I like noise. I always have. And I don’t mean noise as in the simple vibration of air, although that can be a blast. I’m talking about musical noise. I love it when a song loses all apparent semblance of order and dissolves into noise and chaos. And now that I write this I realize it’s not simply noise that I like. I think it’s that very descent into that chaos out of order, that collapse into wanton formlessness, when a band begins with something measured, logical and sane but then cuts loose into cacophony and nightmare.
Examples? Sonic Youth. My Bloody Valentine. Yo La Tengo. In fact, no one is better than calculated cacophony than Yo La Tengo, and nowhere more than on their album, May I Sing With Me. “Mushroom Cloud of Hiss” begins as a rapid-clip jam but at the two-thirds point completely dissolves into a feedback freakout. Ira Kaplan wails on his guitar for a solid few minutes before James McNew pulls us back into rhythm with his bass, providing a thread around which Kaplan can wrap his noise. Order is restored. I’m also fond of “Drown” by Smashing Pumpkins for the same reason. The song is fine, but what makes it for me is the final four minutes, where Jimmy Chamberlain and D’Arcy lay down a simple rhythm track and Billy Corgan sits down and sculpts something of astonishing beauty out of feedback.
Most call it indulgent. I think it’s really cool.
All this just prefaces a little blurb about the opening cut on the new album by The Raveonettes. The new disc, Lust Lust Lust, is better than the last by a long shot. “Aly, Walk With Me” kicks it off the album with a grimy, marching beat. Sharon Foo and Sune Rose Wagner interweave vocals and sharp, brittle guitars. There’s a bit of plucked melody, ominous in tone, and then as the beat drives forward, Wagner layers a wash of vicious, humming guitar noise over the beat. It builds to the breaking point then fades, leaving the beat and a pair of ringing eardrums.
Now that’s what I’m talking about. Turn it up.