Last year, Memphis punk quartet NOTS released their arresting sophomore LP Cosmetic, brimming with a palpable, immediate energy. Though they’re rockers at heart (and Cosmetic is relentless in its sonic barrage, no doubt) it was the band’s penchant for art-rock flourishes that set the record apart. Fuzzed out guitars, warbling distortion, spacey buzzing synths, and brazen vocal jabs needled listeners to attention, then held a ferocious gaze at every twist and turn.

It’s evident that NOTS plan to continue that experimental trajectory with their latest single, “Violence.” It’s the doomy, synth-driven b-side to their Cruel Friend 7″ which comes out June 30 via Goner Records. Though they’ve dabbled in Krautrock sensibilities before, they’ve seldom reached such kosmiche heights. Seemingly set in some dystopian future where guitars have become extinct, Alexandra Eastburn’s droning analog snyth warps the weft of Natalie Hoffmann’s urgent shouts, weaving together a wonky punk tapestry for the cruelest of summers.


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PLAYLIST: A Guide To “Moon” Bands


There are only so many words, and as a result, only so many band names that can be claimed before they start to overlap. For example, here’s six bands that have “moon” in their name, and considering these all were chosen simply because I’ve heard their name recently or saw it on a show calendar, there are probably many more (such as Moonwalks featured in our latest Playing Detroit column). Here’s a quick guide to what they sound like, where they’re from, and how you tell them apart.


The Los Angeles based group Moonchild plays jazzy pop that includes tenor saxophone and clarinet (played by vocalist Amber Navran). They have all the timing and timbre of a standard jazz or lounge band, but with echo-y layers of vocals and brass played with a soulful swagger.

Summer Moon

Summer Moon could be placed into the category of “super group;” its members include Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes), Erika Spring (Au Revoir Simone), and Tennessee Thomas (Like) as well as Lewis Lazar. So obviously, they sound pretty good.

Moon Honey

Moon Honey is from Los Angeles, but via Louisiana. They play intricate, surreal pop with theatrical vocals supplied by Jessica Ramsey. The trills in her voice are reminiscent of an old Disney movie soundtrack, while her melodies recall the Dirty Projectors minus the harmonies.

What Moon Things

What Moon Things is a New York band that’s part punk, part moody dream pop. Check out “Squirrel Girl,” a track from their self-titled LP that sounds like the perfect soundtrack for wandering through a dark, abandoned warehouse. The trio is also playing several CMJ shows at venues like Aviv, Pianos, and Bowery Electric. 

The Soft Moon

The Soft Moon is a  San Francisco band with a heavy, industrial sound, best described as steady and sludgy (and as their recent video for “Dummy” proves, occasionally creepy).

Moon Duo

Moon Duo is a San Francisco project made up of Erik Johnson (Wooden Shijps) and Sanae Yamada. Their sound is a combination of electronic and Krautrock elements, with droning, understated vocals, and lots of keys and psychedelic guitar solos.