No Age - Losing Feeling

2009; Sub Pop; Los Angeles, CA

Some things just enter your head. Things you can't close your ears to because they get to you through your ear plugs, sneak in to your subconscious and bang around in there, become the unintentional soundtrack to your walking around life. I really didn't mean for this to happen to me with No Age. Though their live show can easily be described as the best around, I never really felt their intense almost violent punk energy fit onto to their records that well. The first time I saw them they played for eight dollars in a burnt out art studio/black box music venue in Oakland. It was like being hit by a steam train. I cannot describe the emotion. People moshing and trashing not so much out of a violent urge nor out of the shear fun but more like their life depended on it. Covered in sweat, much of it not my own. The whole crowd running out of energy wile the music cascaded over us but goddamnit not stopping or slowing. A tool grabs the mic, gets punched down by the drummer, the guitarist stands on the bass drum and falls backwards to surf the crowd, still playing, we're just trying not to get pushed into the symbols.

And then, I return home, rip out my new white record of Nouns, the band's first studio lp, and was wildly let down. More electronic, more expansive, less direct, less punk. The needle lifted and I thought - a few excellent tracks, a few good ones, but it doesn't hold together. I put the disc away. And yet, over the next year, without me realizing, the record found its way back on my turntable, over and over and over. Its not that the songs were stuck in my head so much as trapped in my mind, I couldn't shake them out. I listened to Nouns with more frequency then any other album of 2008, more then most every other album in general. It snuck up on me, when I wasn't looking, and by now it's hard for me to deny its absolute brilliance.

Aside from the two singles off Nouns, Loosing Feeling is the bands first realise since that record dropped. Four song ep, not available on cd. And again, I couldn't expect it. Though I contest that No Age is a punk band, and the best one around at that, it would be hard to say that this disc had even the smallest traces of punk on it at all. Instead the band pulls out their more ambient, darker side. More white noise then nihilist noise. The tracks are calm, they are smooth, they are slow and tidal. Drifting over you. And at first they are easy to forget and easy to ignore. And somehow, once again, they have penetrated my defenses, they have entered my mind and are swirling around in there. They are distracting me when I am walking around. The chanting chorus of "We're loooooooooosing feeeeeeeeeeeeeling" repeated and shouted. and it make you feel like those times your less than half awake, wandering around your room to turn off your alarm and hoping that sleep will take you back.

because, man, it doesn't seem like it at first but these four songs have power. And in their brevity and their thin presentation it is sometimes hard to believe they exist at all.

1. Losing Feeling
2. Genie
3. Aim at the Airport
4. Your a Target

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