Well ... this is weird. The spring catalog by skate clothiers Altamont just arrived in the mail, and has a big-ass picture of No Age's Dean Spunt on the cover. On the back is a photo of Randy Randall being doused with water. Bully for them, getting their pics on the cover of a fancy catalog.
Oh, wait, this is even weirder. There's a record inside with three No Age songs on it. Must be a few duplicates from Nouns to interest the skaters who've yet to sign on to No Age's brand of punk. Uh ... no, these are three UNRELEASED tracks. Awesome. But still weird.
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Welcome to the wonderful world of product integration.
It turns out that this beautiful little thing is indeed the official Altamont catalog, and that the brand -- which offers T-shirts designed by indie luminaries and artists (former Born Against singer Sam McPheeters, comic artist Matthew Thurber, former Lightning Bolt/Black Dice dude Hisham Bharoocha and others), fancy, well constructed blue jeans created from uber-solid denim, and semi-silly but pretty-frickin-rad baseball and hunter's caps -- arranged with No Age to both design shirts and release a new 10".
How are the tracks? Well, the big side features a backwards-masked "song" that sounds more like Lucky Dragons or Sissy Spacek than No Age (really, it's just a few percussive bleets and blurts reversed). To call it a throwaway, though, would be uncharitable. It's more like an experiment. The other side features two "proper" songs. The first, called "Goat Hurt," is a little strummer of a ditty that sounds like an outtake from the Replacement's Hootenanny. It's messy but catchy, with a drunken beat a sloppish demeanor. The second, "Oh So Quiet," is, alas, not a Bjork cover, but a nice, humming post-punk track that, while obviously an outtake, is still pretty fascinating in its construction and presentation.
And then, quietly and with little fanfare, the band will be part of what looks to be one of the great shows of the new year: Sunday afternoon's six-band throwdown at the Smell, which features some of this city's best post-post-post punk bands: Mika Miko, No Age, Rings (ex of NYC's First Nation), David Scott Stone, and the great, rising Wavves, aka San Diego's Nathan Williams, whose self-title debut is one of the best lo-fi indie albums we've heard this year (think Treble Kicker-era Pavement; hissy and poppy). Show starts at 1 on Sunday.