Tuesday, 29 July 2008



The sixth R.E.M. studio album saw them making their major label debut after cleanly fulfilling their contract with IRS.  The band parted ways with the label due to their frustration at overseas distribution.  Green was recorded in Memphis with Scott Litt on production.

In many ways this was a real transition and bridging album.  With recording contract allowing/granting them complete creative control there was probably sense of giving Warners what they wanted/paid for, not least now being on a studio budget and longer time to achieve perfection.

The title Green exists on many levels.  The positive perception is one of a flourishing mindset and environment while the negative was the connotation of signing to a label and selling out in the name of money.  Regardless of the apparent mixed messages of the album title, set against a tough political climate with Bush Sr. sweeping the polls the agenda was to write a positive set of songs with hope and the intention to help people through.  And on that Green was released on 8 November 1988 the day George Bush was elected the forty first president of America.

Green played host to four singles: “Orange Crush”, “Stand”, “Pop Song ’89” and “Get Up”.  These are solid songs not necessarily ideal or the norm with view to pushing a band.  Before Nirvana coined the attitude and mentality of having an alternative act having a radio friendly unit shifter, R.E.M. was just as blunt in offering “Pop Song ‘89”, a clear salutation in opening up their stall to a fresh market.  As an album opener it’s placing it obvious.  With a video feature sarcastic topless dancing and bars covering nipples including Stipe’s he was heard to state that it was a piss-take and hopefully the end of the pop song.  If wishes were trees, trees would be falling.  Imagine “Finest Worksong” filtered through happy pills.

Hitting with big statements both “World Leader Pretend” and “Stand” serve as the political joints.  The former calmly acts as a verbal shake pointing digits at armchair politicians while the latter in an altogether more bouncy form urges/encourages the audience to get active.  This was one of the first non-pop R.E.M. songs I ever heard and it felt astounding.

“Dreams they complicate my life”

Peter Buck moved onto mandolin with this record.  At one point there was an idea of the album being half mandolin glory and half bubblegum heavy metal.  In the end the lines were less defined.  It is with “You Are The Everything” that the fresh sound from the new instrument tangs most.  Lines describing moments spent lost in thought sat on the backseat of a car offer grand recollection, a healthy kind of nostalgia with rare substance and value.  This is a summer evening song best served with the sun still bright and surroundings still.  Here is peace.

The crunch occurs towards the end with “Orange Crush” and “Turn You Inside-Out”.  The orange in question is Agent Orange as used in the Vietnam War and as a military like exchange occurs beneath the song the result is quite a dark one.  This was  a song somewhat born from Stipe’s father having being in the helicopter corps during the war.  And in equally expansive measure the words of “Turn You Inside-Out” expresses the power the band felt in its hands from becoming stadium rock.  It’s a chilling statement of the damage they could do.

“I Remember California” offers a dark and menacing closure in sparse fashion.  The trance like delivery of Stipe accompanying an almost tribal drone points to a rough past that looked likely to be the future.

Green serves solid if not superior.

Thesaurus moment: titivate.

