Far be it from me to say what’s cool and what isn’t or to champion with all the strength of my being a band or set of bands that are bound to save the unsavable genre of all. However, when I see a skinny, crazed and decidedly shirtless frontman screaming blood vessels to the utmost limit before they pop under his skin while the band cock and release shotgun blasts of deafening feedback and sledgehammer heavy power riffs, I bawl like the time my parents took me to see Snow White in theaters when I was a brainless little tike. Do not be misled, I’m much smarter now, and I only reserve my tears for the most brilliant, most baffling of instances that come around. In this case it’s the sudden noticeable flux of noise rock bands that saw release and major press this year.
My infatuation with noise rock goes back nearly a decade. Looking for a distraction from pop punk and all related entities, it seemed a good idea to get sucked into the tar-black undertow of industrial music and early grunge. My timing could not have been more perfect. Around the late-`90s, it had started to dawn on me that I was an unpleasant person, ergo my misanthropic universe would be best filled with unpleasant sounding music. There’s hardly any other simple—or at least cooler—way to explain why albums like Gutter Queen or Songs About Fucking speak to me more than albums like Hello Bastards or Punk in Drublic.
Noise really didn’t take a break when the few well-known bands left (Unsane, Jesus Lizard, Swans, etc.) died off or were simply paid less attention to, but in ’07, noise and noise-influenced bands were making stronger statements with profound pig fuck influences behind them that recalled in earnest the days if AmRep and Touch and Go while adding their own uniqueness to the sound. Liars, Unsane, Cable, Pig Destroyer, Pissed Jeans, Today is the Day, Whitehouse, Coalesce, Oxbow, Clockcleaner, Qui, Shellac and so forth all had new material released this year. All of them in variation in one way or another to the other bands, yet all roped together by the desire to bestow unbelievably painful and truly deviant rock unto less-than-suspicious listeners.
There were some incredible highlights. At the forefront are Oxbow and Pissed Jeans. Though Oxbow have been working at a cleaner sound, they are no less murderous and debauched on The Narcotic Story than they have been on anything prior. Pissed Jeans are scrappy young Pennsylvanians that play with muscular aggression that supports the vocals that act as a rock hard cock able to pummel the thickest of skulls. Steve Albini, Steve Austin, Scott Hull, David Yow, Chris Spencer and those two shirtless dudes from Whitehouse all pay dedicated homage to themselves dishing out the same abuse they normal take pleasure in giving to their listeners.
Obviously there’s still a whole lot of fun to he had and a whole lot of tinnitus to bear. It might come as unsettling to the most die hard of pig fuckers, rivetheads, glasseaters or Steve Albini that noise rock might see some popularity before the decade is out. On the contrary, I’m quite enamored by all of this buzz. Sure it’s annoying that all the kids will suddenly drop melodramatics for antisocializing but, they haven’t built up the tolerance like we have and will surely go a mindless rampage killing anything and everything they’re bloodshot vision can make out. I welcome such enthusiasm with much glee and pending I myself am not devoured by the hordes, this will make for a much more bearable commute to and from the job where no one wants to pay me.