Experimental lo-fi isn’t a genre that gets tons of press. For the few bands that fall under that moniker, the most interesting and intriguing could easily be California’s No Age. The Los Angeles based duo has always bucked trends and just done their own thing. Whether it be recording with analog, making their own tapes, or just treading the lines between established act and D.I.Y. punks, No Age hasn’t ever compromised, making them an act that’s hard to follow or pin down. On their latest release Snares Like a Haircut, they take those lo-fi ideals and blend in punk notations to create a sound that’s energetic and raw, while disaffected and without cause.
While it’s not fair to say that these two don’t give a fuck about what they produce together, it could be safe to say that they don’t care what you think of them. Their music is like a soundtrack for watching the world go by while you have dark thoughts of destroying the corporate meritocracy down, company by company. From the swelling opening of “Cruise Control,” the duo gets going quick and fast, marking their territory. There’s the energy of punk without being punk, the intensity of a noise act, but not really being that at all. It’s as if they’re deconstruction sound without ever attempting to do so. This driving and immediate sound continues throughout the album on tracks like “Stuck in the Changer” where it feels like it’s about here and now, and who cares about tomorrow.
The dissonant and removed pedal use on “Send Me” compliments the meandering tones and upbeat drums before the vocals come in and get as close to radio friendly as these two will get, even though that would never be their intent. The way they slow build to snarling growls on “Tidal,” the almost Husker Du sounds of “Popper”and the lo-fi aesthetics of “Squashed” all come together to blend in melodic notes you wouldn’t expect, making No Age the most interesting and accomplished in the lane. At times the album reminds you of so much while it reminds you of no one else. Like music from around the globe placed into a blender, No Age finds a way to take all that we love and reinvent how we hear it.
You can stream Snares Like a Haircut wherever you stream music, you can purchase it in digital shops, or you can grab it on multiple formats from Drag City Records. No Age will be back on the road beginning February 14 in Darlinghurst, Australia at Oxford Art Factory until March 02 at The Captain Hook Hotel in Dunedin, NZ. A complete list of their tour dates can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo by Aaron Farley.