Thrashing through The Noids and Lassie's latest split.
The Noids’ third release careens in and crashes out again with the kind of dark charisma that nowadays seems to only emerge in the dingiest corners of suburban punk scenes; fittingly, the three-piece band hails from Denton, Texas. They’re elusive on the web (in fact, this review has already relayed all the personal information on their bandcamp page), but their music, in contrast, is appealing if it isn’t overwhelming. I’m reluctant to use the term “existential anger,” but: existential anger. If you want to get whaled on in the mosh pit for no reason, this split is for you. If you want to fill a dark, moist alley with your anguished animal screams, it’s for you. If you think punk is hilarious, it’s still for you — The Noids never seem to take themselves too seriously. A google search eventually reveals that “Lassie,” to whom the release’s last two tracks reference, may in fact just be The Noids lineup, but with everyone on different instruments. “LASSIE IS SERIOUS,” reads the bio/battle cry on their outrageous Facebook page. However serious (or not serious) the musicians may be, this music can’t be discounted; its post-punky, no-wavey, eighties vibe is a perfect vessel for the abrasive content that makes Unhappy Dog noteworthy.
Opening track “The Road” wheels in with a feedback swell and a banshee guitar screech. The Noids’ female vocalist yowls plaintively over a maniacally consistent drum beat. Vocals throughout the tape are a treat: trade-offs between a female and a male voice are saturated in reverb that creates a sickly effect for the former and a monstrous one for the latter. Inspired punk taglines, the kind that can only be generated by a unique blend of lyrical apathy and innate creativity, echo in our ears. One lyrical standout is the howled refrain of, “Don’t really care, sit on the stair,” in “The Road.” Another is the chanted “poisonous product” on track two, “Poison.” The Noids’ gnarly lyricism is paired with impressive musical experimentation: “Fear” is a slow burner; “Regret” is wholesomely dark. “Polluted” is a highlight that features two distinct sections: one in which frantic drumming hazards complete chaos, and another in which the guitar jags its way through a rising and falling progression while the female vocalist sneers: “I shut you out and I’ll do it again.” “Greed” is incessant, but still disciplined. Its hook features a cleverly placed drum triplet that doesn’t even remotely make you wonder if you’re listening to The Strokes.
Lassie takes the reins on Side B, and proves to be infinitely more chaotic. The vocals are saturated in distortion and echo effects, and the guitar screams in its treble range, losing the structure that accompanied its dissonance on the Noids tracks. On “Lassie Theme Song,” the bass feels less like an instrument and more like a romping sewer monster. The nightmarish insanity of “Who Let The Dogs Out” is totally comical — at one point, the vocalist simply unleashes a languorous “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhhh” that lasts several musical measures. “Why’d you have to let ‘em out???” In the end, this tape is a ton of reeling, head-banging fun. It effectively toes the line between insanity and stupidity in a way that’s indicative of true artistry and spirit. If you’re looking for another unknown punk gem to fall in love with, grab a listen; if not, maybe the catharsis will still appeal to you. If there’s one thing that can be said about this forceful, haphazard, glorious release, it’s that IT’S SERIOUS.
Listen to The Noids on bandcamp.
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Jess is a college student from Nashville living in NYC. She enjoys February, tape hiss, and peanut butter cups. Find her tweeting self-consciously here.