IfIHadAHiFi
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IfIHadAHiFi

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Press


"Party music for art-school frathouses? Libido-driven indie rockers sticking a boot up the frosted-over anus of Lou Barlow? Obnoxious jerks with huge record collections? How about all of the above? IfIHadAHiFi are the common area in a rockin' Venn diagram where no wave, garage rock and drunken dance-party people intersect. 'When we started off, we wanted to make really loud, noisy dangerous music, but make it pop and give it hooks and make it party music,' explains guitarist Yale Delay. 'The music is truly an extension of our personalities: four bookish record-collecting guys plotting their revenge on the mookish thug-rock that we had to live through.' The band are currently finishing a new EP, Tragedy Breeds Success, which Delay describes as 'more spazzoid, skronky and with more junk percussion and vocal harmonies.' The HiFi expect the continued wrath of dullards in Disturbed tees, and the love of everyone who can understand the merits of the Stooges, Joy Division, John Coltrane and Alice Cooper, ca. Billion Dollar Babies." -- Jason Pettigrew - Alternative Press Magazine


In Bluebeard, easily the most underappreciated of his novels, Kurt Vonnegut suggested that modern art was not only about itself, but about the simple joy of putting paint to canvas. What else can it mean, after all, if you are a Jackson Pollock just splattering away, except that you love to put paint on paper? And if you are IfIHadAHiFi, gleefully splattering your post-punk guitars across your rapid drums, fat basslines, frantic hi-hats and synths that spray from speakers like violent spurts of blood, what else can it mean, other than that you love to make music?
Post-punk fractures and rhythms plus frantic enthusiasm label this music as very "modern" indeed. Layers of fuzz ride out on rapid waves from feedback-heavy guitars, landing in the lap of percussion so violent that they blend with it, softening edges but creating new shapes and suggestions of edge in the spaces between the guitars, the synths, the drums, and the singer's frantic, feverishly earnest voice. No More Music is best appreciated with headphones turned up to a volume that most ear doctors would frown upon. While the musicianship is designed to seem haphazard, it isn't, and if the engineering is as financially limited as it initially seems, you've got to respect this mysterious quartet for what they've done with what they had. Barely-distinct sounds revolve around the listener, employing stereo effects that might seem hackneyed if they weren't so damned effective. You'll tap your feet, you'll shake your ass; that's a promise, not a possibility.

The irresistible "Gotta Disappear" stands out, with its layered vocals and broken but catchy instrumentation. It hits you from every angle and doesn't give you even half a chance to breathe. Its intricate patterns demand your respect as much as your obedience. "I'm In Love With a Girl that Steals" follows, lulling you into a false sense of security, then hitting you just as hard as its precursor did -- and then repeating the pattern. Finally, it finds a balance that you know you can't trust, briefly becoming almost a pop song (as close as IfIHadAHiFi can get), then spinning off into its component parts for a final time. "Watch You Disintegrate" is fun and creepy, with screams of "I'm watching you watch me! I'm watching you watch me!" It's at once heavy and light, danceable and oppressive.

The title track is far and away the best of the bunch. It has the most intricately layered vocals, the coolest call and response structures, the rockingest guitars, the catchiest percussion, the most fascinating, harsh-yet-beautiful sounds, the most amazing skittering guitars and the most surprisingly surprising surprises. It is, quite frankly, fucking amazing. It's followed by a sort of disappointing-by-contrast untitled song that sounds like the Metroid theme reimagined as a sweaty, sunny pop song. I wish they'd left it off; "No More Music" is the perfect ending note. The untitled cut is not.

So what does it all mean? It means that IfIHadAHiFi enjoy the act of creating music. No More Music, though it may not teach you to love again or perfectly describe your last breakup, is an unqualified success. It may not satisfy everyone, but anybody with an open mind doesn't have even half an excuse for not connecting with this album. Unlike most modern art, you won't even have to turn your head sideways or squint really hard to "get" it.

- Splendid


This remarkable album begins with one of the best opening tracks I've ever heard, "(The HiFi vs.) Potential Energy," which primes the pump for the remarkably consistent effort to follow. And that's a volatile stew of Nirvana, Jawbox, Big Black, Unwound, Dismemberment Plan, garage rock and dance-punk, which doesn't really accurately convey just how unique an album IfIHadaHiFi delivers. Packed with enough hooks to appease the dilettantes, loud enough to scrape the paint off the walls, weird, destructive and creatively free enough fully satisfy fans of the noisy stuff, IfIHadaHiFi's truly raucous music jumps out of the speakers and demands to be enjoyed at the loudest volumes. No More Music is already one of 2004's best, hands down. From Wisconsin, no less. - Rockpile Magazine


