Friday, March 17, 2017

Nots - We Are Nots and Cosmetic

I met the ladies of NOTS when the Gizmos played Goner Fest a couple of years ago and found them to be wonderful people and a wild, punk/post-punk/noise group! Definitely a highlight of the festival and when they came to Las Vegas a couple of months ago I rectified my previous neglectfulness by picking up their two CDs (they had some vinyl, as well, but my resources were limited).

I am making the assumption that guitarist/vocalist Natalie "leads" the group, although I also assume that everyone contributes to create their unique, strident sound. Certainly influenced by the No-Wave/Noise scene, as well as a bit of goth (Siouxie/Bauhaus nods here'n'there), punk and post-punk (Sonic Youth comes to mind now'n'again), Discordant, but with cool melodic lines from both the guitar and synth (the keys add a terrific touch), super powerful drumming and solid, driving bass lines.

Maybe you can't exactly sing along with most of the songs, but you can certainly appreciate the angular, biting edge, the punk energy and the pounding beats. The guitar tones vary from clean'n'biting to heavily effected (echo/reverb) and interacts well with the looping synth lines. The vocals are generally shrieked/shouted/chanted (dig the repetitive and apparently sarcastic "Get Along") and song titles like "White Noise", "Black Mold", "Monochromatic", "Static" and "Strange Rage" give you a good idea of the subject matter and style.

On Cosmetic, "Blank Reflection" is especially strong'n'driving, with a non-stop beat propelling a Joy Division-ish tune, with fantastic washes of sound throughout. I keep wanting to turn this up louder'n'louder! "Rat King" is even more frantic, the synth lines really stand out in "Cold Line", "New Structures" has roaming guitar riffs that intersects the looping synth and crashes'n'smashes with the drums'n'cymbals, the title track stomps through your skull like a sonic Godzilla, "No NOvelty" is punk rock mania, I think I heard some fist album Siouxie in "Inherently Low", definitely picking up some Bauhaus in the jarring "Fluorescent Sunset", and it closes with an apparent jab at jaded audiences in "Entertain Me".

Although I might not write about it much, I am a huge fan of the late 70's/early 80's No Wave/Noise and Goth scenes (and I did just write about Rema Rema!) and these women continue in that vein and bring their own power and edge to it all. Love these records!