Flooding all receptors

The original no wave was a dig at new wave music. I can almost guarantee that you've never heard of any of the "original" no wave bands, but bands like Sonic Youth are direct descendants. In the late 80s and early 90s some (largely Midwestern) punk bands appropriated the moniker for their brand of screamer noise. The Jesus Lizard, Kepone and some other Touch and Go artists played with this sound, but the label really applied to folks like U.S. Maple and other bands that circled around lesser-known Chicago labels like Skin Graft. And if you've heard of Skin Graft Records, bless your sweet heart.

Ice Hockey
Wavefunction Collapse
(Texas Is Funny)

Ice Hockey takes the deconstructive notions of the original no wave, adds in the screamer noise of the later revamp and lets everything stew a bit. This is the opposite of chaos--in any incarnation, no wave emphasized a sort of nihilistic structure (I know, but bear with me), and Ice Hockey is no different. At times the rhythms are positively prog-like.

The official non-digital release form of this is a cassette, which is both hilarious and completely appropriate. The hiss that is present in the digital version will sound even better when slapped into a jam box (what we oldsters used to call those portable sound systems that had a cassette deck stuck between two monster speakers).

The adrenaline materializes not as a rush but as a wall, a slap to the face. Ice Hockey hails from the Quad Cities (there's that midwestern thing again), and I do get a whiff of the whole "life is going on somewhere else" futility that I also felt when I was stationed in flyover country for most of my youth.

My favorite moment, however, is "The Great Flood of '93." I remember that flood (it lasted an entire summer, and many parts of the Missouri and Mississippi valleys haven't yet fully recovered), and I drove through it in order to move from Kansas City to Battle Creek, Mich. The relentless, inexorable march of the water is the perfect analogue to this music. You can't stop it. You can't contain it. Just let it wash over you and clean up afterwards.

Jon Worley

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