Saturday, 26 July 2008



Emotions were running incredibly high when this release surfaced in late 1994. It had only been months since Kurt Cobain had killed himself and with it he had left an already miserable fan base reeling, still struggling to comprehend a world that hadn’t necessarily made that much sense in the first place. Suddenly their favourite songs had gone delicate and even more meaningful and emotive. Even music snobs liked this one.
The set was big even before the unfortunate event of the suicide. It was first broadcast in February 1994 and was received by me at a time when life did not necessarily make the most sense to me as I was stuck in some kind of post-school wilderness period without education and without a career in some kind of youth training college limbo surrounded by people who really weren’t going anywhere or doing anything with their lives. I had been lumped in with this crowd when really I wanted so much more. This was the problem of being raised in the sticks.
It begins with the lines “good evening. This is off our first record, most people don’t own it” as the band launch into a gorgeous version of “About A Girl”. With such a defeated announcement it really sets the tone for the recording as being one of downbeat beauty. Whether that comment was necessary or not is open to debate but it certainly was a defining moment that set out the band’s stall and looked/served to make any passer-by or fairweather supporters feel awkward and uneasy.
Following would come a strained version of “Come As You Are” which despite being acoustic still managed to maintain that unique, almost aquatic sound. Stripped down this song now appeared to bare its soul more than ever and became quite a different beast in the process.
The first cover version of the set (the first of six) arrives as Kurt refers to the song as “a rendition of an old Christian song, I think. But we do it the Vaselines way” as they step into “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam”. This is a song that I had numerous live electric versions of previously but this really seemed to work as Krist picked up an accordion and lent an unexpected element/edge to proceedings. Surrounded by so much warped but seemingly spiritual imagery was this Kurt fully succumbing to religion?
Next comes probably the most striking track of the set in the form of the David Bowie cover of “The Man Who Sold The World”. This was not expected; this seemed to come out of nowhere. Since when was Kurt a fan of Bowie? It was definitely not an obvious choice and with a bit of electric guitar to slice open proceedings the words seemed to fit as the reluctant superstar expressed a desperation and sense of loss. In the end as with every song the band would cover they improved it and added much value with a new meaning. The Bowie version never held this much depth.
From here tracks such as “Pennyroyal Tea”, “Dumb”, “Polly” and “Something In The Way” (which wasn’t included in the original MTV broadcast) feel very suited to the acoustic setting, possibly even better. “Pennyroyal Tea” particular stands out as being just Kurt on his own churning out a song with a lot of explicit personal meaning. Likewise the transformation of a barn-burning track such as “On A Plain” into a tender piece feels as if it gives the song a new meaning and the gift of reinvention.
The introduction of the Kirkwood brothers towards the end was a stand out decision lending an earthy and haunting tone to proceedings with quite different compositions that still managed to maintain cohesion within the set and tangible teardrops. Originally of the three Meat Puppets song performed it was only “Plateau” and “Lake Of Fire” that were broadcast as the genuinely sweet “Oh Me” for whatever reason failed to make the cut. While the other two songs almost sounded like something Alan Lomax might have discovered “Oh Me” was pure sweetness and when MTV played a tribute to Kurt at the 1994 MTV Awards we were offered a sneak peak/preview of the song which in many ways made it the most anticipated song for when the album was finally released. And as it was coming after Kurt’s demise the line “I can’t see the end of me” now possessed a huge weight. Then “Lake Of Fire” opens with the line “where do bad folks go when they die” and the listener could be forgiven for being slain by this point.
As the Kirkwood brothers exit Dave begins teasingly drumming the introduction to “Scentless Apprentice” before the band enter into “All Apologies” with much clarity and a version that opens sounding very similar to the electric version on In Utero. In its new state the song proves versatile and comfortable on this occasion as the rousing chorus retains its strangely upbeat and positive tone despite being in possession of quite fatal terminology. When it comes to a close it feels extended in its exit.
The real closing arrives in the form of their Leadbelly cover “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (“In The Pines”) as the performance transcends several decades of music as the modern version of the blues matches up to and pays homage to its ancestry. Were these words being aimed at Courtney? She didn’t deserve such gesture and sentiment. It’s a beefy song that definitely takes its toll as Kurt’s vocals really get pushed to the limit as he goes all out for the closer even having to take an agonising break/pause just before unleashing the final words.
With this the art of MTV Unplugged briefly became cool. No longer was it Eric Clapton doing a boring rendition of “Layla” instead it now held real merit and emotional value. In some ways I think they gave up the ghost after this, this was the session that would never be topped. This was so much more better than the Pearl Jam programme. Briefly bands jumped on the bandwagon but they were soon exposed, especially Hole who instead just made a mess of their show, emphasising the drama and crocodile tears. Then when Stone Temple Pilots did their session they included their own Bowie cover in the form of “Andy Warhol”. Why be so transparent?
On the whole I avoid this record these days, its just too sad to revisit but whenever I do I am reminded that Nirvana were the greatest band my generation will ever see.
Thesaurus moment: superlative.

