Friday Night Noise: B L A C K I E and Talk Normal

B L A C K I E, "Pink and White Ice Cream Trucks": Noise-rap? Sure, why not? Acid-rap, electronic-rap, and rock-rap are all pretty well-established - if not equally, universally respected - so there's no reason MCs shouldn't be dropping magma-hot 16s into distortion vortexes and bottle-rocketing the results out into the public sphere.

Enter Houston's own multi-HPMA nominee B L A C K I E, a twentysomething who flouts a fierce, meter-disdaining flow and a name that, given its racial self-identification and unusual spacing, grabs one's attention immediately. While tracks like "Let It Ride" are fairly conventional - bristling, clear-as-crystal vocals, a stark, horrorcore synth motif that could double as a ringtone, artificially militaristic beats - "Pink and White Ice Cream Trucks" is a hot mess.

At least four or five competing forces are at work within this song, and none of them has the others' best interest at heart: a subterranian bassline that materializes then vanishes at intervals, a drumbeat that's disinterested in establishing a consistent rhythm, combative, free-associative verses that sound like they were recorded into a handheld tape recorder in time with a totally different song on some distant planet, and a rippling, shape-shifting scrim of disorienting feedback that seems, sometimes, like runoff from some other element in the mix, and other times, doesn't. FNN has absolutely no idea what this song means, but we could care less, and, really, neither should you.

Talk Normal feat. Richard Hoffman, "33": No-wave: it's coming back! Or is it? The online buzz for NYC's Talk Normal - and outfits like Portland, Oregon's Explode Into Colors (think Bush Tetras) - suggests a hipster hunger for the harsh, post-No New York astringence that birthed the likes of Sonic Youth even as scores of under-the-radar basement warriors confront the same sorts of sonics every fucking year, worldwide.

Sightings - who, God willing, will have new product out next year - are a prime example; whether it's telling that Sightings bassist Richard Hoffman guests on Talk Normal's "33" is an open question. Whatever. "33" draws malnourished guitar lines in the sand, juggles a nifty little drum signature with some circular clangor, trampolines up bits of lyrical vomit in a way that complements everything else that's going down here.

There's a nice balance between oh-so-necessary roughness and what might be termed a primal melodic intelligence; whenever these two get around to issuing a full-length, it's gonna be worth checking for.

Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips? Hit FNN up with MP3s or Web site links - but not MySpace links, seriously, because we can't access those at work and at home every spare moment is spoken for - at [email protected].

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Cummings