[No More; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: punk, skronk, no wave
Others: Glenn Branca, Throbbing Gristle, Teenage Jesus

The vast majority of TMT readers are fairly young ”” we'll never know what it was like to listen to Elvis or Buddy Holly for the first time and wonder "what is this noise?" For better or worse, these artists come off to new listeners as tame, regardless of context. Most music distributed today, especially in the larger music market, exists because its sound has been somehow legitimized through prior bands who have stood the test of the market. This might be appealing from an accounting perspective, but concerns have been raised about its effects on the worlds of music and culture. These tactics were particularly offensive to No Wave and those who supported it, and as DNA demonstrate, much of the music now placed in the "No Wave" canon is like a car accelerating full speed ahead in order to hit the limousine of conventional music head on.

According to DNA guitarist Arto Lindsay, the group began when he was approached about playing a show by someone involved with CBGB's booking. Lindsay was close friends with the band Mars and could often be found helping them with equipment at their shows.  Even though he had nothing resembling a band at the time, Lindsay said he was in one when someone asked. Consequently, a show was booked for one month later, and in that time Lindsay recruited Ikue Mori to play drums, with no drum set and no drumming experience. This turned out rather well for the project overall, as many DNA songs relied on the pairing of Lindsay's signature "skronk" guitar sound with Mori's erratic drumming. The two often worked as a sort of Paul-and-Linda-McCartney (except without marriage or previous musical experience and from hell). Crutchfield acted as third member on keyboards during the band's early years and was later replaced by Pere Ubu's Tim Wright, who played bass. In other times and places, club owners would have kicked this seemingly ragtag group off the stage after one song. But the fact that they fucking thrived in their environment is one example of the unflinching open-mindedness characteristic of No Wave. DNA succeed because they were built out of a pure love for spontaneity, possibility, and experimentation.

It is perhaps for these reasons that DNA have remained virtually immune to the dullness which seems to attach itself to so many artists with age. DNA on DNA is devoid of tracks which aren't uniquely fresh, interesting, and challenging. Tracks such as "Horse" are of the more blatantly confrontational sort; a single note, repeated until it sounds like a jet engine makes up the song's lone melody, and the only discernible lyrics other than Lindsay's monotone screams in the track's nearly three minutes are "Get outta here! Go fuck yourself!" Conversely, the album features tracks such as "Egomaniac's Kiss," which sounds like it could be anything from the soundtrack to a night in Guantanamo Bay to a sample used by Lil' Jon.

If it sounds like I'm stalling here, it's because I am. I don't know where to go, and every time I've sat down to write this review, I end up facing the same wall: I'm trying to make sense of the absurd by writing about a group that did everything it could to avoid being put into words. DNA on DNA is certainly worth your time if you're a fan of this band, No Wave, or abrasive music. But those looking for holiday gifts to give to relatives or music to cuddle by a fire to: have you considered Wings?

1. You & You
2. Little Ants
3. Egomaniac's Kiss
4. Lionel
5. Not Moving
6. Size
7. New Fast
8. 5:30
9. Blonde Red Head
10. 32123
11. New New
12. Lying on the Sofa of Life
13. Grapefruit
14. Taking Kid to School
15. Young Teenagers Talk Sex
16. Delivering the Good
17. Police Chase
18. Cop Buys a Donut
19. Detached [Early Version]
20. Low