Saturday, 19 July 2008



When it came to Riot Grrrl Babes In Toyland were always the band for me.  They were the first proper band that I ever saw live when they played the Hippodrome on Colchester High Street and when I borrowed this album from my friend and put it on a cassette with Meantime by Helmet on the other side.  This was a tape that I wore out.

Babes In Toyland were always a brutal proposition.  At a time when so many Riot Grrrl acts were posturing, they just did it.  And for that, for the longest time they were my favourite female band who I would defend to endless degrees while my apparently more knowing (more snobby) friends would tend to dismiss them.  Indeed when Sleater-Kinney arrived on our stereos I was heard to complain that they didn’t sound like Babes In Toyland.

In many ways Fontanelle was the album we wanted Hole to make.  And perhaps it was the one they could/would have made had Courtney not been so distracted (although she was certainly present her playing on the mind in “Bruise Violet”).  Also it never really sat completely comfortable with Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear, there was just something slightly masculine about the Babes In Toyland sound which felt thicker than the punky, hardcore, lo-fi offerings of the militant Riot Grrrl acts.  Plus they were on a major label (well, in the U.S. at least).

Wow, I have used the term Riot Grrrl in every paragraph of this review so far.

Co-produced by Bjelland and Lee Ranaldo this record is a blast, a force of nature from the off.  Very few ladies in rock have ever held a set of lungs akin to Bjelland and therein lay the band’s strength as her guitar playing, despite being ferocious and effective, was somewhat one dimensional.  Elsewhere in the mix the drumming of Lori Barbero serves as a strong weapon with its thumping and tribal take on percussion.  Barbero was always a wonder.

Coupled with the broken ragdoll cover art, there is something very bratty about this offering.  Bjelland always felt like a feisty little sister that could beat you up and with her came a brutal gang backing her up.  And with a guitar sounding like a motorbike it came with a raucous soundtrack.

As with all great albums it begins with a rocket, the star song and explosive entry.  Bruise Violet” is a driven and disarming track.  From the off something does not sound right as the drums and guitar tangle together thumping ahead of the air raid siren arrival of Bjelland and her verbal assault aimed at what it would seem is Courtney Love.  As it all ends with accusation “Liar! Liar! Liar!” emerging from this track I find that my sinuses have been cleared.  Seldom has anger ever been so sincerely captured on record.

From here the screaming toddler cum psychopath act continues/persists as the bubbling anti-lullaby “Right Now” exudes an earnest explosion and “Bluebell” offers raucous stabs with Kat still playing the part of a little girl having a demented breakdown.

At this point I fear from a male perspective I am being somewhat patronising and condescending towards Bjelland’s plight.  As a method of expressing and intimidating there is something slightly cartoonish about the execution, one that may not necessarily be taken too seriously in an adult world.  On that note it seems essential that all gestures be loud and hard hitting.  Here was an act more about play and proverb than explicit reference to the corrupt world surrounding.

Always a big favourite with crowds the uber aggressive rewrite “Handsome & Gretel” serves as both a colourful metaphor and effective lash out at the world.  In under two minutes tables were distinctly turned with the description of “a crotch that talks” taking control and care of business.

Having now whipped the audience into shape (into position) a grand and varied dispatch of fizzy and hook laden tracks push things forward expounding how it feels to be a domineering minority.  This is album about fight and explanation.

With “Won’t Tell” we enter tempered territory in alarming and disturbing fashion as Bjelland takes on the role of both abuser and victor seemingly going through a session of recovery with weird sentiment correction.  It’s a song about a bitch and a bastard.  Then immediately afterwards the side ends subjecting the listener to the twisting and haunting instrumental “Quiet Room” that plays out in the manner of blood splattered closing credits.

