Columbus, Ohio's Times New Viking are coming to Nashville, and they'll be playing at The Basement Monday, Feb. 1. Their spiky, over-overdriven songs are just the thing to counteract chillwaves and the glo-worms and the like. It's rock, you know? Big, noisy, brain-piercing rock. Now, just because they're from Ohio and put out extremely lo-fi recordings doesn't mean you should compare them to Guided by Voices. For a lot of reasons. But I'm going to compare them to Guided by Voices.
OK, I'm not really going to compare them to GBV--not only are their songs more punkish, but their recording aesthetic is even more brutal. Things like guitars or vocals that sound muddy or distorted on a GBV record sound utterly demolished on a Times New Viking record. Watch this video for their song "Born Again Revisited" if you're not familiar with the sound:
Since it's easier than it's ever been in the history of audio to produce clear-sounding recordings, it's rather perverse of TNV to choose to sound this way.
And of course, some people hate that.
I'm not a no-fi hater, myself. In fact, I happen to like harmonic distortion on recordings. Ever heard "I Found a Love" by The Falcons? Wilson Pickett is just slamming the tape with his vocal--pushing it "in the red," as engineer types might say--and it is AWESOME-sounding. And no, I didn't just equate Times New Viking with Wilson Pickett. Just saying that pristine, ultra-transparent-sounding recordings aren't always the best, and that dirt dont hurt. The medium is the message, sometimes, and just because a band sounds like the aural equivalent of a Clinique counter doesn't mean it's beautiful.
So why do people hate the "no-fi" sound? I dunno. Because people like to hate stuff? Or maybe because they really do find it objectionable for a band to be unclear when they could be clear instead. For example, I was talking to Chris Walla once about Guided by Voices. (See, here's the comparison that's not really a comparison.) "There's shitty-sounding, and then there's shitty-sounding," he said, with the kind of face you make when you smell a fart or bite something that tastes bad. "I don't care how good the songs are." (Or something like that. It's been a while.)
I was, like, amazed.
Anyway. Times New Viking. The Basement. Feb. 1. Get your eardrums dirty, kid.