warm and inviting.
Note: No Age is scheduled to perform on Friday, December 3, at the Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe.
Best song: "Valley Hump Crash," which starts out with as a Flamin' Groovies rip before launching into a noisy chorus worthy of vintage Superchunk.
Deja Vu: The best parts of other 2010 buzz bands Surfer Blood and Wavves.
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I'd rather listen to: Jay Reatard's Matador singles.
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.