As the process continues side 2 opens with “Spun” and things feeling confused, placed in an aftermath of dissolution as Bjelland calmly sings towards a mood swing at which point the band violently erupts in accusatory fashion.  Does my penis make me a bad boy?

From here the record makes confident strides to the end as Barbero continues to thump in tribal rhythms that were never necessarily a staple of indie rock.

The eventual pair of “Real Eyes” and “Mother” ensure the record ends on a high as Bjelland offers awkward scenarios first via some kind of bus journey that ends in altercation culminating in spooky vocal exploration and echo before the latter delivers a punchy and affective explanation of personal circumstances seemingly addressing paternal and spousal doubt in an effort to serve females all over.  This anger is not just hormones, not just the rag.

Fittingly it all ends with “Gone” and the sound of smashing glass and high spirited exuberance that echoes misbehaviour.  Eventually the casual strumming peters out, much like the band.

Fontanelle is a blunt piece of work, a solid and singular succession of songs born more of passion than performance.  There have been better, more talented and intricate female indie rock bands but for its flaws and juvenile gestures this is a heroic handling, perhaps misguided from a mainstream perspective but exhilarating from all other angles.

Thesaurus moment: indelicate.

Thursday, 17 July 2008



Urge Overkill from Chicago was always one of those bands that you had heard of but hadn’t actually heard.  With three albums out on Touch And Go they came through during the grunge era as part of that host of US indie rock alternative bands that had a vague connection to Sub Pop.  This was a band that dressed up, sang punk soul not grunge.  Surely that meant they weren’t much different to the Afghan Whigs.

By this stage the band was signed to Geffen and thus connected.  The Urge Overkill version of the Neil Diamond had previously been the lead track on a six song EP on Touch And Go called Stull.  Somebody somewhere was listening.

Apparently Quentin Tarantino originally happened across the EP in a record shop in Holland.  The selection goes slightly against the grain as most of his music choices/selections have tended to be retro and original in form.  The track does however have the kind of funk, soul and groove that taps into his tastes and thus he selected it for inclusion in his second movie Pulp Fiction.  The significance of the find also suggests this was the visit to Holland where/when he came up with his famous Royale With Cheese speech/exchange between Vincent and Jules in the movie.  That said with Uma Thurman spread on the cover of the single perhaps it might have been more appropriate for Tarantino to throw an alternative rock bone to J Mascis.

“Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” is a mucky song when you delve into it.  It’s the end of innocence attached to music.  Indeed read another away it could be construed as the corruption of innocence.  You can see why an act would wish to cover it as the sweeping gestures are stark and testing coupled with an overriding down tone that eventually builds into a huge declaration which enables the vocal range of the singer to soar.  If nothing else, its exercise.

Accompanying the main track is “Dropout”, a song lifted from their Saturation LP.  In contrast to the lead track (the cover version) this is an almost dance number offered by the act in almost an effort to reveal the real sound of the band.  It’s a track with bounce but only limited charm.  Rather than housing passion, it plods.  No dice.

The CD single closes with “Bustin’ Surfboards” by The Tornadoes, one of those surf instrumentals that appears in the movie and on the soundtrack.  In a collection where such songs weren’t necessarily distinguishable this is the one with the sound of waves crashing against the shore.  It’s a kind drive and it got them some scratch.

False pretence.

Thesaurus moment: propinquity.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008



“Daddy Never Understood” may just be the greatest burst of energy ever committed to vinyl.  In essence it is a bratty hardcore song but generally punks were never as playful or creative as this (where the fuck does the string sample come from?).  As the bratty premise screams all over its existence in the style of the world’s worst child you can’t help but feel affronted and made to feel that someone just slammed a pie in your face.

