Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Power of Two la Duo No Age Brings the Punk, the Pop, the Noise and Everything in Between

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Power of Two la Duo No Age Brings the Punk, the Pop, the Noise and Everything in Between

Article excerpt

When No Age turned up in 2008 with "Nouns," the LA duo was heralded for a sound that was raw, noisy, arty, punk and ... gloriously lo-fi. Somewhat by accident.

"Lo-fi was something that sort of described our sound, but it was never an intention," says guitarist Randy Randall. "It was sort of for budget reasons -- you kind of make use of the crappy mics you have."

No Age, which returns to Pittsburgh Monday for the first time since an opening slot at Mr. Smalls three years ago, formed in late 2005, having split off from the hard-core punk trio Wives. After launching with the singles compilation "Weirdo Rippers," No Age signed to Sup Pop for "Nouns" and became an indie darling with Top 10 list appearances, a Grammy nomination (for packaging) and tours with Deerhunter and Liars.

As a result, Mr. Randall and singer-drummer Dean Spunt had more resources at hand to work on the follow-up, "Everything in Between."

"It was sort of, 'Oh cool we can actually record stuff where you can hear the drums,' for better or worse. But we did find ourselves in the process of making 'Everything in Between' trying to dirty it up, because it does sound really clean. I think in terms of writing songs for that record we were pushing ourselves to just experiment with the full range of frequencies we could make."

Like so many bands before it, the duo found itself in that perilous position of having to follow a breakout album with another attention-grabber.

"I think we were aware of it, but I don't know how you would attack something like that," he says. "We really write songs to entertain ourselves first. We have to think it's interesting. We're kind of the first line of defense in editing. But we didn't necessarily write it to impress anybody who runs a website or anything. It was more or less for ourselves. We were aware that it would be compared for better or worse. I think we were looking to evolve and push ourselves, like writing with samplers and not being afraid to have things to come to the front, in terms of the mix, like putting the vocals up there. It was never our goal to hide behind fuzz or anything."

As it turned out, people liked the hi-fi No Age of "Everything in Between," which was highlighted by the screechy single "Glitter," the squealing Ramones-meets-Sonic Youth punk rave-up "Fever Dreaming" and glum jangle-rock of "Common Heat" and "Chem Trails. …

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