Noise Rock (alternately known as "noise punk" or just "noise") is Exactly What It Says on the Tin
: a genre of rock with a focus on occupying the extreme end of the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness
(well, not quite the extreme
end, but you get the point). Noise rockers for the most part have a pronounced fondness for creating ear-bleeding music with the standard rock instrumentation; how important other factors are, such as melody or lyrics, varies from band to band. (Compare, for example, Sonic Youth
to Lightning Bolt
, or Boredoms
to The Pop Group. The differences in the songwriting department are far more striking than the similarities.) Noise rockers are known for their confrontational performances, unsurprisingly enough.
Noise rock's antecedents can be traced to proto-punk bands like The Velvet Underground
and The Stooges
, the No Wave scene
, and Hardcore Punk
. (And that's not even counting all of the bizarre Japanese groups
dating back to The Sixties
like Les Rallizes Dénudés, or the quirked-out pre-Sex Pistols aberrations
like Half-Japanese, which while obscure have made a huge impact on the genre.) The genre as a unified movement emerged in The Eighties
and has bubbled underground ever since, with the occasional moment where some band gets really popular. Noise rock was also an influence on Shoegazing
, Industrial Metal
, Drone Doom
, and a few varieties of Hardcore Punk
Not to be confused with Noise Pop
, which is something slightly different.
Bands commonly associated with Noise Rock
- Arab On Radar
- Aids Wolf
- Band Of Susans — Had a strong Post-Rock streak.
- Big Black / Rapeman / Shellac — Three bands where recording engineer Steve Albini played guitar and/or sang.
- Black Flag — Hardcore punk meets noise rock, prog rock, avant-garde jazz, and early '70s heavy metal.
- Boredoms — Earlier albums only; later work is more Psychedelic Rock.
- Butthole Surfers — Noise rock's traveling freak show.
- Comparative Anatomy — Two bassists and a drum machine who dress up in animal costumes and delve into noisegrind.
- Dinosaur Jr. — Perhaps the most accessible of the bunch, bordering on Grunge. Still, songs like "Don't" really can't be classified as anything but Noise Rock.
- Einstürzende Neubauten — Early in their career, pioneered Industrial.
- Flipper — Famous for the batshit insane Epic, "Sex Bomb", as well as its enormous influence on sludge metal and (especially) grunge.
- Foetus — and its many incarnations. Also Industrial.
- Godflesh — See also Industrial Metal.
- Guitar Wolf
- Happy Flowers
- Hella — A hybrid of noise rock and math rock.
- Helmet — Formed by ex-Band of Susans member Page Hamilton. Also counts as Alternative Metal and Post-Hardcore.
- The Jesus Lizard
- John Lennon — His first two solo albums with Yoko Ono are noise rock.
- Liars — At first, before they went dance-punk, and then went almost everywhere else.
- Lightning Bolt
- Live Skull — A member of the same NYC scene which gave the world Swans and Sonic Youth, among others.
- Melt Banana — A female-fronted example, with extreme Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly tendencies.
- Mer Shopping Missbruk For Studenter — A mix of Noise Rock, Harsh Noise, Industrial, and Ambient.
- No Age
- Pink And Brown
- The Pop Group — See also Post-Punk, Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly.
- The Psychic Paramount — Loud, abrasive noise rock mixed with Psychedelic Rock.
- Pussy Galore
- Ramleh — Combined Hard Rock with Power Electronics.
- Lou Reed
- Royal Trux — Though they had bluesy tendencies as well.
- Scarling — A four-way crash between Noise Rock, Noise Pop, Shoegazing and Goth Rock.
- Scratch Acid
- Sonic Youth — Especially 1981-1985.
- Music Skull Kontrol
- Steel Pole Bathtub
- Swans — Mainly 1982-1986, with later works predicating Post-Rock.
- Unsane — A particularly aggressive group that also counts as Post-Hardcore.
- Velvet Underground — The final tracks of the first two albums, namely "European Son" on the first and "Sister Ray" on the latter are seen as the earliest examples of the genre.
- Zeni Geva — A Japanese group with Metal and Progressive Rock influences.