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Song You Need to Know: Cat Scan, ‘NRA’

A short, fast song that evokes the finest tiny-art hardcore.

Cat Scan, 2018

Cat Scan, 2018

Nikki Pickle

Last month we spent a few days at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area for the Desert Daze Music Festival. Though the lineup leaned towards psych-rockers barreling riffs into hypnotic oceans, one of the fest’s best surprises was Cat Scan, a taut Los Angeles no wave band playing a 4:15 p.m. set.

We wrote that they played “a high-octane set that seems to have combined a few lessons from the Eighties underground playbook: Minutemen without the funk, Feelies without the bubblegum, Sonic Youth without the lurch.” Their bassist played rubbery lines all over the neck, their guitarist/vocalist leaned into bursts of noise, the second guitarist adds a bit of Television tension. If you want to hear them, you’ll have to dig up some YouTubes – or hear their entire recorded output: one 44-second song.

Released last June, complete with a VHS-aesthetic music video, “NRA” is a piece of tiny art-hardcore like you would find in the folds of Wire’s Pink Flag or in the pre-Double Nickels era of Minutemen miniatures. The verse (it happens twice) has the feel of the more jumped-up Parquet Courts songs and chorus (also twice) has the dead-eyed delivery of a Sacred Bones band.

Enjoy the video if you have about a minute to spare and don’t mind looking at close-ups of mouths eating soup.


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