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Talk Normal Needs to Shut its Mouth

The coolest thing about Laurie Anderson is that she’s married to Lou Reed. But considering Reed hasn’t been worth a damn since the mid ‘70s, that’s not saying too much. Regardless of one’s personal perspectives on these two omnipresent New Yawk art losers, each has created a body of work that can’t seem to stop influencing new bands that just kinda stink. Yeah, the fact that Metal Machine Music was all concept and no music is important – and in just about the same way as the noise for noise’s sake groups that comprised the No Wave scene during the end of the ‘70s and into the ‘80s.

The problem with all of that – compounded by the ever increasing underground infatuation with knob twisting as music – is the fact that every noisome act outta Brooklyn gets drooled over for six to ten months, is forgotten about and then an anthology gets issued. Fine, some of that’s hyperbole, but has music and art gotten to the point that aping the confrontational nature of punk and coupling it with atonal screeds of garbage constitutes something worthy of comment?


Well, Brooklyn’s Talk Normal is big in Europe. And the duo (Andrya Ambro and Sarah Register) has seen fit to head over there for a pretty extensive tour. It’s on the heels of a handful of CD-R releases, an EP and last year’s proper full length Sugarland. Granted, that’s a lotta stuff to fit in over the course of a few years and the band’s persistence should be applauded. But the grunted vocals and purposefully ridiculous music that each release spews forth isn’t only dated, but kinda boring.

Surely, folks can find excitement in gut-bucket music, just not always and not on Sugarland. No Wave is fast becoming an integral part of the underground music world, thanks in part to Thurston Moore and Byron Coley’s book covering the scene. But that hasn’t translated into good music. What’s odd, though, is that bands as talented as Zs, who truck in some combination of free jazz and No Wave haven’t been embraced. That ever-shifting crew annotates compositions, spits out freely improvised passages and somehow is able to skirt defining itself with a single sound from release to release.

Talk Normal probably won’t be able to work that all out as it moves around in its record collection that dates between 1976 and 1984. Surely presumptuous, but tracks like “Transmission Lost” come off like a lost work circa 1982 that no one cared about in the first place. “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” promises a bit as the song begins in hushed tones, but soon kicks into its vacuous thrashing and moaning.

There’s always going to be a market for this – although, that’s obviously not why Talk Normal is making music. So any detractors, myself obviously included, should probably just keep on moving. And while this won’t and can’t be for too many people, Talk Normal possess the innate ability to haunt your favorite DIY venue on and off again for the better part of the next decade.