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Taco versus Grilled Cheese

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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Melvins - "Stoner Witch" (Atlantic Records, 1994) [key tracks: Queen, Revolve]
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"As a measure of a soul like a dumb-run, bring your fear... you and me, we got the same air going; breathing here. You got sent the cold water you're in, like someone left to could half breathing... Maybe me and the Queen could take another order and lock it away "
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Every day I wake up and I am disappointed. Why do people still chew their food with their mouths open? Why isn't the world like a Frank Frazetta painting? Madonna is still making a living? So many other disappointments, so many betrayals... at least I can count on my records!
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The Melvins. That is all you need to know about inventive music in the modern age. They were playing the Seattle area before "grunge," and had evolved past that sound by a few years by the time it became a nationwide fad. It was an odd time for anyone having to do with music... never has "selling out" been wielded like such a weapon, and never had more people "sold out." The fact is, record companies were dumping money on people's lawns, hoping to cash on on the grunge/alternative craze... especially bands based in Nirvana's hometown. The Melvins were not immune to the lure of financial gain, and were signed by Atlantic. Being a prominent company, they knew talent but had no idea what to do with it. During this time they released 3 LPs. "Stoner Witch," much like "Houdini" before it, found the Melvins doing their thing, but also doing their best to make a few commercial-ish singles. You won't hear a "Black Hole Sun" or "Heart Shaped Box" here but there is "Queen" and "Revolve." Both of these tracks were heavy and structured like "normal" songs, odd for a band all about forging their own path through sludge, doom, metal, punk, ambient, and noise. As can be expected, it is a great LP to introduce a newbie to the music of the Melvins, but ultimately it does not represent what they stand for. And as with all bands with huge cult followings, original vinyl pressings are equivalent to the Holy Grail. I am very lucky to have this, Atlantic Records printing, in its pink glory.
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King Buzz, Buzzo, or Buzz Osbourne. Take your pick. All are the same guy, the guitarist and vocalist of the Melvins. The guy oozes rock deity, from his Jack Nash-ish afro (now grey), to his nonsensical lyrics, amazing eye and pen for art, and his trailblazing vision. I think the reason it is easy to get lost in music is because of icons like King Buzz. Not that he is Ghandi mind you, but it gives you a hero... someone to look up to, with little "serious" expectations. As long as King Buzz stays off To Catch A Predator, I'll be somewhat pleased (not that he has ever shown an air of being that way, mind you...its just an illustration). In real life, there are so few people to look up to, so little to get excited about. I am trying to restrain my enthusiasm for Obama, because I know my nation and I know what they will do to him as he runs... and I fear he has little chance to be elected. Even so, the excitement over Obama has no quantifiable past for myself. What has any politician done for me? Same goes for everyone else around me... so unfortunately here in Iowa, Earth I have only my dog, my wife, my few friends, and my records to find any sort of hope in. And as long as there is always a Buzzo, John Darnielle, David Byrne, Isaac Brock, Josh Homme, Omar Rodriguez, and Lemmy I'll be fine...
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Horn's up.
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3 comments:

Matt said...

Its hard to get excited about an election that is two years away, I think it is all going to get so beat into the ground it will be quite a let down when the day for the election comes. Sort of like the Super Bowl only without the one or two funny commercials.

Your site has inspired me to hunt for stuff I have once owned or hoped to own. Went to Kanesville the other day and recalled how at one point in time we both pretty much funded that place. BTW no good Christian stuff has shown up since '94. Russ Taff will not be in my music collection!

Rich said...

I can't believe you would find anything interesting about Obama. Nobody has any ideas what this guy believes.

As far as no good christian music since 1994, check out all the Lost Dogs music and Daniel Amos' Mr. Buechner's Dream.

Matt said...

Hey Rich

When I said no good christian music I was speaking about the "famous" Kanesville Collectables in good ole CB. When Carl and I were regulars lost of interesting used Christian stuff showed up there, now not so much.

Now about Christian music in general with the notable exceptions and a few others you mentioned it seems like it has become this machine for the most part turning out music that lacks the soul, passion, and imagination that it once had.

Mr Buechner's Dream is indeed a great album, and the Dog's are always great!

Do you have the Alarma Chronicles Book Set? It is a cool history of DA from that time period.