Back to: News
October 4, 2012
Follow News

CRAVEN: A beautiful noise

When Neil Diamond sang about "a beautiful noise" in 1976, he probably didn't have My Bloody Valentine in mind.How could he? The band that goes by that name had not yet come together in Dublin. Heck, the slasher movie from which the band took its name was still five years away from being filmed. Anyway, Neil might not have considered the strange combination of atonality and melody that has come to be known as "noise pop" to be beautiful - but plenty of other folks have. Noise pop, which some dismissed as a passing fad in the 1980s, has proven to have legs.So what, exactly, is noise pop? The term has been used to describe many different groups over the years. Bands as diverse as harmonic punk rockers Husker Du and the lysergic experimentalists known as Animal Collective have had their music characterized as noise pop. But for many music lovers, noise pop means the genre in which traditional pop notions of melody and harmony are augmented by generous doses of feedback and reverb to create a "wall of sound" like Phil Spector never imagined.Although it has its precedents in bands like the Velvet Underground, noise pop, so defined, had its true beginning in 1985, when a pair of often bickering brothers combined their love of old Shangri-Las records and the buzzsaw attack of the Ramones to create the Jesus and Mary Chain. Jim and William Reid's debut album as the J&MC, "Psychocandy," blew the speakers and the minds of a generation of alternative rockers, and paved the way for subsequent bands like the forementioned My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo and Pale Saints.Eventually, the noise pop of the '80s begat the shoegaze scene of the early '90s, when acts like Ride, Lush and Chapterhouse dominated the alternative charts, until the grunge movement in the U.S. and the Britpop scene in the U.K. temporarily snuffed the noise pop flame.But re-ignition came in the 2000s, when post-millennial groups like the Horrors, Crocodiles and especially the Raveonettes ushered in a new golden age of noise pop. The latter duo made explicit the link between noise pop and the girl groups of the early 1960s, by covering songs like "My Boyfriend's Back," and getting one of that song's writers, Richard Gottehrer, to produce their second album. The Raveonettes' most recent album, "Observator," is one of several recent noise pop albums getting a lot of real estate in Craven's playlist lately.Other recent noise pop releases worth checking out are the sophomore effort from Best Coast, "The Only Place," and the new EP from the Dum Dum Girls, "End of Daze." And with great albums in 2011 and 2012 from other so-called "nu-gaze" bands like Yuck and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart still kicking up a gorgeous racket, there's no doubt that noise pop is here to stay. Notes is supported by the Gay and Lesbian Fund, helping the American Heart Association teach heart healthy habits in Colorado.

Explore Related Articles

The Post Independent Updated Oct 4, 2012 04:36PM Published Oct 4, 2012 04:35PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.