Friday, August 22, 2008

A few new reviews and Melvins Vs Bellybutton lint too

Posted a few new reviews this morning on the official Your Flesh site. Thought y’all might like to know…

Got Goliath Bird Eater whose latest record appears on the always adventurous Not Not Fun imprint. Oddly enough, according to the band’s MySpace page, they’re neighbors of mine, residing somewhere up here in Eagle Rock. Well I’ll be! Howdy, neighbors…

Next up, we got some split record affair featuring Tides and Giant and last but not least, a review of the Melvin’s’ latest, Nude with Boots.

I actually like this new Melvins record a lot better then the writer I assigned it to did, but that’s ok. Viva la difference!

The thing of it is, I just don’t buy the argument that there’s no advancement or progression with what they do; that the band marches standing in one place. For one thing, the band’s sound is about as original as they come and is a trademark at this point (a 25 year and counting career) so a lot of familiar sounds and hooks we’ve heard them play before are just going to be part and parcel of the overall package, but what I’m hearing is a heap of tinkering and refining. This was going on on the last record a lot too.... A lot of skewing and twisting that warps shit into an entirely new and dare I say modern context. Almost like they're trying to be perfectionists but not really... and let's not get started on the drum clinic either, okay?

Yes, if you want to nitpick, it is true there are to my way of thinking, two songs here that are abject stinkers I could certainly do without: the first being the title track. Every time I hear it, I cringe in expectation, waiting for Geddy Lee to jump out into the mix and make his guest cameo vocal spot "happen" (lest you've forgotten, they did not one but two records with Jello Biafra so don’t tell me it isn’t beyond them)—this song is so Rush "Tom Sawyer"-era it's, well, it's just funny, that's what; the second is the ill-advised 80’s-styled big-haired metal romp, “The Stupid Creep”—now there’s your truth in advertising. Shame too because for the first six songs prior, Nude with Boots is pretty well flawless and contains what I think is their hugest piece of music—the centerpiece to the whole shebang: the impeccable segue from the apocalyptic doom-plod of “Dog Island” into the sublime “Dies Irae” is simply massive and majestic with the latter of the two stacking up oh-so-nicely against the best of what Ennio Morricone could orchestrate at the top of his game—I kid you not.

Anyway, after the two stinkers, things get back on track for the cameo appearance of Tom Hazelmyer, AKA Haze XXL, which, even without “Dies Irae” is about all the bonus round action you could hope for. The copy of the record I received is an advance so I have no idea if his performance/appearance here is officially credited, but trust me, there’s little question that that’s his ass leaving a big brown skid mark (on guitars and vocals) down the middle of “The Savage Hippy.” Halo of Flies fans rejoice—he hasn’t missed a step, seriously…

And speaking of Husseini-myer: for a guy who “isn’t in the music business” any longer and certainly “no longer running a record label,” Amphetamine Reptile sure has been nonetheless—ahem—pretty active… records by Halo of Flies (HoF), Billy Childish, Halo’s copping sonic coitus with Lydia Lunch, a brand new full-length by the Heroine Sheiks and not just a few Melvins 7” releases all have managed to rear their tiny, ugly heads under the AmRep banner in recent months if not the last couple of years.

The latest collector bait/scum entry being this ridiculously snappy looking three-disc CD set entitled Melvins VS. Minneapolis. It features something like nine or ten complete live shows performed at Haze’s bar/restaurant, Grumpy’s and a bonus set from the band’s appearance at The Walker Art Center (the music they wrote for their friend’s film—the same thing they performed a year or two later at UCLA). Silk screened cover designed by Burlesque, one-time edition of 666 copies… pretty much done up to the nines and already going for obnoxious retardo money on eBay. (This latter point kind of kills me and bares a rant of its own but it can keep for now.)

So yeah, if you haven’t done so already, you might want to investigate the above and see what you can make of it.


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