"My Life's Alright Without You" by No Age
The two main members of the Los Angeles indie-punk collective No Age have a fine-arts sensibility, which manifests in a flair for presentation. Dean Spunt and Randy Randall's debut LP, Weirdo Rippers, has been culled from five vinyl EPs and singles that No Age released simultaneously on separate labels last year, and it's stocked with songs that make excellent use of negative space. Weirdo Rippers sports the primitive acidity of lo-fi brats like Pavement, Clinic, Wire, and early Ramones, but Spunt and Randall keep cutting pieces out, to see if the structure will hold. No Age's approach to punk abstraction pays off best on songs like "I Wanna Sleep" and "My Life's Alright Without You," where the band creates pools of hypnotic guitar murk, then abruptly clears it away to reveal snappy beats and scraps of melody. It's as though No Age has access to a mixing board loaded up with all the possible variations of a song, and Spunt and Randall are getting off on punching random buttons.