Everything feels cheeky about this package.  The cover shows some probably inebriated young lady grimacing on the verge of baring her breasts at which point the band takes the opportunity to place their initials in the region complete with Xs instead of full stops to fully display/disclose their straight edge credentials (yeah right).  And in initialising their name alone they are nodding towards D.R.I. a move also executed by Dead Fucking Last when referring to themselves as D.F.L.  Nobody ever said being hardcore was straightforward (just straight edge).  And then there is the whole element of the name Folk Implosion being a direct response to the name/concept of being a Blues Explosion.

Then there is the play out groove: “watch out mama…cuz I’m goin’ wholehog”  Didn’t these guys ever take a break from rebelling?

This seven inch houses five songs.  The band never stretched to an entire album during their brief career and away from this there is little else to hold onto.  You can’t put your arms around a memory.

The difference between Deluxx Folk Implosion and the regular Folk Implosion is that this band comes with added Bob Fay and Mark Perretta (in addition to the already demented John Davis and Lou Barlow manning the shit).  That and the reality that it was all tossed off with less care.

Continuing the wreckage “Greetings From Sarajevo” is suitably fuzzy with snotty, screamed vocals wrestling with whistling feedback as the brat on vocals makes silly gestures in a teenage hardcore style.  “Ovenmitt” then sounds like a poor band rehearsing “My Sharona” being driven my unfinished lyrics while “Liquid Bread” is all about the glitch and updated gestures of being wasted.

“Daddy Never Understood” is a track that I can listen to over and over again and always it will move me, make me want to jump up and smash something.  It is perfection.  And being short I can listen to it over forty times in an hour, nine hundred and sixty times in one day.  Perfection.

Knox, Lozenge, Mantra, Time, indeed.

Thesaurus moment: consummation.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008



I was at school in my final official year when Metallica made their crossover/breakthrough.  Sometimes I used to hang out with some metal heads.  Some of them were my football buddies but a few of them were long hairs in the year above who smoked and appreciated my Nirvana and Mudhoney t-shirts.  Were these really my people?

Metallica was never a band that fully blew me away.  Perhaps it was due to being guilty by association (see above).  Maybe they were a bit too Kerrang for me at a time when I was very much traditional NME on the indie side of grunge.  Or maybe they just weren’t heavy enough for me despite the boasts of both them and their audience.

The Black Album was their fifth studio.  For it they brought in producer Bob Rock who previously was known for his work with Bon Jovi.  Indeed this was a conscious gesture of smoothing the edges and bringing a more accessible sound to their records.  The band may deny this but certainly that was the result.  More in a band’s mind/perception, Metallica were yearning credibility and respect as musicians.

The cover of the record is very black, just like the Spinal Tap cover.  This suggests that somewhere deep inside Metallica possesses a sense of humour (you hope).  Also referring to the record as “the Black Album” would suggest being something of the flipside to The Beatles “White Album” although the results are hardly comparable or polarising.  In a way you see what the band is aiming for (hinting at) but in execution it just doesn’t feel there.

Regardless of such gripes the record opens with “Enter Sandman” which almost immediately became the band’s defining song.  This push truly did get them over and if an album contains the song your band is always going to be best known for, then there is definitely something in there.

There is no denying “Enter Sandman” is a powerful song.  It’s a track seemingly written with a pause in place for pyrotechnics (although perhaps something James Hetfield may later have come to regret when some blew up in his face).

If you think about it really Metallica is a mental band.  It’s an act dominated by a rhythm guitarist wrestling with a Danish drummer with a funny accent.  Meanwhile the lead guitarist houses a permanent expression of fear while the current bass player has to tread carefully so as not to find himself being mentioned in the same breath as the original bassist who was horrifically killed in tragic circumstances.  They’re a great band; just don’t fall into the trap of taking them too serious.

The record continues with another single in the form of “Sad But True”.  Its an aggressive, some might feel misogynistic, track.  Certainly its advances are very confident and somewhat forward.  Did I really once think I could apply these gestures to my own situation and attempt to “charm” a lady with them?  I could/would not dare say.  There’s no escaping the fact, taken at face value this song is creepy.  And yet it was a single.

