Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged noise

Grinderman 2

Being a female Nick Cave fan is perilous. I'd say that it's on par with being a female James Bond fan. In both instances, women are depicted as vixens, victims, or passive receptors for sexually frustrated man-boys with clear objectives. In the case of James Bond, his objective has always been to triumph over various manifestations of Cold War-style evil in the name of God (or God's emissary, the Queen), gold, and glory. As a feminist, I know logically that Bond is misogynist tripe. Yet as an Anglophile and Cold War wonk, I simply cannot get enough of 007.

Newborn Slime/White Light Split

According to the Musical Family Tree website, musician Kid Primitive was so “enchanted” by the album Newborn Slime, by Castle Oldchair, that he felt the need to “create a sister album for it.” So, here we have the two albums together, like peanut butter and jelly smashed at the bottom of your book bag. Could this be a match made in heaven?

From A Basement On The Hill

My indie cred—if you want to call it that—is this: I was at one of Elliott Smith’s last shows. At the Northwestern University A&O Ball in 2002, Smith attempted to open for Wilco, fumbling with his guitar, breaking a string, complaining that his hand fell asleep, and never really finishing a song before trudging off stage an hour later.

Daggers at the Moon

I’m not sure whether Vice Cooler is insane, or a genius, or an insane genius. One thing is certain: Cooler is busy. He’s toured with Peaches (there is a video of them on his MySpace page doing a very naughty version of a certain Gwen Stefani song that won’t soon leave your memory), he also has written a book, and continues to contribute to magazines like Vice and Rolling Stone.

Arminico Hewa

When I was twenty, I flew off to Japan one spring with a stated mission “to be alone.” While this may sound more glamorous than it actually was, I did accomplish my goal. Unable to speak to anyone, wandering between cities and sights in dazed confusion, I was undeniably alone. It was either the best ten days of my life or the strangest—and really, it was probably both. Japanese band OOIOO recreate the strangeness of that experience.

Rated O

Brooklyn’s noise rockers Oneida revel in not being able to be pinned down to a definition. They also are enormously motivated, as their newest offering, the triple album Rated O, can attest. While they have been classified as psych rock or krautrock, the influences on Rated O are wide ranging.

Songs for Tuesdays

As their name implies, Australia’s Summer Cats' new full length Songs for Tuesdays is full of catchy, sweet melodies that are reminiscent of beach weather.

Rotting Slowly

Their name, Curious Mystery says so much. Curious instrumentation crossed with a mysterious sound as they fearlessly cover the gamut—a grab bag of indie noise rock, folk, psychedelia, country, and blues. It all works whether it’s attributed to their experimentation of sounds, or that they are just an experimental bunch, a breath of fresh air in an arguably stale climate.


From the opening chord of Mi Ami’s Watersports, the “weird for weird’s sake” noise music is an overwhelming auditory experience. Initially it comes across as some sort of “Oh God, this sounds like stereotypical angry girl band music,” then it evolves into something more in line of tight-pants hipster music. You’ll walk away with a headache, but with a speedy rhythm in your step.

Offend Maggie

Some people find Deerhoof unlistenable, with sometimes manic, screeching vocals over strange instrumentation. Some critics think they're twee, and some think they’re the best of noise rock. Most cannot slap a genre label on this expectation-bending band. There is occasional yelling and human-made sound effects, "Beep beep!" You have no idea where the songs will go, or when they will end.

Tickley Feather

Do you wish Animal Collective had a female member? We’re not there yet, but since Tickley Feather (nee Annie Sachs) has been opening for the band and their sometimes solo, acclaimed drummer Panda Bear recently, we may be closer to collaboration that anyone realizes. I’ll be the first to admit that noise rock can seem insanely unlistenable if you’re used to the uncomplicated ditties mainstream radio often provides, but with a woman like Sachs, you get a lot of substance.


I can’t listen to this record without thinking the word "self-indulgent." Imagine you are in a room with a piano, a bass guitar, a microphone and your thoughts. Nothing is written down. In fact, the lyrics and instruments stream out in paragraphs. You talk about your life, friends, family, text message conversations.

Rashaya & Resistance Cruisers

Matt Weston’s album Rashaya is a fantastic piece of modern art. It is unique in that it is not a standard drum performance one would find at a symphony or pop music concert. Listening to Weston’s music is a different experience in and of itself; there is a variation in the sounds that is reminiscent of the Broadway show Stomp. The tracks have a surprising amount of expressive emotion produced from the unique instruments.

Remixed & Covered

“Experimental” and “avante garde” may be the best ways to describe a band like Xiu Xiu. In earlier years their albums have come across as mind-boggling, nearly indescribable noise. Their newest release, Remixed & Covered, offers up some big-named friends that help decode the language that is Xiu Xiu. Some may call it pretentious and others may question its integrity, but it can certainly be said that credibility is brought to this double disc by the likes of Devendra Banhart, Gold Chains and Kid 606, to name a few.


I have to admit, I was a bit concerned when I hit play on the first song of OOIOO’s album, Taiga. I’m not one to discredit noise as a musical form; I even own an album or two by Agoraphobic Nosebleed. However, there’s only so much “noise as art” that I can take at a time, and as the droning and incoherent screams of “UMA” came rushing into my headphones, I was seriously contemplating the ibuprofen in the bathroom cabinet. Luckily, the repetitive yelps of the first song are not present throughout, and there are some good moments.

Four Songs

This New York-based instrumental sextet is unlike your typical rock band. Experimental and percussive in approach, Blue Velvet’s image is organic and minimal: Their music has no vocals, no electric bass, no standard rock-drum kit and no loops or samples. Is it then worth listening to? Hell …Yeah! “Docile 1” and “Docile 2” from their EP Four Songs has a Hitchcock-style to it: strings cut harshly and are repetitive, producing a drony and eerie quality.

Sangue Puro

Sangue Puro is entrancing from its entrance. We don't question the electronics, but we wait for a rhythm, a melody and a disposal. Here is a band with some notoriety, yet this album sounds utterly bizarre if you compare it with previous takes. It's more noise, less pop. It works for me better, in the way that Erase Errata works for me, as infectious and more exciting at each listen.


Cryptograms, Deerhunter’s first album on Kranky, is the product of an extremely tumultuous time in the band’s life. After losing a member, the band tried recording the album in a single day early 2005. Deemed a failure at the time, this session makes up the first half of this album - a discordant, noisy, at times psychedelic tangle of guitars and yelps. “Cryptograms” and “Lake Somerset” take some elements of drone and noise rock and combine them with psychedelic elements, to make them more palatable, but no less interesting.