Noise-Rock: The Essentials

Noise-Rock: The Essentials

Okay, so whenever someone decides to make one of those “essential”, or “the best of”, “top whatever” lists there’s always the risk of pissing somebody off, either because we forgot a band they really like, or they disagree with our list or they’re just simply bitter people.

Therefore, I’ll start right off by saying that this is just my opinion; it’s not the universal truth nor is it written in stone. So let’s all take a chill pill and just enjoy the music, alright?

  • Flipper, (I saw you) shine

Now that’s a band you just got to know. The significance of Flipper warrants them in any list about noise-rock: their style of punk, slowed-down, bass-driven, and heavily distorted,is considered asone of the main precursors of sludge. Oh, they also influenced some big grunge, punk and noise rock bands – ever heard of Nirvana or Jane’s Addiction?

“(I saw you) shine” is a perfect example of the description above; not only that, you’ll see where bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains got their inspiration from.

  • The Jesus Lizard, Seasick (Goat, 1991).

The Jesus Lizard was a band from Texas mostly active from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. They found success on the underground and alternative rock scenes, releasing a split single with Nirvana in 1993 (“Puss/Oh, the guilt”) and featuring on the soundtrack of nerd cult “Clerks”.

“Seasick” is a good calling card for The Jesus Lizard: heavy and relentless bass, hard drumming and the guitars on the top, not part of the melody, just doing its thing. And then there’s David Yow doing what he does best: whatever he wants.

  • Sonic Youth, Androgynous Mind

This band has known some unusual commercial success with a big record label. Sonic Youth is known forthe way they use their guitars: unorthodox tunings and altering the instruments’ timbre. Considereda key influence on the alternative and indie rock movements, the band has even appeared on The Simpsons.

Androgynous Mind is a perfect example of what the band can achieve with distorted guitars; so much so, Pearl Jam usually calls its chorus during renditions of Daughter.

  • Butthole Surfers, Eye of the Chicken

What do you get when you mix elements of psychedelia, noise rock, punk, electronica, sound manipulation, and tape editing? Butthole Surfers, of course! Best known for their chaotic and somewhat disturbing live shows and humorous lyrics, the band’s seen some commercial success, with single “Pepper” climbing to number one at Billboard charts.

Eye of the Chicken is part of the band’s first full-length studio album, released in 1984. It features all elements that would make the Butthole Surfers’ style known, plus all the antics of a band’s very first work.

  • The Velvet Undergroud, I heard her call my name (White light/White heat, 1968)

Andy Warhol, you’ve heard about him, right? Well, you know what? He was the manager of Velvet Underground for a while – so there’s no surprise they sound like they did, all avant-garde and experimental. Having known little commercial success during their active years, the band is now hailed as one of the most influential rock bands of all times.

“I heard her call my name” might not be Sterling Morrison’s favourite, but here we have a loud, brash and aggressive song, with a couple of atonal solos performed by Lou Reed.

Well, there you go. Just so you know, the bands aren’t in any particular order, I just added them as I went along. But what’s your opinion? Do you think other songs would’ve been better? What other bands should be listed? Leave a comment, so we can chat about it!

I am a very musical person, and though I like it all, my favorite genre has always been rock in all its forms: hard, classic, glam, punk, metal in all its glory.


I am a very musical person, and though I like it all, my favorite genre has always been rock in all its forms: hard, classic, glam, punk, metal in all its glory.

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