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Norwegian noise-rockers Årabrot delve into dark pop on Norwegian Gothic

Norwegian noise-rock band Årabrot have undergone many personnel changes over their two-decade career, and front man, composer, and sole constant member Kjetil Nernes has brought forth a different phase in the group’s sound with every one. In recent years, his main collaborator has been Swedish-Norwegian electronic producer and singer Karin Park; they’re also a married […]

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Live Skull combine new songs with a resurrected 1989 Peel Session on Dangerous Visions

Few recordings transport me directly to a time and place like Dusted, the 1987 album by foundational New York noise-rock band Live Skull. Founded in 1982 by guitarists Tom Paine and Mark C., Live Skull were a buzz saw of guitar-led postpunk that combined art-rocker sensibilities with leather-jacket sneer, almost perfectly encapsulating the early-80s Lower […]

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Exhalants transplant the sounds of New York and Chicago into their muscular Austin noise-rock

On their self-titled debut full-length in 2018, Austin’s Exhalants sounded oddly like a Chicago band. Austin noise-rock has a very specific feel: whether we’re talking about the unhinged no wave of the Butthole Surfers, the loose-limbed pummeling of Cherubs, or the deadpan country-fried twang of Spray Paint, it always feels more slippery and acid-laced than […]

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Noise-rock masters Uniform get even bigger, better, and darker on Shame

I’ve spent a lot of Reader ink gushing about Uniform and the previous projects of their members. With the release of their new fourth full-length, Shame, the band’s sonic assault continues—and so does my adoration. Formed in 2014 as a wildly abrasive industrial-noise-rock-drone duo of vocalist Michael Berdan (formerly of unreal noisecore trio Drunkdriver) and […]

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Legendary Chicago experimentalists Ono confront centuries of race-based violence on the transformative Red Summer

I could write a novel about Ono. This Chicago avant-garde group are one of the great bands, and their story is endlessly fascinating. Few groups that had their heyday in the 80s have come back in the late aughts sounding completely rejuvenated and vital. Most important, they’ve continued to progress, honing their wild experimentation into […]

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Noise-rock luminaries converge to explore despair and hope in Human Impact

If you haven’t already heard Human Impact, you could be forgiven for wondering whether the New York four-piece were soothsayers who’d prophesied humankind’s current struggle with an invisible threat. On “Respirator,” from the group’s new self-titled debut, vocalist and guitarist Chris Spencer (formerly of Unsane) laments, “We’ve made a mistake / Problems that can’t be […]

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Cherubs still haven’t missed a beat with their second postreunion album, Immaculada High

In their brief existence, from 1991 till 1994, Cherubs gifted the world with two perfect documents of streamlined, intense, pummeling noise-rock: 1992’s Icing and 1994’s Heroin Man (both on King Coffey’s Trance Syndicate label). The sounds the Austin trio hammered out weren’t too far from what their east-coast contemporaries in Unsane were doing, and Icing […]

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Imelda Marcos embody what makes Chicago’s experimental rock scene exceptional

Chicago is home to lots of technically savvy rock weirdos obsessed with unconventional song structures, odd time signatures, and controlled chaos. I’ve wondered often why London four-piece Black Midi has gotten so much international hype for their (perfectly fine) debut album, given that I can walk into Subterranean’s downstairs venue on a Tuesday and see […]