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Iran



San Francisco's Iran puts the "noise" back in noise pop. Some of their songs begin as a swirling cacophony of sound and rhythm where samples loop and blend endlessly, creating a hypnotizing swell that is soon broken by needling, noisy feedback. Others start with a wash of fuzz that opens to reveal scratchily melodic vocals. But before the whole mess disintegrates into a droning scree, beats and guitars rise slowly out of the melee and the formless, swirling mass congeals into something that at least vaguely resembles a song. Notes are still bent and twisted, samples still poke through the fragile fabric, and the result is jarring and strangely beautiful.

This is damaged lo-fi, taken to the extreme limits of possibility, and then retracted, just a smidgen, before it goes careening over the edge. Here and there a guitar hook or a drum fill pokes through the haze, affirming that this is, in fact, rock music. But what kind of rock? Well, that's another question altogether, and one we shall not (and perhaps cannot) answer here. You'll just have to listen and hear for yourself.

The jarring "Yellow Tiger Lemons," the almost-catchy "Pick up/Stillborn," and the disjointed "San Diego" are all from Iran's 2000 self-titled album on tUMULt Records.