Q and Not U – No Kill No Beep Beep

Q and Not U
No Kill No Beep Beep

Formed in 1998, when I lived in Washington, DC, I had been hearing about Q and Not U for years. DC area bands and fans alike had been mentioning this band’s name whenever asked about the next big DC band. Before their debut album even came out, they were mentioned in the same breath as DC stalwarts Dismemberment Plan, Burning Airlines/Jawbox, and even Fugazi.

Without a doubt, Q and Not U deserve all the attention they’ve been getting, now that their debut album has been released more than ever. Fans of almost any of the bands on DC’s Dischord Records will take to Q and Not U instantly, recognizing the band’s style of DC quasi-post-punk-rock sound typified by intricate and often blaring guitar, a kind of frantic drumming, and almost soulful rock vocals. Think Jawbox, Dismemberment Plan, and Les Savy Fav for good examples of the style of music that Q and Not U are playing, then give it a fresh, more intense rocking sound, and you get No Kill No Beep Beep.

“A Line in the Sand,” a kind of disjointed rock song with changing beats and blazing guitarwork, and some hand-claps thrown in for good measure. “End the Washington Monument (Blinks) Goodnight” has bursts of keyboard or guitar bleeps, a kind of dancing groove and a seriously rocking quality, while “Fever Sleeves” is a post-hardcore assault, fast and heavy on the drumming. “Kill me in my favorite clothes. Or dress me in your favorite clothes, kill me with your favorite comb and then just show me out,” the band sings.

As demonstrated above, the lyrics don’t always make sense, but in the herky-jerky “Hooray for Humans,” you get to shout along to the cheer “D-O-W-N and that’s the way we get down!” There’s the kind of driving guitar assault on “We Heart Our Hive” that’s reminiscent of Jawbox with similar vocal style. But it’s on songs like “Little Sparkee” that the band shines the brightest. With frantic guitar work and multiple vocalists, including screams and shouted “woo,” this song demonstrates the pure rock this band is capable of. “Y Plus White Girl” has a more intense vocals along with stuttering rhythms and guitar blasts, and “Nine Things Everybody Knows” is another stellar track, with multiple vocals, powerful rhythm, and great lyrics (“Congratulations! Now put the knife back in the medicine cabinet.”) The closer, “Sleeping the Terror Code,” is a much more mellow and bass-heavy, quiet and moody throughout.

The album’s artwork shows fans partying with streamers and hats and the band playing along. I don’t know about streamers and hats, but this is the kind of party I like and came to love when living in DC. Tight and fresh post-punk/hardcore style of rock with all the energy and enthusiasm that the DC scene is known for makes for fun music to party to. And you can even dance along with Q and Not U, or at least pretend. This is great stuff, undoubtedly destined to make Q and Not U one of those definitive DC bands for the 00’s.