NY DIY band Noods played their first live show ever with Speedy Ortiz all the way back in 2016. That was half a decade ago and it feels like even longer than the sheer number of days that passed between now and then seems possible to account for. Today is a new day though. And everything that happened in those five years has led us to the understanding we have of ourselves in this moment. An understanding of the need to address racial justice at the local government level and the immediate need to address police violence in our neighborhoods. The recognition of the need to emerge from our data-optimized, digital cocoons and be sociable in ways that are not mediated by algorithms. And a renewed optimism surrounding activism and transformative political projects. This boon to our sociability and improved self-conception is also the product of what many of us discovered was lacking in our lives during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that being an intense sense of alienation. That alienation was always there. But our experience of it was intensified by isolation and the stress of keeping the engines of commerce turning under extraordinary circumstances. Now that a vaccine has finally arrived, and the possibility of returning to a more normal way of life appears on the horizon, the necessity of changing the circumstances of our estrangement from one and other and the conditions of our oppression seem more important than ever.
Noods doesn’t address the politics of our time directly on their debut LP Blush, however, their sound and presence are an invariable product of the basis of our more critical contemporary movements: community. Community and connectedness are rebellious themes in an optimized world, mediated by images and experienced vicariously through screens. Empathy is another large component of this puzzle. The necessity of being able to understand and appreciate the interiority of someone else and respect it as similarly constituted as your own. And as I’m sure you’ve already surmised, empathy plays a large role as a theme in Noods’s debut as well. In fact, it’s the name of the fourth track!
Noods sound can be traced to the confluence and intersecting currents of the North East. You’re going to hear the familiar ring of Lemuria’s tender-core, with a taste of lip-chewing songwriting with a hint of Evan Dando’s long-haired acoustic punk, and feel the burn of The Erg’s urge to decimate speakers with fuzz-loaded pop-bombs, as well as get flush with the warm blush of a Worriers-esque confessional bop. The entire experience feels level-headed and confident in its emotional responses and assessments. The hotter numbers like the spinny “Ego” and the grumble-creep of “Pillow” still feel molded by a sense of maturity and an earned sense of place. While the quieter numbers, those like “You Don’t Know Me” and “Pink Cabbage,” manage to burn with a slight intensity that feels like it could survive a hail storm (and probably has).
The best track on the album though, is the steady spring and skip of “Donkey Kong,” where the vocal melody strides on the peeks of a cresting guitar line, that seems to give the song a little more lift with each measure, making it feel like you and singer Trish Dieudonne are walking on water. It’s a beautifully buoyant jam about learning what you want out of life, and who you want to live it with, and having the courage to give voice to these revelations. Communication is key in relationships and community building, and it is a skill that Noods has condensed into a fine art form on their debut LP, Blush.
Stream Blush below via Bandcamp: