One of the most satisfying elements of noise rock is the lack of rules. One minute a band can jam on a single chord for 10 minutes, expanding layer by layer. The next, a sweet melody can rise from the ashes and change everything that came before it. All of this can happen from song to song or even in a song. One particular band who exploit such traits would be Zig Zags.
As discussed in my interview with them, Zig Zags are difficult to describe by mere genre. One would simply have to listen for themselves.
Part punk, metal, and thrash, Zig Zags have stitched together a sonic quilt borrowing elements from just about every song they’ve ever heard. But whats makes it interesting is the fact that every plot twist sounds natural and graceful. If the Zig Zags want to experiment with a droning psyche dirge, they have tracks like “Sauer Jam”. When they want to goth it up there’s “Ripping Death”. But sometimes Zig Zags do it best with a no holds barred, 4 on the floor assault like “We’re Gonna Fight”.
As eclectic as Zig Zags are, it can be a daunting task to get a feel for their vibe. The best place to start could very well be 10-12-18: Rarities B-sides and More from Nomad Eel Records.
Originally released a cassette-only collection on Burger Records, 10-12-18 (as the title suggests) is a compilation of one-offs from the many years of Zig Zags. However, being it’s presented in order of release, the listener can see a bigger picture. This collection may act as a rarities comp and a sampler but for me, the most interesting aspect is the progression of the band itself. Yes, you get to hear just about every genre they’ve attempted over the years as well as a few lineup changes. But it’s amazing to hear how much they’ve grown as artists since the beginning.
Much like my love for noise rock, Zig Zags know zero boundaries. They take each sound, genre, or sub-genre by the horns and go wherever it takes them. Be aggressive, hostile, groovy, or psychedelic, the progression always feels completely natural without a single shred of pretentiousness. Hearing it across 2 LPs just adds to the experience. The vinyl version from Nomad Eel Records has been remastered and sounds like a new recording. The instrumentation is lush and the noise even buzzier just like the good Lord intended!
If you’re interested in entering the spontaneous world of the Zig Zags, 10-12-18 is the perfect starting point!
Pickup 10-12-18: Rarities B-sides and More on vinyl exclusively through Nomad Eel Records here.