June 18, 2013

No Age band photo

Let me give what you hint what Douglas Martin’s album of the year might be.

“C’mon, Stimmung” may very well be the most art-punk song title a band has decided to use in a long time. Coming off a lengthy hiatus, No Age’s first single in three years uses a title either derived from a German musical word for “tuning” or the Karlheinz Stockhausen piece of the same name, a musical composition from 108 different pitches which uses six singers and six microphones. I don’t know enough about music theory to tell you whether this song directly references the Stockhausen composition in its arrangements, but I do know enough about punk rock to tell you this is an upper-crest punk song.

A close companion to Everything in Between‘s big, anthemic single “Fever Dreaming,” “C’mon Stimmung” is a typically and wonderfully No Age version of a pop single, using a simple riff, a few power chords, and a perfectly distorted wordless chorus to achieve maximum impact. If their forthcoming An Object — which, spoiler alert, is probably their best album yet, and this is coming from someone who counts Nouns as his favorite punk record of the 21st Century so far — is a synthesis of every No Age release to date, this song is the part of the LP that combines the songwriting focus of Everything in Between with the blazing trad-shoegaze sonics of their Losing Feeling EP.

This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, but it’s a new high for the band, as Randy Randall sets the “nuclear” switch on his pedal board and Dean Spunt pushes his voice to its limits with growing intensity after each passing verse, practically screaming “I’m still alright!” by the song’s end. Better than alright, I say. My opinion on the matter should be old news by now, but let me reiterate it here: throughout their career and especially now, No Age is likely the best punk we have right now.

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