Remember back to the heady days of December 2016 when the phrase “President Trump” still felt like a waking daydream as opposed to a crushing, numbing nightmarish reality? When everyone’s favorite avant-garde whipping girl Amanda Palmer went on record as stating that “the Trump presidency will make punk rock great again”? You do?! Great! So where is all this awesome punk rock music, huh? Contrary to Ms. Palmer’s prediction, the re-flowering of great punk has been pretty thin on the ground so far. In all honesty, it seems like the only contemporary music genre willing to go on the record with outright “Fuck Trump” statements is hip-hop (which IS heartening if not particularly surprising.)
Well, fear ye not, as here come one of the UK’s premier noise-experimental-electronic-rock-whatever collective-cum-bands, Salford’s Gnod, who have just released their latest album, and boy, is that album’s title quite a statement! It’s called “Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine”. Let’s be honest, we’ll be hard pushed to find a better album title than that all year (never mind a political statement.) It’s not just the album’s title that lays it on the line: the music too is a blistering squall of white-hot intense noise that veers from claustrophobic soundscapes to straight-up punk aggression. It feels perfectly suited for those aggrieved at the state of the world just now.
Check out the album’s lead track “Bodies For Money” for a taste:
While the name Gnod might be new to many, the band have been plowing their own unique furrow in Manchester/Salford for a decade now, first coming together as an experimental jam collective, as founder member, guitarist and producer Chris Haslam explains:
“The first Gnod rehearsals were freeform jams that were recorded and listened back to, trying to come up with a set for our first gig at The Royal Oak in Chorlton on 21st March 2007. We decided in the end to just jam the gig out & invite anyone who wanted to join us onstage to jam along. The first few gigs carried on in this format, usually playing with around 10-16 people on stage. We recorded most of the shows and made CDRs of the recordings to sell at the next shows. Abstehen Der Ohren, Live: Birth, Lord Fears Dream, Bulletproof Awareness, Pixiedust & Gnod LP01 were all made during that first 6 or 7 months of Gnod.
At the time we were influenced by 70s krautrock bands like Can, Faust, Neu, Amon Duul, etc and also the ‘New Weird America’ bands, especially Sunburned Hand of the Man who we took a lot of ideas from of how to be a functional jam band. We liked the way Sunburned worked, making music without fixed lineups, a kind of communal project between a group of friends & interested contributors, handmaking CDRs and selling them at gigs, jamming with repetition as a means to transcend into the other. We were also watching & reading a lot of esoteric stuff at the time like the Zeitgeist films, Money Masters, David Icke, etc. Our interests overlapped in lots of areas, they still do.
Gnod also gives you a chance to branch out and explore other areas in the sound. There aren’t many other bands where you could just wake up one day & decide you’re going to play a new instrument at rehearsal. As long at it fits in with the vibe it’s all good. We also like going back to live drums & guitars too, especially for tours.”
The band are about to embark on a mammoth two-month tour (their biggest yet) which unfortunately for our readers in America doesn’t get to the States, but which does take in many major European cities (check out this post the on the band’s website In Gnod We Trust for dates and locations.) A gorgeous, super-limited vinyl edition of Just Say No… is available to buy from Rocket Records (see image below) and you can hear and buy lots more of the band’s music (including the digital release of Just Say No… ) at the Gnod Bandcamp page.
And as for that album title? What was the inspiration? Chris Haslam sums it up:
“Frustration at the selfish stupidity of humanity.”