BY FRED MILLS
Pittsburgh’s Nox Boys – Bob Powers, Zack Keim, Sam Berman and Zach Stadtlander – have been blitzing the regional garage scene with abandon, so it’s no stretch to imagine them hunkering down in Detroit with ace producer Jim Diamond to craft their long-playing debut. It’s a match made in heaven (or at least forged in iron), while the partnership with garage/punk patron Get Hip Records is as obvious as acne on a teenager. What may raise eyebrows, however, is that (speaking of teenagers) three of the musicians aren’t even out of high school – Powers is the lone legal drinker – yet they perform with the ferocity of grizzled gabbers thrice their age. Give ‘em the blindfold test and you’d swear the Nox Boys were some terrific archival find resurfacing at a Cavestomp event.
Indeed, from the low-end grind and searing slide-guit of opening salvo “Desperate Girl” and the primal bloozy sneer of “Military School” (wherein Zack doesn’t exactly, uh, celebrate the educational nuances therein), to the never-trust-anyone-over-30 manifesto “Mr. No One” and nightmarish minor-chord anthem “Save Me” (both tunes psychedelic epics at that), Nox Boys doesn’t let up for one bleedin’ minute. These kids (and their veteran partner) are the R.F.D. (Real Effin’ Deal), whether you’re talking straight up Nuggets raveups, turbocharged Stones/Kinks R&B swagger or Black Lips-styled supah-skronk.
The age issue actually provides additional reason to cheer. As 2014 dawned, we had already spawned a couple of generations of kids whose musical inspirations and aspirations were sourced from such nominal, fleeting phenomena as earbuds and MP3s, with their crappy compressed digital sound; Pitchfork reviews awash in flavor-of-the-month trendiness; and context-in-a-vacuum enabling otherwise intelligent humans to emulate soft-rock garbage of the ‘70s and dance-pop of the ‘80s without shame. The Nox Boys, however, and hopefully a brace of their peers, understand that analog is ace and vinyl rules; that putting on skinny black jeans and hanging out at Brooklyn warehouse spaces doesn’t necessarily make you cool; and that the likes of Steely Dan and Duran Duran were and always will be the enemy. Nox on!
DOWNLOAD: “Desperate Girl,” Save Me”