Chicago based four-piece Negative Scanner bring their sophomore album Nose Picker to us through Trouble in Mind. Rowdy, lo-fi, and filled with a snarling joy Nose Picker hits the ground running with opening track T.V. and doesn’t let up. DIY or die attitude (all their stuff is recorded in their practice room) and a directness that fans of Sleaford Mods will certainly enjoy.
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Clint told me that Negative Scanner were getting curiously good reviews, with a glint in his eye that I inferred to mean “we need to whiff this out and tell everyone it’s actually bad, like all music”. Unfortunately that glint lived and died in that moment, as ‘Nose Picker’ is the indubitably fun record people have been saying it is. It gnarls and bounces in equal measure, creating some sorta middle-ground between an abrasive noise rock record and a Parquet Courts guitar jumble.
I love hearing this band get all knotted up and then untying it all. The guitars can riff as wayward as they like; at some point they’ll turn it back ‘round with a no frills chord progression that shreds with a careless air of “what were you worried about”? Overtop is Rebecca Valeriano-Flores, who yelps her way through these discordant hooks like she were dribbling a ball past defenders, never phased by the jaunty song structures blockading her. She’s somewhere between Ian MacKaye fighting his way through “Bed For Scraping” and Downtown Boys’ Victoria Ruiz, albeit with more doomsaying.
This band are loud and proud and brash but they’re also, dare I say it, subtle: I cannot get over how many emotional states “A Cross” suggests in the mere tone and melodic deliberation of its riffs, which dovetail gorgeously and sound nearly triumphant -- before returning to the angular disdain this band do so brilliantly. Guitar music’s good, baby, and Negative Scanner are now one of the reasons why.
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