They’re loud, they’re unapologetic and they’re deserving of your attention. Memphis garage-punk four piece, NOTS, began when Natalie Hoffman moved to Memphis from Missouri in 2007 to study photography and design. Hoffman teamed up with drummer Charlotte Watson and released their debut EP in 2013. Fast forward three years and they followed it up with their second album, Cosmetic, a confident and assured sophomore effort which they are bringing down under for their first batch of Aussie shows this November.
“I’m really excited,” vocalist/guitarist Natalie Hoffmann exclaims. “We’ve been to Europe, and of course we’ve toured the States a bunch so this will be our first time in Australia.
“It’s been on the radar for a long time, but only in the past year have we found the way to get there and the right people to work with,” Hoffmann continues. “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do so it’s cool that it’s finally working out. Hopefully it will pave the way for us to get back again.”
Along with their unpredictable guitars, celestial synths, punctuated vocals and truly passionate (and aggressive) live show, it’s their most recent album that commands your attention, and for all the right reasons. Cosmetic, written by Hoffmann, is a nine-track soundtrack for resistance, a real critique on what’s happening in the world we live in.
“The lyrics for Cosmetic just came from watching what’s going on, and it was written when we did not have President Trump yet. It was written when he was arriving as a potential president of the country, and the record is not about Trump because that is too specific of a thought,” she explains, “I was trying to write about a larger critique of the things that created a ‘President Trump’ basically.
“I wanted to talk about the nature of our government and what it does to regular people and what people are doing to each other and how the media have influenced that, and how, specifically, the news has influenced that,” she continues. “I wanted to critique the way that we are looking for entertainment rather than facts, and facts are becoming more and more irrelevant, and of course the truth depends on who is saying it, and who you are in relation to that so it’s all relative. I was trying to address the broader issues as well as the specific issues we’re facing in America of an increasingly privatised government and you know, just completely unhinged.
“There’s a lot of that influence in it, but some of the songs are smaller than that, everything that is largely political also has a personal element, how those things affect you personally, and there are even smaller things too,” Hoffmann says.
Using music as a release and platform to critique and attempt to understand the world, as well as having a voice against it, NOTS have continued riding this wave and approach to song-writing with a 7-inch featuring two new songs that is set to debut online today (October 5).
“It’s made from things that I’m trying to expand upon,” Hoffmann says, “the A side is called ‘Anxious Trend’ and the lyrics are about the idea that in America right now (and in other parts of the world too), is the shock and fate of turmoil that things have settled into are becoming our normal. It’s easy to become complacent, and it’s [the lyrics] me saying it’s easy to just feel overwhelmingly anxiety ridden because I do believe we are living in a particular age of anxiety right now, especially with all the threats of war constantly and just constant turmoil.
“It’s not like it was ever just calm,” she continues, “but I just feel like everything is really coming to the front now, and in some ways, it’s a good thing, and in other ways, it is just an age of anxiety.”
With the alarming crash of cymbals and screech of guitar in their live shows and in Cosmetic, the NOTS girls have proven themselves as an authentic punk band with their ‘Fuck You’ attitude in making their music exactly how they want it to be – whether you agree with their lyrics or not.
“The music comes first for me,” Hoffmann explains when asked if punters ever struggle to back the female punks. “If there is some idiot in the crowd who has something to say about me being a woman on stage, or any of us, then I just typically ignore them because I don’t think they deserve attention, and if they’re not there to experience the music and experience what we’re trying to put forward, I don’t think they deserve any attention.
“We’re musicians and we’re passionate about what we’re doing, and if you can’t keep up then well…” she laughs.
Listen to ‘Anxious Trend’ here.
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – November 16 & The Eastern, Ballarat – November 19
Written by Talia Rinaldo