Old school fans then appear to be appeased with “Holier Than Thou” which displayed that the previous model of the band still existed if that was so desired.  However then comes “The Unforgiven” and an epic track taking on a western tone proving both cinematic and masculine in delivery.  Just the right ingredients for a heavy metal single.

For many people though this was their first Metallica record.  I would also bet that in a number of cases it was also many people’s first metal album as it what just presented in the right way to the record buying public and as with anything that is popular you cannot help but suspect it is something spread thin in the process.

And with that it arrives at the single “Wherever I May Roam”, an angst ridden tune highlighting just how manly Hetfield and his buddies are and how much they are willing to sacrifice in the process to impress the fairer sex.  Yes it is nonsense.  And such strange sentiments are then continued with the weird bravado attached to “Don’t Tread On Me” which opens with a heavy metal intro of “America” from West Side Story before rolling in a full on Pantera fashion.  Was this some kind of return of favour gesture?  Don’t tread on me indeed.

The second side of the record falls foul of cliché.  In “Through The Never” the band acts reductive as it slips into stock metal gestures and that horrible galloping sound that comes with classic rock.  That and the measured moment to chill out that comes with “Nothing Else Matters”, a song that pretty much resembles their version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with all its orchestration.  And then things get silly.

From here the remaining song titles of the record border on farcical.  “Of Wolf And Man” comes coupled with Hetfield doing a ridiculous call and response with himself (or rather the wolf man version of himself).  Musically it is another track that reminds of Pantera only without the might or economy.  Never let it be said that Metallica never meandered.

Upping the name stakes “The God That Failed” follows in severe fashion.  In its defence though the song does open with a solid baseline that leads into a sturdy delivery although as to which god they are referring remains a mystery to me.  With further research it turns out to be a about Hetfield’s mother’s battle with cancer and her Christian beliefs that prevented her from soughting medical treatment.

It all crashes to a conclusion with “My Friend Of Misery” and “The Struggle Within” in which Hetfield spits out more alpha male angst across a dense coupling of stock rock songs with standard, unexceptional solos served to emphasise the point that this is their record, this is their sound.  “The Struggle Within” particular falls foul with its cheesy militaristic posturing and thrash guitars that sound like machine guns.  This is perhaps a struggle that would have been best of remaining within.

The Black Album is a much lauded but much overrated piece of work (as is the band in general to be honest).  This pop music with loud guitars and snarling temperaments.  It was built with accumulating an audience in mind and thus was designed with itself spread thin.  All encompassing enjoyment of this record is swindle but everything has its time and place.

Thesaurus moment: oversell.

Saturday, 5 July 2008



It always seemed that Method Man was the first personality to burst out of the Wu-Tang Clan explosion and lead the way.  With his unique bark and rasp he turned out to be the member the audience most associated with and the look/persona easiest to adopt.  In other words, he was the coolest.  “The God of Staten Island”.

Signing to Def Jam was signing to a real hip hop legacy.  As the various signed solo deals seemingly all with different labels he got the deal holding bankable credibility.

In case you do not know a Tical is a blunt laced with sweetness, a joint taken to the next level of expertise and decadence.  And it probably goes a long way to accounting for the pace of this record.  Whereas the indulgence of ODB resulted in a wild man in a wild state, Meth’s found an unnerving balance of menacing and tranquil.

Tical is a murky album.  The mix is weird as the clean beats and soggy atmospherics wheel high in proceedings as a rough collision occurs that does not necessarily benefit all elements.  Also there is a distinct lack of chorus in many of the songs.  It is actually quite a basic hip hop record.  And I wish it were better but Method Man is one of the best.

“Wu Pa Feng (Casanova Wong) kills one of his former gang members (Lung Fei) in a duel.  Before the duel Lung Fei gives his son Shao Lung (Peter Chen) a golden plate that the gang is looking for.  Shao Lung joins his uncles’ travelling kung fu show to improve his fighting skills and escape the gang of killers”.

