Burnt out on a meteoric rise from L.A. dives global fame, the guitar-and-drums duo pressed pause on their public efforts in 2013, making space for nuptials and mortgages and children.
They’ve made a recent return to the touring circuit and, contrary to any wariness about a loss of youthful verve, their newest record, Snares Like a Haircut (out 26 January, via Drag City), presents evidence that their rock mélange is as vital as ever before.
They’ll bring an early heat to Berlin’s spring at the Gallery at Urban Spree next Thursday, March 22.
No Age are a pair of L.A. men who make music. Rock music, at bottom. Mainly loudly, aiming mostly forward, clattering at breakneck speeds and plodding gaits through broken curls of amp tones. They often take the cloverleaf interchanges that balloon over South Central, those congested HotWheels™ curlicues that render Harbor 110 a lunatic nest of semis and sedans.
They’ve been at it for a little more than a decade: Randy Randall titters the strings and the pedals, Dean Spunt sings and thumps the tubs and the cans and the pies.
Latitude and longitude stay static in the thrill of motion, and even when the traffic pauses, the dashboard bathes in sunlight shone through smog and palms, while fingers keep a rhythm on the steering wheel. They’ve been at it for a little more than a decade: Randy Randall titters the strings and the pedals, Dean Spunt sings and thumps the tubs and the cans and the pies. Little fanfare, plenty of fare for many fans.
The duo used to be a trio. The hardcore threesome went by Wives and Spunt played the bass and put out their singles on a label he started with the payout from a car crash at a bend in the millennium. They silk-screened sleeves and printed zines and pressed 12’’ vinyls for their pals.
Wives even managed a full-length and a half-tour of Europe; but Spunt and Randall booted the drummer on credible sexual assault allegations, wrapped up the trip with a sit-in (a sub, not a protest), and buried that name with a rockumentary cameo.
No Age hit the gas and burned past the highway markers for underground hype
Reborn and renamed, they returned in 2006 to The Smell, a former grocery and nexus of kinetic artistry set on a derelict stretch in downtown L.A. No booze or born-by requirements, for the people and by the people, the whole punk shebang. No Age hit the gas and burned past the highway markers for underground hype: they stole the show at gallery openings and undammed a spate of compelling EPs.
A hodgepodge of the pieces therein became 2007’s Weirdo Rippers, whose acclaim goosed attention at The Smell (its façade fills the record cover) and prompted a signing with indie megalith Subpop.
Success begets success: pithier riffs, a persistent curiosity, and moneyed A&R earned the duo plaudits and props for follow-ups Nouns and Everything in Between, culminating in their opening the Hollywood Bowl, in the autumn of 2010, for Pavement and Sonic Youth.
They aged. They married. They ripened.
A half-decade of vigorous touring took an eventual toll, and the fulfilment of their deal presented a chance Randall and Spunt to take a retooling hiatus. They swapped vans for strollers and fans for toddlers, picked up gigs in soundtracks and postproduction. They aged. They married. They ripened.
On the evidence, though, they did not mellow. In advance of their latest record, No Age reversed the polarity of their practice, tinkering with demos live on stage and importing their trialled takes to the studio, en lieu of the other way round. Snares Like a Haircut, dropped in January from the mystics and eclectics at Drag City, bears the vital fruit of their labor.
It bangs. It shrieks. It tracks melody threads into Gordion knots and out again, down the coast to the ocean.
It bangs. It shrieks. It tracks melody threads into Gordion knots and out again, down the coast to the ocean. It kindles the dormant ember buried in the beach bonfire of old reviews and sets the indie rock lexicon aflame.
The veteran and the denizen offer here something hummable and political, melancholic and glam, scuzzy and gritty and grimy and a bit like a lullaby, shoegaze and sockgaze (kudos to Drag’s PR department), split by the basement of a high school band and Lost in Translation, like LCD or Lou Reed but different, a dreampunk Gesamtkunstwerk (a very tall bonfire, indeed), something like Everything in Between.
No Age are a pair of L.A. men who make music. Rock music, at bottom. Mainly loudly, aiming mostly for fun.
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