Times New Viking – No Room to Live from Merge Records on Vimeo.

First time I saw Times New Viking was at SXSW. Siltbreeze showcase well past 1:00 a.m., huddled in a lightless second-floor cavern – behind me, a guy hawking tapes and LP’s of records I’d never heard of — obscure Rust Belt bands with names resembling esoteric industrial afflictions. Level of noise matched only by that one other time I saw My Bloody Valentine and felt like I’d sliced my stomach with a Samurai Sword, like I was committing Seppuku. A violent disemboweling of sound: abraded guitars, Valkyrie drums, and vocals bathed in Beam.

Should’ve been awful, but it wasn’t. There were songs in there alright, but like many of their peers, TNV had opted to disguise them in hideous shapes. It was exhilarating though, like stepping out into a New York City wind tunnel in winter — mess of dwindling light, obscene velocity, and ferocious attack. The sort of thing that causes your heart to palpitate at tricky time signatures. Since then, they’ve abandoned antagonization. Their new songs have a psych-pop appeal, not dissimilar to the Love songs I posted yesterday. The Nuggets-style garage din so popular in San Francisco, but tailored to their Columbus Guided by Voices worship.

The news broke today that Times are rolling with Merge — an odd fit, but a good one (because like Roc-A-Fella, they got money). They’re ready for the leap, and I suspect they step into the arena with a fully formed identity. A bunch of weirdos who have learned how to disguise themselves as normals, without having to dilute their sound. “No Room to Live” is the first single off their forthcoming Dancer Equired, and it’s very good. Melodies forged from chaos, noise re-purposed as pop, etc. Haven’t seen Times New Viking since that night and I suspect that’s a mistake.

MP3: Times New Viking-“No Room To Live”

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