Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Whatever kind of alienation I might experience in the bland drunken cornfield that is a Big Ten college town, I have to imagine it's orders of magnitude worse in North Dakota. That backwater state seems to be coming up more and more in the news, as cannibalistic oil conglomerates sniff around for new sources of global warmth for the rest of us to bake in. They're already burning off enough crude for the flames to be visible from space. Meanwhile, regressive politicians play off their constituents' latent rural misogyny to close the state's one abortion clinic, tugging the nation backwards with the most stringent ban in the country.

Enter Nora & the Janitors, slamming their head against a brick wall of willful ignorance in the most listenable way possible. These two tunes bounce along somewhat like Orange Juice, but instead of said band's carefree joviality, this reeks of  the bitter resignation I associate with '80s Siberian punks like GrOb or Yanka. It can't be easy to work such desperate howling -- with lines like "fell asleep, it was July // woke up, it was November // did I kill that cop? I can't remember" -- into synthed-out, guitar-driven pop songs  and have it come off as well as it does. I dunno, people will probably compare this to the Smiths, but I get the feeling that's not where Nora et al are coming from. Whatever it is, I've had "Banister" on repeat for weeks now, and have yet to tire of it. Maybe my favorite song of 2013 so far. I shouldn't even be devoting this much text to a two-song single. But this stuff really affected me, and it deserves a wider audience.

These two songs are coming out on a tape split with a Minneapolis band I can't find any information on. For now, get this single at N&tJ's bandcamp.

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