“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is one half of LA noise punk proponents No Age (along with Randy Randall). I’ve been aware of this ever burgeoning band since I was ironically given a ripped copy of “Weirdo Rippers” on Fat Cat Records with the accompanying lauding as the next Nirvana when that was still a thing. They’ve since been on Sub Pop Records for classics including “Nouns” and now in their most recent home on Drag City (these guys collect killer labels like lepidopterists catch butterflies) they’ve got another new one (following on from “Snares Like A Haircut” and “Goons Be Gone”) called “People Helping People” adorned with a domestic yet unsettling cover of a dustpan brush and broken bulb.

No Age have been typecast by people that want them so badly to be like a new Minutemen or Hüsker Dü, but they’ve got way Moore in common with Thurston and the Now Wave gang, or European glitchy electronica – less Minutemen than Matmos in terms of their sonic invention and typecast resistance. They are however a band that could definitely be your life. Been trying to get them on these pages for ages, welcome to VS, someone who’s been very busy of late with another Drag City release with John Wiese called “The Echoing Shell” also out, it’s the onomatopoeically surnamed Dean Spunt!

Here’s a taster from “People Helping People” – “Compact Flashes”…

“People Helping People” is definitely a piece, a complete work – atmospheric in opening, plaintive in singing, staccato in beat. It’s not so much songs as incendiary flashes illuminating a vaporous fog. It’s the first they’ve self produced, and it’s expansive for it. Partly with lockdown in mind, it’s the product of not playing together in a room, of a necessary ping ponging of parts in the ether and yet as with the recent other Drag City classic “Shebang” by Oren Ambarchi you never know where one person’s playing ends and the other begins. Perhaps that’s because Spunt and Randall are blood brothers of the sonic cloth, symbiotic and intuitive. With Spunt when lyrics come they come on like the Electric Eels fronted by Jonathan Richman, most notably on “Violence” or a mangled James Murphy on “Compact Flashes” with it’s glitchy motorik pierced with metallic string strafes.

At times it’s a cacophonous connection of bits, but it’s all much greater than the whole – if you’re looking for songs per se, as you may have expected from recent releases, you might want to reassess, and give yourself the time to listen to this in one. Which to be fair isn’t a huge commitment at a succinct 35 minute duration. But my, in those 35 minutes you do get taken places. It’s experimental sure, fast and bulbous but never deranged – just perfectly arranged. It even gets soulful in the reflective piece titled “Flutter Freer” which like a GBV song ends just as it peaks and leaves you wanting more. And there’s always another peak along in a blinding flash.

Here’s that inspired dustpan artwork…like an R Mutt adorned urinal for this uncertain generation.

Given the innovative spirit of No Age I was intrigued to find out what their drummer/vocalist has found audio edification in lately…without further ado, here’s Dean Spunt’s “song for ewe”…

“Merlynn Tree –
Look In Your Mirror

Was listening to this today. It’s insane how this track sounds. Could be a band from DC in ’79/’80, but no, it’s from Austin in ’67. I don’t gel with a lot of the garage rock stuff from then, Nuggets and all that, but some of them are absolute ragers and this is one, a special track ahead of its time. That guitar tone! Also, I love the drummers’ timing. It is all over the place but it’s very human, my favorite.”

THANKS SO MUCH TO DEAN SPUNT AND TO SIMON RUSSELL AT DRAG CITY RECORDS

BAND PHOTO BY BENJAMIN CLARK

Here’s the No Age artists page on the Drag City site

https://www.dragcity.com/artists/no-age

And “People Helping People” is out now, you can get it on the Bandcamp link below…

Here’s another one from “People Helping People” – “Andy Helping Andy” (more specific)