The original Method Man was a character in the seventies martial arts movie The Fearless Young Boxer and there is definitely a sparring vibe attached to his being, one of ducking, pacing and packing a punch.  He was always had a knockout blow in his pocket, just perhaps not necessarily always the desire to use it.

It begins powerfully with an appropriate opening sample before the droning “Tical” drops with big drums and a heavy Hammond hum as weird call backs accompany his laidback and frightening introduction.  It’s a song that remains in my extended playlist to the day.

Then with that “Bring The Pain” soon follows as a pulsing and driven declaration of intent serving as the lead single.  It is assured and confident, explicit in the message it wants to convey.

The big single from the album isn’t actually on the album.  Hip-hop fans will always know that “Method Man” is his most famous track but pop fans and MTV viewers had “All I Need”, his collaboration with Mary J. Blige that came about when Puff Daddy grabbed the track and watered it down.  And that version is the horrific stump that remains sat on this album.  When a song finds itself reworked so well, there is never anyway back for the original as Blige’s sentiments are revealed as being some kind of weird gang thug chant.  Whoops.

There is a story how during the recording of Enter The Wu-Tang Method Man and Raekwon were encouraged/forced to rap battle by RZA for the right and privilege to spot over his beats.  And from such competition came this track after it was left off the album.  So this is an off cut.

And while that track is not necessarily a dud, examples such as “Release Yo’ Self” with its cheesy take on Gloria Gaynor, do feel a distinct step in the wrong direction.  Later things go equally square on “Mr Sandman” which arrives dead on arrival in spite the best efforts of his friends (including Inspectah Deck) to shout the shit out of proceedings.

In the end I think it is “Stimulation” that perfectly displays what is wrong with the record: there is just too much going on, too much being crowbarred in.  Sure it accomplishes the job of being a rhythmic grind with much motion but then the track becomes muddled by another layer of samples and an unnecessary female hook that appears in place of a proper chorus and thus essentially all you have is Meth ranting away like an angry black version of the Duracell bunny.

Taped onto the end is a remix of “Method Man” with hollers more thump than the version on Enter The Wu-Tang, stripped back in a strangely stifling manner.  It really should work.

This is one frustrating fucking record.

Thesaurus moment: budding.

Friday, 4 July 2008



What was it that prompted me to fork out £3.49 for a seven inch single in this day and age? One thing may have been the classily twisted cover art straight from the school of Raymond Pettibon displaying the vivid attitude that accompanied Big Black’s Songs About Fucking LP sleeve. Perhaps it was the label it is released on, the wonderful Jonson Family Records who I had vague dealings with straight back to the first Stanton single released by them up to the Ten Minutemen vinyls and the Peel session(s). Maybe it is the autographs and signatures on the back of the sleeve making it prime for Ebay! Perhaps it is the jukebox hole in the centre. Regardless they got my money.

Eclipsing all these elements however are the dirty sounding guitars and bouncing stride of confidence that accompanies all of the above. With a set of influences that read straight out of my shelves/collection, here is truly one of the last remaining independent releases you will see in stores

In a time when guitars no longer whistle or scream, as inept guitar players take over the shop and make it boring, here is a house for the estranged and desperate, a tune so lumbering it actually helps to be obese to enjoy it.

The influences of this band are said to be Sub Pop grunge and I can hear that in a dirge that reminds me of the Thrown Ups and their ilk, the less conventional bands on the label during that prized era, the fallen heroes. What the record reminds me of most are the early lo-fi punk songs of the Beastie Boys from the Some Old Bullshit compilation, an association in sound that is most welcomed.

And as a bonus you get a band member that looks like a younger version of the dad from Malcolm In The Middle. Lovvers have everything and more!

Thesaurus moment: BBW.

Jonson Family Records