New Audio: Memphis’ Nots Returns with an Expansive, Abrasive and Politically Charged, New Single

With the release of their 2014 full-length debut We Are Nots Memphis, TN-based synth punk/thrash punk/noise punk quartet Nots, featuring their current lineup of Natalie Hoffman (vocals, guitar) and Charlotte Watson (drums), Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra Eastburn (synths) have received a growing national profile and became JOVM mainstay artists for a sound that owes a great debt to 60s garage rock, punk, thrash punk, no wave and new wave — complete with a frenetic, unhinged and deeply visceral feel. Since the release of We Are Nots, the band has released a number of singles, including the “Shelf Life”/”Virgin Mary” 7 inch, which revealed that the Memphis-based quartet had been expanding upon the sound that had first captured the attention of the blogosphere, as well as focusing on deeper thematic concerns.

September 9, 2016 will mark the release of Nots highly-anticipated sophomore effort Cosmetic through Goner Records, and the album reportedly focuses on and attacks the rough edges between desire, deceit, appearances and reality. And as the band’s frontwoman Natalie Hoffman explains in press notes, the album’s first single “Entertain Me” “is a song in a constant state of movement and deterioration around one central, repeating part. No two live versions of it sound the same. Drawing influences from experimental no wave, postpunk, and psychedelic music, ‘Entertain Me’ takes its cues from the edges of genres, where one begins to blend into another, and nothing is easily classified. The lyrics reflect the cyclical, distorted nature of the song, addressing different facets of the grotesque horror show going on in American politics and how they are portrayed- the rise of Trump, the reality-TV-like nature of American news, the almost-forced compliance of the viewer, and the for-profit-constructed “right” of the viewer, the consumer, to require constant entertainment in order to participate, and to live.”

Clocking in at a little over 7 minutes, “Entertain Me” is arguably Nots’ noisiest, most frenetic and most sprawling song as swirling layers of guitar chords are played through wah wah pedal and other distortion pedal, furious bleeping and squeaking and squawking synths, howled vocals fed through distortion and propulsive drumming are held together (somewhat) by a a throbbing and insistent bass line in a song that structurally and sonically reminds me of The Church‘s “Chaos” and Disappears‘ “Kone”  — but angrier and much more abrasive, as though capturing the frustration, powerlessness of its narrator, a narrator who is struggling to find some footing in a perverse, fucked up world.