Music: No Age in a new age

By David Chen  /  Staff Reporter

Fri, Feb 18, 2011 - Page 15

Punk isn’t dead. It’s just dreamier and a little more refined these days, at least when it comes to bands like No Age, a Los Angeles duo that plays tomorrow night at the Wall (這牆).

No Age’s music is a hybrid of upbeat punk, pop and experimental rock. It’s full of loops, screeching guitar distortion and droning fuzz, but those sounds are sculpted around carefully constructed songs full of catchy beats and melodies.

Drummer and vocalist Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall have roots in LA’s skate-punk scene and started out in a hard-core punk group called Wives.

Since forming in 2006, No Age quickly attracted the attention of both indie and mainstream media outlets. Pitchfork named the group’s debut album Nouns one of the best of 2008, while the New Yorker profiled the band in 2007, calling it a “noisy, often brilliant duo.”

The band has also drawn praise and admiration from musical peers like Brandon Cox of the popular indie rock band Deerhunter, which played a sold-out show in Taipei last month.

No Age got its start at a community run punk club in LA called The Smell, and is credited with turning the venue into a central hub for the area’s up-and-coming experimental rock groups.

While No Age appears to maintain strong ties to the local DIY scene in LA, its music is also reaching broader audiences. The band is currently signed with top-shelf indie label Sub Pop (Nirvana, Mogwai, Fleet Foxes), and released its third album, Everything in Between, in the autumn.

One track from that album, Fever Dreaming, is a good example of the band’s artsy punk rock. The official video for the song (bit.ly/fkdNEO), directed by Patrick Daughters (best known for his work on Feist’s video for 1 2 3 4) does a nice job of conveying the music’s controlled edginess, and is fun to watch.

The surreal, vaguely psychedelic video for Eraser (bit.ly/3NMxL), from the album Nouns and one of No Age’s more accessible songs, is also worth a view, and could put concertgoers in the right frame of mind before the show.

Taipei indie rock band Touming Magazine (透明雜誌) is the opening act tomorrow night.