The Lamplighter Lounge, a sweaty and smoky dive bar in Nots’ hometown of Memphis, was as appropriate a place as any for the four-piece to debut their garage punk live.
“It feels like your grandmother’s living room,” recalls guitarist and vocalist Natalie Hoffman. “It’s an awesome place to see punk shows just because it’s so weird.”
Since those days, Nots have gone through a number of line-up changes, with the addition of synth player Alexandra Eastburn last year providing “something the guitar could bounce off of” for the band’s first album, ‘We Are Nots’.
Released in the UK last week, the album is a 27-minute blast through everything the band is capable of. A key point of reference was The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s eclectic 1966 album ‘Volume One’, which is “like a scrapbook of the band”, says Hoffman. “Those albums are the strongest, where you don’t hear the same song 10 different ways.”
Nots create polymorphic punk, but it’s always built around a core of explosive drums, psychedelic synths and Hoffman’s primal yelling. “A lot of it is sonic,” says Hoffman. “It has to be something that feels really good to holler.”
This makes for visceral, inclusive and high-energy gigs where audiences are “pretty rowdy, especially in Memphis”. Nots shake things up, Hoffman says, “Even if it’s a sleepy night in a small town.”
That’s probably because Stateside – where their album was received rapturously last year – they’re a veteran live act, now playing over a hundred shows a year. Set to record a second album in January and with their next single, ‘Virgin Mary’, already in the bag, the time to catch them in the flesh is now.
NOTS: THE DETAILS
Moody, chantable lead single ‘Reactor’.
Album opener ‘Insect Eyes’ is based on an idea from a Philip K Dick novel, The World Jones Made.