A couple of years ago I had the extreme displeasure of watching Kill Your Idols, a half-hearted documentary on the influential and avant-garde No Wave music scene of the 1970s. All the film really amounted to was a lot of pathetic posturing about how much better it was “back when the music really meant something, man” (if I never again have to hear Glenn Branca complaining about the apathy and uncreativity of today’s musicians I will consider myself to have led a rewarding and fulfilling life.) The most embarrassing parts, though, featured the shoe-horned, modern “art bands” the director chose to juxtapose the early pioneers with; do Theoretical Girls, Suicide, and James Chance really remind you of Gogol Bordello, A.R.E. Weapons, or (shutter) the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in either sound or ideology? I’d suspect not.
And so I was immediately interested when I started reading about Talk Normal, a duo hailing from Brooklyn, NY that has played with Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and whose lead vocalist has garnered comparisons both ‘good’ (she sounds like Lydia Lunch!) as well as ‘sketchy’ (she sounds like Karen O!). At best I expected nothing more than an all-female Suicide ripoff, and at worst I thought it would sound like two girls who listened to “Maps” way too often in college. What I got was something a lot more interesting than either of those prospects: a solid noise record that both embraces and transcends its avant-garde sound.