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The Notekillers - Songs and Jams Vol. 1 (American Bushmen)

21 June 2016

Though only together initially from 1977 to 1981 and able to release only one single (“The Zipper”) during that time, a mention by fan Thurston Moore in Mojo magazine (which eventually led to an archival release on Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label) led guitarist David First to reform The Notekillers after a 20 year hiatus. At this point, they’ve been together far longer than their original incarnation under the Notekillers name and after 2010’s We’re Here to Help (remarkably, their first full-length album), they now release their 2nd full-length, engineered by Steven Silverstein with help from the lateYianni Papadopoulous, who also worked on their previous album.

Neatly divided between side 1 (the “songs” side) and side 2 (the “jam” side), the album is a continuation of the precise, repetitive, noisy sound that the band has been known for since their formation in the punk/no wave era. Only one song has vocals (“Missilebones” with the vocalist being Shelley Hirsh) whereas the others are all instrumental. Instead of a jam band style “jam”, the jam on side 2 is a noisy one that’s far more aggressive than the more concise, song-oriented side 1. Both are enjoyable and will please fans, though perhaps side 2 stands out more as the intensity and volume are pushed to the utter maximum limit. One can think of The Notekillers as the precursors to the type of noise rock prominent in the ’90s on labels such as Amphetamine Reptile as well as instrumental power trios of that era such as Don Caballero.