Nots – “Reactor”

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So I found out there is a tape version of the new Nots album. I will have to get it along with at least five copies of the vinyl which I will distribute to my friends.

“We Are Nots” is probably the most important album of the year. For me, but also for music in general.

An underground totally politicized American band, making a weird kind of undergound punk jazz. The basslines are pure Art Blakey aggressive ballroom dancing type of horn jazz riffs. In an interview they mentioned Sun Ra as an influence. They are incredibly listenable and addictive. Vocals demand repeated listens to decipher. And they say some pretty wild shit…

I hear talk of Reptilian, or alien presence on Earth–the drummer revealed in an interview recently that she believes in UFO stories. Political conspiracy shit, apocalyptic warnings, there is definitely an urgency in the telling. The synth elevates it to cinematic sci-fi. But the guitar solos are structural psych improvisations, with tonality specially.

I am thinking Public Enemy for some reason. Perhaps they sound  so relevant they can be representative of a youth movement spreading among intelligent youth. A kind of universal artistic creative ethos. Part punk, part pysch, part lo-fi, part essay. It spans numerous aesthetic levels.

Original Easley studio, before the 2005 fire
Original Easley studio, before the 2005 fire

There is probably a race amongst elite magazine critics to define their sound. The copy that comes with the pre-order release is pretty spot-on (written by a John Hoppe, store manager at Goner Records). Half of this band also works at Goner Records. So I see a pretty deep background story building that could be excavated in years to come when it’s time to pass down the genesis of a new genre.

I have already referred to the wealth of internet releases of undergroud 60s, 70s, 80s, European, and American undergound rock, post-punk, synth-pop, releases, along with proto-punk, and all the other popular musical subcultures of that era. Independent single releases of the day. Numerous blogs curating such music, mixing and matching genres. It seems to me that Nots spawns from a similar pool.

You hear something from 1979, that sounds like it time-travelled to 1998 or 2001, then came back to record. And it is a completely underground punk sound with a not-so-hidden blues, r&b, and soul groove. But really American (yet it was made in Belgium, Scotland, Holland, or Australia). This American soul groove thing keeps coming up for me but I feel I might be wrong, I will leave it in to be considered.

Androids of MU
Androids of MU

Then again, they are from Memphis, Tennessee, also the name of an ancient Egyptian city. They name-checked Androids of Mu (1981, UK proto-punk band)in an interview. Doug Easley recorded the album. A Southern state in a post-racial, post-Katrina, America, no wonder this is incredibly meaningful, and yet complex, and unclassifiable.

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