Still House Plants ⟡ NU NO

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Still House Plants

Still House Plants

Rock music has a tendency to die, for many it has been dead for so long that they live in permanent nostalgia. It’s also possible that the death of rock exists as an essential step in its constant rebirth. That’s why, time and time again, things are invented to put rock before and behind rock, whether it’s roll, punk, post-rock or indie, and sometimes, when something hasn’t been invented yet or someone comes along who is totally outside any scene, the easiest idea is to stick them in the category invented in the past that this most resembles. This, in this case, is Still House Plants and it’s easy to lump them into the no wave dossiers or the post-rock matrix. Perhaps it’s time to assume that some of the rock being born in British art schools over the last decade or so is something else. Which has never been called something else because of the sudden – let’s say commercial – success of some bands and this has completely obliterated the underground context of the thing. Rest assured, we won’t be the ones to invent a name.

It’s clear from Still House Plants that we’ve yet to hear what can be done with a guitar, drums and voice. They sound like other things from the past, like DNA, Slint or Gastr Del Sol. They incorporate the jazz idiom in a fresh way that hasn’t been felt since the beginning of post-rock. But to this they add the structures of glitch music, minimal techno and contemporary music tempos. But the music of Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach, Finlay Clark and David Kennedy is disconnected from order, from the need for collectivity or even urgency. In fact, it’s disconnected from everything, it exists in the dimension of those who invent their own rules and create a game in order to play it. It’s not about owning the ball and always wanting to win, no, Still House Plants simply dispel the sense of cohesion that we think must exist in rock and create music that flows in these spaces.

And what moves in these spaces doesn’t always begin – or end – with a narrative. As is clear from the album they released this year, “if I don’t make it, I love you”, the songs they write are heard in a continuum, between arriving late to the party or already being inside it without realising it. Basically, they create music that doesn’t commit to anything, doesn’t make concessions and asserts itself through what it rehearses and, in reality, realises. And with feeling, beyond mere exercise, the coldness of theory or any bureaucracy, Still House Plants’ songs live in the intensity of the moment, oozing ecstasy, sadness and annoyance in the absolute certainty that they are living in the present. Without favour, “if I don’t do it, I love you” is heard as the “Untrue” of this decade. With the ghosts living inside us, the apocalypse already in place, the disorder calling in every favour, Still House Plants will be as important as we let them be. They’ve already done their bit, created the new, painted the present without nostalgia, without fear of the impact what they’ve done will have. AS


Nuno Marques Pinto aka Nu No is a musician, actor and radio broadcaster.
His work is a reflection on the voice and its linguistic implications.
He favours pre- and post-verbal forms of language in order to disrupt its utilitarian and functional logic.
Text, voice and noise merge, transforming the speech act into a situation, into a speaking body.

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