No Age

No Age, the axe-'n'-drums duo from L.A., has reconnected with the quirky and all-too-damaged spirits coursing through old-school American indie rock. Nouns' title stinks compared to that of the band's 2007 debut, Weirdo Rippers, but the jams are way better. There's this distorto-pop thrasher called "Teen Creeps" that rules the world. The lyrics — "Teen creeps, I've seen you on my street/Teen creeps get what they want, and me/I won't end up like them at all" — could've been penned by Beat Happening or Some Velvet Sidewalk or some other K Records icon. Singing drummer Dean Spunt even croons those words as if he's the hard-rocking Doug Martsch of Treepeople, not the whiny drip behind Built to Spill.

But it isn't all retro tricks for No Age — few of the tunes are built with the standard verse-chorus-verse framework. Instead the group uses a lock-groove repetition that betrays many late nights and early mornings spent obsessing over all of those awesome records by Lightning Bolt and Animal Collective. For better or for worse, No Age is even hip to the noise/drone scene: Of Nouns' 12 tracks, about a third are really nothing more than sampler-abetted clouds of pulsating static. Weirdo Rippers had way more of these, but one is one too many, in my opinion. I mean, it's cool that Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall flirt with avant-shenanigans, but what No Age does best is revive all the endearingly cracked humanity that indie rock used to contain.


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