The Bride Screamed Murder
So, I’m pretty sure I had a sinus infection and mono at the same time. I think the sinus infection is going away rather slowly but surely. However the mono I think has taken root. I am tired all the time and ache all over and I’m in a pretty bad mood all the time. I also have a new fucked up sleep schedule. It’s once again before 8:00AM and I am wide awake. By wide awake I mean, I had enough sleep that my body doesn’t want to sleep anymore but I still feel tired. It’s kind of fucked up.
During this whole episode, I got in my head that I must download the Melvins new album, The Bride Screamed Murder. I don’t really know why to be honest. I am more of a passing fan of the Melvins though I did love (A) Senile Animal. But the Melvins are just one of those bands that you feel like you have to be into after listening to The Jesus Lizard and Nirvana for so many years. So, with decision making unguarded, I found the record cheap like over at Amazon.com and proceeded to download it. Apparently I was one of 2,809 people that helped the Melvins crack the Billboard top 200. Personally, I think this is a bad thing. One, that the Melvins can only move 2,809 units of an album in it’s first week is proof that even die hard fans are stealing their music for free. 2nd, it pretty much means any band with a modicom of buzz can crack the top 200 without much fanfare or effort. The Music industry is fucked. The commodity of music has an equal value with poetry now. It is expected for free because it is available for free so why should bands be compensated for it. I believe this is going to lead to a reduction in fidelity in recordings, less bands that are AMAZING releasing AMAZING albums and a reduction in development of both audio engineering and musicianship. Soon the only music that will be available to us will be from the great benefactors at Mountain Dew.
What does all this actually have to do with the Melvins album? A lot actually. The Bride Screamed Murder is their most ambitiously avant-garde album to date. Dare I say that, for the Melvins, this is a very very strange record. I dare say that this album is quasi-operatic and has been all but stripped of the buzzing (pun intended) sludge metal we’ve all come accustomed to. You wouldn’t think that from the get go, “The Water Glass” opens with a typical Melvins riff, can rattling percussion and bleeds into an onslaught of rip roaring goodness. The dual drumming of Dale Crover and Coady Willis is as epic as ever. But the promises of metal fall away about half way through the track and turns into a drum circle display augmenting a mostly nonsense filled call and response. And though Buzz Osbourne says little more then “We’re Ready” his distinctive, deep voice has never sounded better. So it’s not to say that the album lacks Sabbath styled riffage (See “Evil New War God” or “Electric Flower”) but it also has elements of pop in such oddly songs titled “Pig House”. Which is alarming because at it’s onset, it feels so familiar, but contains the most catchy, polished hook in the middle of it.
After 18 albums, the Melvins pretty much have carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want to do. And The Bride Screamed Murder is indicative of this to an almost frustrating level. The sludged up, re-imagination of The Who’s “My Generation” towards the albums end is proof that the Melvins aren’t going to give the audience what they want, or even what they expect. Buzz and Dale have been fucking with the music buying public since 1985. And in that time, they have received no incentive to stop. When outsider art like this can crack into the industry measurement of success without the hype of a movement behind it, and with such a weak showing of the bands own fans, then it’s only proof we’re all fucked.
Leader of the Followers
A few weeks ago, I featured The Young Offenders on one of my podcasts. They were the cover darlings of the punks without profit Razorcake magazine a few months ago. In said cover story, we learned about these mid thirties punkers from the left coast and their wirey, poppy, clangy punk rock music. We found said single on iTunes and played it like a million times (okay like 8 times, but still). The shit was pretty intense.
This morning I woke up and checked for the Young Offenders once again on the iTunes. I don’t know why. It was fucking early and I was tired and my brain doesn’t really work. Much to my surprise, available to me for immediate purchase was a new eight song mini album entitled Leader of the Followers. So I did what any first world shit head would do, I appeased my longing for instant gratification and downloaded the album. I have no regrets about the purchase whatso ever. It being eight songs and 13 minutes is totally perfect. The Young Offenders have a voice all their own and though the vocabulary is limited they are smart enough not to meander too long. Only one song on this ditty breaches the two minute mark. They play fast, the bass grooves along, the drums pop the songs into sonic happiness, the guitars are clean but janky and the vocals are mostly shouted.
They play fast. Did I mention that? Cuz it’s fast. In fact, I haven’t heard clean guitars played this fast since Mark Robinson rocked the world in 1992 on “Make Out Club” from Unrest’s magnum opus Perfect Teeth. These Young Offenders really understand the power a crisp, clean sound can bring to music. Had they elected to turn on the distortion and try to be the loudest band on the planet they would have lost all their unique aesthetic. Instead, they concocted a formula in the lab that works for them and stuck to it. The results are perfect.
As I sit in my bedroom, desperately trying to convince my body to heel itself before I go mad, the Young Offenders give me hope. It’s the first bit of bright light I’ve gotten in the last few weeks. While my music consumption has finally increased back to normal levels again, I guarantee I will be rocking Leader of the Followers all over the place this next week.