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No Age

Los Angeles duo No Age update the spirit of early independent punk and hardcore by washing their spiky, uptempo songs in textural ambient noise. In their earliest days, the pair sounded like My Bloody Valentine remixing Hüsker Dü's initial SST output, borrowing from both the positive-minded D.I.Y. all-ages scene they were heavily involved with in L.A., as well as healthy amounts of art world stylization. The group has walked the line between these two poles throughout their career, from flirtations with pop-friendly melodies on their 2008 full-length Nouns to the blurred art rock and psychedelically informed punk of later albums on the Drag City label like 2022's People Helping People. Following the mid-tour dissolution of their band Wives, longtime friends Dean Spunt and Randy Randall formed No Age in December of 2005. Already active participants in the D.I.Y. scene centered around L.A. all-ages venue The Smell, Randall and Spunt quickly worked up a set of fast, punky songs consisting of only drums, guitar, and vocals alternately held together and buried in noisy samples of the duo's own creation. They played their first show within weeks of forming, and made frequent live performances one of the keystones of their musical practice. The first recorded output from No Age came in the form of five EPs, each released on a different independent label on March 26, 2007. Some of the material from these EPs was collected as Weirdo Rippers, an album-length singles compilation released later in 2007 on U.K. label FatCat. Positive reviews, growing buzz in underground circles, and an in-depth article on the band in The New Yorker all heightened No Age's visibility, as did the band's continued constant touring with an emphasis on all-ages shows and less traditional venues. They signed on with Sub Pop for the 2008 release of their proper full-length debut Nouns. The album was better produced and more pop-oriented than anything they'd done before, but maintained their raw songwriting and use of ethereal samples as a glue for their spare instrumentation. In keeping with the high-art aesthetic that the band had exhibited in their videos, album artwork, and various collaborations with visual and performance artists, the packaging for Nouns was involved and elaborate; it was nominated for a best design Grammy that year. In October of 2009, the band released the four-song EP Losing Feeling, which was followed the next year by second album Everything in Between. During this time the band participated in a wide variety of art projects in addition to their regular touring and recording. Along with various live film score performances, soundtrack work, and small-run publications, the band performed with video artist Doug Aitken and actress Chloë Sevigny for multimedia installation piece Black Mirror on the Greek island of Hydra in June 2011. In 2013 they recorded their third album, An Object, a conceptual work as much about the process and texture of music-making as about the music itself, with every single aspect of production and design handled by the bandmembers themselves. They went on tour, issuing a cassette (the four-song An Object Tour Cassette), then contributed covers of the Gun Club's "Sex Beat" and Black Flag's "Six Pack" to the extremely limited-edition box set Thirty Three and a Third and a Third - 333: The Half Mark of the Beast in 2014. That same year they had two songs released with issue 24 of the intricately packaged periodical The Thing Quarterly. Though No Age continued to play shows, they didn't issue any additional music until 2016's self-released 7" single "Separation"/"Serf to Serf." A full slate of shows followed in 2017, as did more recording. With the support of their new label Drag City, No Age released their fourth album, Snares Like a Haircut, in early 2018. Fifth album Goons Be Gone arrived, again on Drag City, in June of 2020. Both albums for the new label found No Age returning to the same kind of tightrope walk between fast, moody punk songs and the layered atmospherics that defined their earliest work. The duo's sixth proper studio full-length, People Helping People arrived in September of 2022, again on Drag City. The songs for People Helping People were written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and recorded after the band lost their longtime practice space. Regrouping in a home studio in Randall's garage, the album was the first No Age output recorded and produced entirely by the band with no outside help.
© Fred Thomas & Kenyon Hopkin /TiVo
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