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No Age Debuts Songs On Daytrotter, Dean Remembers Founding PPM

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Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM
click to enlarge JOHNNIE CLUNEY
  • Johnnie Cluney

Last week, live session institution Daytrotter -- based in Illinois, ubiquitous across the music blogosphere -- released a fresh set of songs from L.A. hometown heroes, No Age. None of the three tracks has been recorded heretofore (except, perhaps, for the album the duo is currently recording), and each is available for streaming and downloading here.

Daytrotter founder Sean Moeller, a sometimes music journo and all-around aural enthusiast, had this to say:

"They still prefer playing at house and basement shows, performing in front of all ages crowds - shows that might not net an exceptionally lucrative guarantee payout, but will most definitely win them fans that will loyally follow anyone they've been able to chat up in a dirty kitchen, right next to the living room where the "stage" just was. [Randy] Randall and [Dean] Spunt make the kind of music that is best left untouched, sans any sort of accoutrements or enhancement."

It's a convincing pitch, but listening to the new songs, one is inclined to agree. Without all the pesky amplification that accompanies No Age's thrilling stage show, the pair's subtle approach to texture and structure is king, even as some of that live urgency persists.

As for the songs'' origins, "N.G.F.S." is an old garage-y jammer that's twice evaded studio capture, "Hard Trash" is an ethereal piece built of the samples used on Losing Feeling track "You're A Target," and "Depletion" is a fresh ripper, no frills.

Read on to catch up on your No Age news.

Randall recently dropped a few choice nuggets about the band's pending second album in an interview with Pitchfork. On new directions:

"For the [Losing Feeling] EP, we were looking to explore the options of the sounds we had, going with more sample-based ideas -- not using samples just as a backing track but writing with them as another instrument. Anyone familiar with our sound knows it's not just stripped-down guitar and drums, even though it's just the two of us. [...] We've been incorporating the samples as part of the rhythm, as part of the melody, as part of just the larger textured pattern of it.

"...it's [now] becoming more integrated. I don't think it stands out as, I don't know, a Paul's Boutique with cut-up samples. We aren't sampling other records; we are making the samples ourselves and working through them electronically to get them to a sound we like. It's kind of a sound-collage element that's rooted in the songwriting process for some of the tracks, and some of them are sort of straight-up songs with textures and flurries of sampled sounds."

On funny titles tacked to an as-yet-unnamed song:

"I think the best one was "Fuck Prop 8 in the Face.'"

Huzzah! Meanwhile, as Randall's been looking to the future, Spunt has been spending some time reflecting on the past. His record label, Post Present Medium, was founded in 2001 and became the initial recording hub of The Smell's buzzing constellation of bands. Via the No Age blog, he recently reminisced on the imprint's earliest days and its first release by a long-lost Northwestern band called The Intima.

"I still lived with my parents at the time, and [The Intima] came down the West Coast pretty regularly. I even set up a show for them at a restaurant I worked at called Vegan Express (it was the first show I did there [of] a handful, it could fit maybe 40 people if you crammed [and] I didn't even have a PA because I didn't even really know that a band needed one!). I eventually got a settlement from an auto accident I was in and decided I wanted to start a label."

That auto accident, of course, was the one that involved Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson, a.k.a. the beady-eyed one with a goatee (as opposed to the bespectacled one with a bad mustache). Read more of Spunt's delightful remembrances here.

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