Weirdo Rippers: Noise Punk Science!

Have you ever listened to Weirdo Rippers, by No Age?

If not, you should. Here, I’ve even included a link to the most accessible track on the album — I say “most accessible track” and not “the best song,” because there is no best song, and these are the pretty loose interpretations of the concept of “song.”

They’re more like auditory adventures. They meander and weave and burst into eclectic walls of sound and noise, a collection of the band’s early recordings packaged into 32 minutes of punk, noise, art, ambient, rock, drone and pure energy. What a menagerie!

There is no defining sound here, beyond Randy Randall’s static-laden guitar and the masterful drumming of Dean Allen Spunt. Together they craft soundscapes full of reverb and intensity that are appropriate for lazy Mondays with nothing to do, or packed all-ages venues — much like The Smell, where they cut their teeth and adorned their name and album cover for this debut release way back in 2007.

Yes, I am writing about an album that is eight years old, an album that is as old as I was when my last brother was born, a pleasant time when I had little to no conception of what rock music was. It looms high over the landscape of my mind, weaving a thread of discordant and dissonant noise in to a coherent whole, a blanket with misshapen knots and smooth textures.

This album does something to my mind. I hear the feedback in the amplifiers and get a vague idea of the process, but I can’t replicate it — I don’t want to. For me, seeing a thin film of static, punctuated ever so slightly by somber piano notes, rippling outward before joining with the next, is sufficient.

I want to explore this place, where tracks like “Dead Plane” guide me along a bright, sunny road out in the country before moving along to another scene in an ever shifting series of images that instill a calmness in me, before pummeling me with sudden bursts of unrelenting energy.

Listening to the LP, you can hear the seeds that were sown for their follow-up, Nouns, especially in songs (we’re in song country!) like “Eraser,” which maintains the lo-fi ethos of Weirdo Rippers, but introduces a wider array of pretty, fluttering guitars. I love both of these albums, don’t get me wrong — one was the starter, the other the polished end product.

With Weirdo Rippers, you never know what is coming next, and that is the fun of it.

I’m a sucker for experimentation and oddities in popular culture, especially in music. Weirdo Rippers is a punk rock experiment of the highest caliber. There are no edges to hit — just new places to explore.


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