The Night Marchers / Welcome…

Solid as a rock!

First off, I’d like to welcome you all to the new site! Yes, it looks remarkably like the old site. Though, I have updated to the latest version of WordPress, so you may notice little added features here and there. Unfortunately, one of the new… “features”… is that some of you may experience problems with the flash player I use for streaming audio if you’re using the latest version of Firefox. I searched for a replacement, but believe me… this is pretty much the only worthwhile option with any amount of user-friendliness. And since it only seems to affect some Firefox users (in fact, of all the people I had try it only my computer had an issue) I figured I’d just keep it on. Apologies in advance if you’re one of those few, I’m hoping someone comes up with an update that’ll solve the problem. As a temporary fix, you can try opening the post in it’s own window (just click the post’s title link), which seems to allow the track to successfully buffer and play. Now, on to the posting…

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The Night Marchers - See You in Magic

The Night Marchers is the latest project from one of San Diego’s most prolific musicians, the ever-rocking John Reis. Having disbanded all of his previously existing bands over the last couple years, it was only a matter of time before he appeared back on the scene again… and, as usual, the man does not disappoint.

In some ways, this project feels like a vehicle for Reis to revisit and intertwine elements of his past works into one. The most obvious comparison would probably be the Sultans, as homages to rockabilly are prominent in each of these bands, but the riffs are definitely heavier and the guitar work in general is more of the in-your-face variety (think Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt). Paired with a strong vocal performance (in a series of strong vocal performances) from Reis, the Night Marchers have kicked out an unabashedly fun rock record full of hooks and dark, hyper-sexualized lyrics. And it really works.

The album’s certainly not perfect; it starts out strong, but loses some steam towards the end with a couple less memorable rockers and a penultimate song that feels a little too Dandy Warhols-like for this record (so does the closer, really, but it seems to work better). Yet, let’s be honest… in most anyone else’s hands an attempt at this kind of album would probably come off as completely played out. But, it seems that when he’s doing this kind of balls-out, unapologetic rock ‘n roll, John Reis is simply in his element.

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Download: The Night Marchers – Closed for Inventory
Buy: Order See You in Magic from the Vagrant Records store

You can also check out some more songs (“Whose Lady R U” and “In Dead Sleep (I Snore Zzzz)” are especially awesome) from The Night Marchers’ debut at their myspace (linked above).

Nouns and Weirdos

No Age

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been indulging, some might say overindulging, in generous helpings of noise-rockers No Age. Though often described as a punk band, I’d say that while such a label manages to somewhat encapsulate their sound and broader underpinnings, it also sells them a bit short. Yes, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall adhere to a decidedly DIY aesthetic and their lo-fi rock often reveals itself in raucous two minute bursts, but their music ascends beyond the implied simplicity of “punk”. Now, you may be thinking, “Um, they’re a guitar and drum duo. Isn’t simplicity kinda the point here?”… and you’d be right, but with those meager tools, No Age manage to create some deceptively sparse noise soundscapes. On their awesome debut full-length, Weirdo Rippers — which is really a collection of songs from a series of vinyl EPs simultaneously released on five different labels — walls of feedback, distorted buzzsaw riffs, and calculated, chaotic, crash cymbal-heavy assaults of drums yield a work characterized by serene moments of surging drone and pure noise attack. I just wish I had spent some time with it a bit earlier, because it’d definitely be sitting somewhere on that 2007 list I just put up.

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Download: No Age – Every Artist Needs a Tragedy
Buy: Order Weirdo Rippers from Fat Cat Records.

Besides releasing an incredible album last year, No Age are already set to release their solid sophomore effort (and debut for Subpop) tomorrow! On Nouns, Spunt and Randall flex a bit more of their pop-muscles, crafting a batch of even more infectious noise-jams. You can even catch a glimpse of some non-distorted instruments (!!) on this record… okay, there’s about one. But don’t worry too much — while there may be some more pop appeal here, the album is still an uncompromising work. In fact, I’m even starting to feel like it’s better than Weirdo Rippers. In any case, it’s easily one of the best of the year so far.

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Download: No Age – Eraser
Buy: Order Nouns from the Subpop online store.

Watch: On top of all that, No Age recently appeared on Pitchfork.tv to perform a few songs and talk about the new album, awkward tour stories, and family expectations when they hear that you’re “a singer”. Watch the whole session HERE.