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Thoughtful Messages, Better Music
The (International) Noise Conspiracy Comes to Town with its New, Mature Album, Featuring Billy Preston and Produced by Rick Rubin

By Matt Thurber
Concert Preview:
The (International)
Noise Conspiracy
with Circa Survive and
Nightmare of You
In the Venue
(579 W. 200 South)
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.
Buy tickets for $10
plus a $2.50 service fee at

When it comes to stirring up anti-capitalist sentiment through word and song, no band combines accessibility and quality like The (International) Noise Conspiracy. Its members are outspoken advocates of the “everything for everyone” philosophy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t function as artists in democratic nations. Not coming off as preachy, the band turns out original music with passion and political dissent.

T(I)NC isn’t one of those bands that retreads 1977 New York-CBGB punk and calls it “new.” Close listening reveals a heavy British influence from bands like The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello. And with the release of its most ambitious project to date, Armed Love, T(I)NC brings its ‘70s punk attitude and traditional rock-and-roll sound to In the Venue on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

On its new album, T(I)NC brought in legendary organist Billy Preston, who worked with The Beatles, to take the music to new places. The organ vibe adds dimension and inspires exploration, but it’s not just the instrumental changes that make Armed Love a huge step forward for the four lads. A little studio magic courtesy of Rick Rubin, who produced everyone from Johnny Cash to Slayer, has made the album a definitive milestone for T(I)NC—a mere two months after its release. As a longtime fan, Rubin followed the band and eventually decided that a collaboration was in order. The end result is not only a mesmerizing sonic experience, but also a radical call to action.

Without sounding like a bunch of Pinko radicals, the band mixes political beliefs with catchy hooks and punk rhythms reminiscent of The Stooges or Velvet Underground. The music maintains an upbeat pop tempo while carefully injecting some of the band’s ideology, evident on songs like “Communist Moon.”

Not since the days of Rage Against the Machine’s upside-down U.S. flags and staged protests has a band worked so hard at making a statement. Songs like “Capitalism Stole My Virginity” only scratch the surface of T(I)NC’s politics. And with wars and famine throughout the world, it’s not too hard for these guys to find song-worthy material simply by browsing through a morning newspaper or watching CNN.

In an age where Bush-bashing is common among American bands like Green Day that make “protest rock operas,” it’s hard to find a group that doesn’t spew tired anti-war mantras and clichés about governments. Luckily, T(I)NC’s songs are about how to enact real change in a less-than-perfect world.

“How can we expect anyone to listen, if we’re using the same old voice?” T(I)NC vocalist Dennis Lyxzen asked in “New Noise” by his former 1990s band Refused. While that band’s screaming-hard edge eventually led to its demise, it opened the door for the vocalist to explore new ways to spread his message. And since T(I)NC’s early days, he’s hardly used the “same old voice.” Lyxzen’s singing style and songwriting has improved with the help of his bandmates’ musicianship, layered harmonies and backing vocals.

With several independent releases on labels such as Epitaph including Survival Sickness, A New Morning, Changing Weather and the new major league effort Armed Love on Warner Bros., T(I)NC is playing to larger crowds and venues on an international level. Whether it’s word-of-mouth or increased media exposure, the band is doing something right.

matt [at]


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