Notekillers
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Notekillers

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"9 SXSW Bands That Blew Us Away"

Notekillers
I happened into this gig with some friends fairly early one night, and ended up buying a CD-R and a T-shirt despite having no good way to carry the merch (and having not bought a shirt with a logo on it in years). Veteran Philadelphia- and Brooklyn-based band Notekillers is, in one sense of the word, sick. If you’ve ever tried to make music outside of the traditional tonal frameworks most of our ears are used to, without falling into the same tired tropes and frameworks, you know how hard it is to sustain that without devolving into noise. Like snow leopards, Notekillers achieves this on a full-on, nonstop level without succumbing to noise or facile negativity — and may have even invented the concept, or at least a healthy chunk of it. If it sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that: Sonic Youth, and by extension half of the decent guitar bands of the past 20 years, channeled Notekillers while honing its early sound. –Eliot Van Buskirk - Wired.com


"Thurston on the NK's"

“That record (The Zipper) was so heavy for me and Kim and Lee…It was this propulsive guitar instrumental that was just breakneck…They had a big influence on me…The music is way ahead of its time." - Philadelphia Inquirer


"CD Review"

“Astonishing...While the rhythm section churns furiously, David First peels off a series of scrambled guitar lines, precise even when he's improvising. His diagonal riffs are marvelously untraceable (Surf-rock? New-wave? Heavy metal? Free jazz? Serialism?), and somehow these dense compositions inevitably come out sounding like party music. It's clear this band ranked with any of New York's much celebrated no-wave acts.” - New York Times


"SXSW Preview"

“Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore swears that the Notekillers song, "The Zipper" was the inspiration for his band. That should be enough to go on, but if you're leery of reunion acts, let me tell you this: Notekillers are the real deal. Don't miss them.”—Maria Tessa Sciarrino - Her Jazz/Yaris SXSW 2006 Previews


"Show Review"

"a reunion show at Tonic was so ungodly potent that we're beside ourselves at the chance to see them do it again!"
—Mike Wolf
- Time Out New York


"New Single/Live Review"

"While Thurston Moore’s advocacy, and the resulting excavation of this brilliant obscurity deeply buried by time, makes for interesting copy, the highlight of this saga is the triumphant punch line: after a good dusting-off, the artifact that was revealed, more than merely intact, emitted a blast of sound unprecedented for a reunion band and unequalled anywhere on the planet."??"These are the first two new songs by The Notekillers in a quarter-century. I have no problem using superlatives when I say that they are one of the best instrumental bands of all time and I’m thrilled that they’re at it again.” - New York Night Train


"CD Review"

“...a harbinger of a new blues or funk that still hasn't been invented. The Notekillers combine a precision that makes them conceptualize "microtones" and a recklessness that makes them try impossible grooves." - Village Voice


Discography

1) The Zipper/Clockwise 45 single
2) Notekillers 1977-1981 CD
3) House at Pooneil Corners CD single
4) Go Play Outside
5) Airport/Ants CD single
6) NK's UNraveling Circus
7) We're Here to Help (TBR)

Photos

Bio

It was all pretty much fucked from the gitgo - a comedy of errors, quixotic intentions, strange music and stranger audience reactions. Misfits among misfits attempting to alchemize lessons gleaned from Coltrane, Fahey, the Yardbirds and Kool & the Gang (JUNGLE BOOGIE!!!), Philadelphia's Notekillers - David First/guitar, Stephen Bilenky/bass, Barry Halkin/drums - were radical exponents of mantric transcendence in an era largely dedicated to high nihilism and vitriolic fury. Their objective - to be a rocking vehicle for blissful, dizzying group psychosis - was a pipedream that turned over time to bad dream. Laboring mightily between 1977 and 1981 to connect with frequenters of the only places they could even begin to play - the punk clubs, the Notekillers typically found their efforts - outside of a handful of loyal fans - meeting with blank stares and derision bordering on contempt.

So, with that in mind, unsurprisingly, they were utterly and profoundly shocked when they heard that, twenty-some years after they broke up in confused and frustrated exhaustion, Thurston Moore had hailed their 1980 7", The Zipper, as "mind-blowing" and named them as a significant influence on Sonic Youth in Mojo Magazine.

You see, as it turns out, (in what is surely one of the few things that went right for these guys) our heroes left a few copies of their single - recorded as a last ditch attempt to reach somebody in the outside world - in 99 Reconds, the legendary NYC store that a young Moore and his pals (including other members of SY and Glenn Branca) relied on for their new musical infusions. In the Mojo article he professed to know nothing about the NKs other than their Philly origins and expressed that we've got to find out who these guys are.

Ironically, guitarist First - in his ensuing career as a highly regarded experimental music composer - had crossed paths on numerous occasions over the years with various SYs, but had somehow never mentioned his secret past. Sensing that it might be a good time to rectify this, he wrote Moore and 'fessed all. Plans were drafted almost immediately and, soon after, a compilation CD of archival material from back in the day was released on Moore's Ecstatic Peace label. And if that wasn't nuts enough, soon after THAT the Notekillers decided to find out if the world was any more ready for them now than back then.

And the answer coming back has been a most gratifying "YES!". They've gotten just an incredible amount of raves in the press and blogosphere (ending up on numerous best of lists) for the CD, Notekillers 1977-1981, and have been getting fantastic responses every time they venture out there to play a combination of new jams and old favorites. People seem genuinely stunned by the glorious sound and spectacle of these three guys - inspired by delirious audience members screams and their own desire to make the most of this incredible second opportunity - amazingly playing with even more ferocity than they did half their lives ago.

Make no mistake - this is no oldies act or yet another spent band re-forming to collect an overdue check. The all-instrumental Notekillers are taking their potent attack to a new and deeper level. More than ever, the Notekillers are crashing parties in multiple dimensions through the power of positive noise.