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On the record: Cosmetic, by Nots

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Nots first showed up on my radar when the band played a Missoula show with Quintron and Miss Pussycat back in 2014 and my wife bought the album. I was blown away at how great it was—and still is—and how ready I was for an out-of-the-blue punk record. Here was this band from Memphis cranking out amazing and weird two-minute punk tunes 30-plus years after the Bush Tetras, and mining that same driving, synthy, dance-punk style. The album, We Are Nots, made my year-end list, and got played a ton in our household. The new Nots record, Cosmetic, is equally compelling—once you let it grow on you. It's a good record for different reasons, and I always get excited about bands who can make that happen. Cosmetic reflects a band more comfortable exploring improvisation, darkness, longer tracks and floods of experimental synth. Gone are the compact two-minute bursts of song with distinct starts, middles and ends. Here are songs that seem like they might have been cut out of hour-long practice jams built around good bass parts. There are still a couple of short songs, like "No Novelty," which has an odd pitch bend that makes the guitar sound like it's being de-tuned as it's being played. There's also "Rat King," which evokes Lost Sounds and Jay Reatard. I like where Nots is going, and I like that it takes me three or four listens for it to make any sense.

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