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Punk rock in 2016 is a strange beast. At this point, the attitude and aesthetic have practically overtaken the musical aspect. Not only can music be punk, but also scientists, Sade (what?) and Kim Kardashian (gross). So in a full circle-type of way it's actually refreshing to hear a noisy, sneering punk band cobble together a great punk rock album free of irony or false ambition. Enter East Bay troublemakers Nopes with Never Heard Of It.

If there's a single theme that encompasses the album, it's that Nopes know their history. Singer Alex Petralia recalls both Iggy Pop in his Stooges prime and Husker Du's Bob Mould, icons of two very different scenes but still punk at heart. Opener "Screens" centers around a simple descending guitar riff; reduce the distortion and it could easily find a place in the Nuggets box set. Songs like "3:00" and "Duran Duran Duran" further solidify the Husker Du/post-hardcore connection, incorporating melodies and extended instrumental passages not typically found in straightforward punk. "Saigon/Stow" and "Cubes" evoke the faster, more metallic styling of fellow Oakland punks Lecherous Gaze, while Eagret Hansen's guitar work on "Corners" has a spastic psychobilly quality. "Ditches" closes the album with an almost anthemic chord pattern straight from The Replacements' songbook. All the songs are sufficiently lo-fi and scuzzy but never sloppy; it's obvious the band says "yep" to practice.

For all the additional elements Nopes incorporate, Never Heard Of It is anything but overdone. Even within the longer, relatively complex song structures there is still a burning energy and go-for-broke vibe shot through the proceedings. Your new soundtrack for cheap package store runs, hazy memories and bail money has arrived.

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Never Heard of It is out October 14 via Magnetic Eye Records. Pre-order it here. Follow Nopes on Facebook and catch them on tour at the following dates:
10/05 (Wed): Redding, CA @ Caldwell Park
10/06 (Thur): Eugene, OR @ The Ant House
10/07 (Fri): Portland, OR @ The Know
10/08 (Sat): Seattle, WA *2 shows - early @ Lucky Liquor Tavern and late @ Victory Lounge
10/09 (Sun) Olympia, WA @ Lucky Lanes
10/12 (Wed) Boise, ID @ Baby Sale
10/13 (Thur) Logan, Utah @ Why Sound
10/14 (Fri) Grand Junction, CO @ Baron’s Bar
10/15 (Sat) Denver, CO @ Rhinoceropolis
10/16 (Sun) Tulsa, OK @ The Yeti
10/18 (Tues) Austin, TX @ Beerland
10/19 (Wed) San Antonio, TX @ Faust Tavern
10/20 (Thur) El Paso, TX @ The Monarch
10/21 (Fri) Phoenix, AZ @ Time Out Lounge
10/22 (Sat) San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar
10/23 (Sun) Fullerton, CA @ Continental Room
10/24 (Mon) San Luis Obispo, CA @ Dustin’s Pace
10/30 (Sun) San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill

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