Their first release was a 7 ". "Teen Love," which covered the entirety of side B at 33 RPM, actually became a college hit. One of the most interesting songs ever written, it pairs a pensive, slightly melancholy melody with No Trend's definitive statement of their view of society: A teen couple are reduced to robotic machines, slaves to current trends and societal expectations, their humanity gutted by the emotionless vocal. The songs on side A were uncompromising sledgehammers of noise, cynicism, and absolute brutality.
All three of these songs were later re-recorded and released on the "Teen Love" 12 " along with two new songs, "Die" and "Let's Get Crazy."
The next year, they released their first full-length, "Too Many Humans." While Trouser Press denounces this LP as a lesser knock-off of Flipper and Public Image Limited, I strongly disagree. Comparisons to these bands are unavoidable, considering No Trend was also a highly experimental, noisy, and stand-offish band, but they had a sound all their own. "Too Many Humans" showcases No Trend at a new low, spitting venom all over the hollow and silly nature of American society with disjointed phrases that come one after the other, making a point without ever really saying anything directly at all. Pounding drums, raucous basslines, and completely unhinged guitar push every track over the edge. Songs like "Reality Breakdown" and "Fashion Tips for the 80's" had the speed and power of their previous tracks, but they broke some new ground with the warped funk song "Mindless Little Insects" and "Happiness Is ...," which features happy-go-lucky clips from news segments in place of regular vocals.
Steven Blush, manager of No Trend and author of American Hardcore, mentions in his book that they briefly caught the attention of Jello Biafra, who never ended up releasing any of their material on Alternative Tentacles. However, they did more substantially catch the eye of no-wave goddess Lydia Lunch, former vocalist / guitarist of the seminal New York band Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. She collaborated with them as a vocalist on their next LP, "A Dozen Dead Roses," and released a compilation of rare No Trend material called "When Death Won't Solve Your Problem."
No Trend had run into a problem at this point in their existence. Their fierce rebellion turned them into a bit of a trend in their own right. Hipster aficionados of noise rock made No Trend into their cool new band to name-drop. Disgusted, No Trend responded by alienating even those people. To do so, vocalist and ringleader Jeff Mentges also (for better or worse) revamped the band's line-up.
"A Dozen Dead Roses" was the first of this new series of attacks, featuring keyboards and wailing lead guitars in an unbelievably complex parody of new wave, 80's funk, and hair metal. They continued in this vein with their 1986 LP "Tritonian Nash - Vegas Polyester Complex." If fans had been surprised (and horrified) at "Roses," and hoped it was only a one-time affair, they must have collapsed in despair upon hearing the full album's worth of lounge jazz, over-the-top funk, and English-style ska that came forth from the needle. Full horn sections dominate the album in support of No Trend's continual crusade against stupidity and norms - only now, the violence of their music was replaced with a solid groove!
No Trend wrapped up their existence finally with an LP called "More . " As if they couldn't get more alienating, this time they tried their hand at a full-fledged rock opera called "No Hopus Opus." Befitting such a band, this amazingly strange album could not find a single label interested in releasing it until 2001.
No Trend, besides being brilliant musically and lyrically, and damn fun to listen to, represents to me a perfect example of individuality in music. Completely honest, fed up with the ridiculousness around them, and unflinching in their ways, No Trend reflects the most rebellious of the most rebellious personalities. Though these personalities ultimately affected and clashed with each other, what they left behind is undeniable. And inspiring.
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