With more energy than a nuclear power plant and sass to match, ifihadahifi rip through their second record with speed, stamina and style to spare. The opening track...brings to mind vintage Satisfact with sinister vocals, space-age keyboards and sing-along chorus. The fourth song...has a heavier sound than the others, demonstrating that the band has a talent for noise and mayhem as well as more polished work. "We Need this Noise to Live" starts out with sounds that could be from "Contra" and turns into a frenzied explosion that convinces the listener the title is true. Somehow the band manages to be equal parts pop and pissed-off, making for a sound that is inticing and interesting - intelligence you can tap your toes to...{the record} burns with intensity and innovation, making the album a truly great one. - Skyscraper


If you're a noisy and abrasive rock band and you're able to horrify both teenage punk fans and teenage metalheads, you're probably doing something right. Ifihadahifi is a noise rock band you can only picture playing -- at extremely loud volumes -- in the shittiest of rock clubs, in warehouses in those sketchy parts of town or in one of those house parties you'll remember until your teeth fall out and you're wearing a diaper. It's rowdy. It's weird as hell. It's also good at what they do.

They're also free of any of the machismo or heavyset riffs that turn on the metal kids, and lacking any of the self-conscious nihilism of a punk band. Both free the band of the menu of possible cliches more than it does from an audience.

Taking cues from Sonic Youth, Royal Trux and Unwound, Fame By Proxy crams a whole lot of sound into each of its tracks. The protypical fuzzed-out guitars add a bit of bite and sleaze to the mix. A burly bass brings out the low end with trained efficiency. Theremin, synths and organ also come in there to thicken the storm of noise into sludge, and Ifihadahifi has a thing for letting a couple vocalists fight for your attention one minute, then come together for a punch the next. "Success! Success! Success!" gets its grind on with a one-track, minimalist guitar riff and a truckload of noise in the background. "Black Holes Resonate (in B-Flat), Baby" takes the mad-monkey locked snare and high-hat quarter notes into an explosion of discordant guitar whose abrasive elements only make the song more appealing. "Science Depends On Us" and "Your Head on a Ratings Spike" take the same sort of avant-garde confrontation as everyone from Big Black to Sonic Youth, and strip it of its macho, leaving it a fun-loving party sound.

As crazy and messy as Ifihadahifi's noise rock tunes get, it always ties them up neatly with absurdly catchy pop vocals. "Success! Success! Success!" borrows Dixie Jacobs to add some boy/girl ear candy to the plane-crash sound, and her appearance in "Defenestrate Me" turns the song from a howler into a scream-along number. "Science Depends on Us" depends on the goofy vocal track to pull the sleaze into focus, and "Get Killed, Get Noticed" is somehow catchy despite its ear-blowing nature. Stick that in your ears, you metalers and punks.
- Ryan Diaz - Aversion.com


IFIHADAHIFI: Fame By Proxy
Sep 26, 2008
By Tiffany Kilfeather

If they actually had a hi-fi, they'd break it. Their abrasive brand of charm is fuzzy, distorted, nearly incoherent noise that still manages to come together on their fourth release as modern, synth-enhanced punk. When its chaotic sound isn't overwhelming and catchy beats emerge, Fame By Proxy's garage-band quality is perfect for jumping around, letting your neck muscles submit to bobble-headed whims and shouting along to classic punk themes. Clever lyrics like "We're too busy running to be scared" and "There's no point of living if you're wasting time/waste your time," are typical gems from a band known for its love of wordplay. With their knack for writing rallying cries and ear for fun and functional racket, IfIHadAHiFi are TooHotToHoot. - CMJ Magazine


Discography

Ones and Zeroes - CD - No Karma Recordings - 2001
No More Music - CD - Contraphonic Recordings - 2004
Hot Nuggets! - CD and picture disc LP - Crustacean Records - 2006 (split with the Modern Machines)
Fame By Proxy - CD - Latest Flame Records - 2008
Miscellaneous compilations that can be found at www.ifihadahifi.net

Photos

Bio

Put Sonic Youth, Orson Welles, Devo, Prince, Mick Foley, and Nikola Tesla into a wrestling ring for a tables, ladders, and chairs battle royale. Who'd win? Well, Mick Foley, because he actually has the training. But the real answer is "the listening public," because the gigantic universe-defending robot that would rise from the sum of these parts like the vehicle-based Voltron would be IfIHadAHiFi, Milwaukee, WI's cacophonous wall of noise hiding catchy-as-hell hooks, dance beats, and broken bones.

Things never come easy for an antagonistic lot trying to write pop songs by burying them in as much unlistenable discordance as possible. But since 2000, the HiFi has slowly built a loyal core following via two full-length CDs, a split disc with Milwaukee compatriots The Modern Machines, five national tours, an appearance at the 2005 CMJ New Music Marathon, gobs of college radio play and positive press--including a spot in Alternative Press' "100 Bands You Need to Hear in 2005"--as well as an always captivating and combustible live show. If IfIHadAHiFi were a recently-canceled Joss Whedon TV series, the letter-writing campaign to bring them back on the air would be fervent, long-sustaining, and probably a bit vulgar and abusive. But that's the HiFi all over--too annoying and stubborn to go away.