Week ending 17th October 2021
They are back with four albums worth of tunes on one album – if you see what I mean.
Dale Crover says, “These four albums represent a career retrospective.” It is called Five Legged Dog and it takes a measured sampling of their recorded works, alternating selections from Big Business-era albums, Nude With Boots, The Bride Screamed Murder, (A) Senile Animal, and the tragically under-appreciated Bulls and Bees, and pairing them with older material Stoner Witch, Honky and Houdini. Melvins fans will enjoy the collection in the 36-song track list which includes “Edgar The Elephant,” “Revolve,” “The Bit,” “Hooch,” “Anaconda,” “Billy Fish,” as well as a no-way-they-can-do-that-acoustically version of “Honey Bucket.”
It is described as acoustic, clearly that is a misnomer, this is not a lighter, more pensive Melvins by any stretch. These songs are variants, weighty, plangent, cavernous, and often brutal renditions. Not since Pete Townshend, has anyone so successfully transmuted an acoustic guitar into a percussion instrument as does Buzz Osborne. On “The Pitfalls in Serving Warrants,” his strumming is precise, immediate and determined. His strumming often gallops in tandem with Crover, who, for the album’s entirety, decided to scrap traditional wooden drum sticks to compliment the album’s authentic undertones. “I used brush sticks on every track. What a pain in the ass!” But Crover nevertheless manages to blast through tunnels with those brushes. Four-string virtuoso, Steven McDonald, rounds out the trio with his wholly unique bass lines. But it’s McDonald’s ability for vocal harmonising that contributes to the album’s haunting atmosphere. “We knew the singing was going to sell this thing,” said Crover. However, initially the idea of doing a completely acoustic retrospective was met with McDonald’s raised brow. “But once I got into the concept I was hooked to the eyeballs. I think this came out really great! It’s some of my best bass playing and singing. I got to sing ‘Sway’ by the Stones, and they even wanted to do a cover of ‘Charlie’ by my main band, Redd Kross!”
In addition to ”Charlie” and “Sway,” other covers on the album include a reverential version of Alice Cooper’s “Halo of Flies.” And sticking with flies, Melvins’ staple, “Eye Flies” ends with a slow marching cover of “Woman” by Free. Another highlight, this one tinted with country-western vocal fry, includes past Melvins bassist, Jeff Pinkus wringing undiscovered pathos from the Fred Neil classic “Everybody’s Talkin’.” The song evokes a fleeting taste of The Melvins had they taken up residence in the shit-kicker bars of Bakersfield circa 1952, or rather, if Buck, Wynn, and Hag cut their teeth on punk rock and acid. Buzz agrees, “JD Pinkus does a fantastic job! His kind of insanity fits right in!”
So here we are. A four-album acoustic retrospective that somehow evades nostalgia. Two and a half hours of absolutely stunning music. Released October 15th on Ipecac.
2 Lost Souls
Messrs Moss and Rosenfeld return with a tour de force 13 track album with some of the best writing from the duo to date. It should be out around January time – if I can get my act together.
The Teenage Propshafts
Mr Doyle rang me for one our usual wide-ranging chats and during it mentioned he liked his recent appearance on MUTV on the subject of C Ronaldo perhaps it could be metamorphosed into a Teenage Propshafts track. A bit of audio extraction and the creation of a driving beat with Ableton guitar and synth patches resulted in a new track called “Viva Ronaldo!” – it will be out in December and proceeds will go to charity. A 12″ version of the song will also appear on the German Shepherd Charity Album which comes out on Christmas Day – more details of what’s on that to follow in due course. Mr Doyle will be featuring it on his show soon.
Matias of Argentinian label Neue Numeral dropped me a line about a new one from Lara – who is originally from La Plata but is now based in Berlin. Based on the book The Praise of Folly by Erasmo of Rotterdam the lyrics of the new release Elogio cover love, foolishness, deception, introspection, and the loss of oneself. The premise is that madness is an intrinsic part of oneself and is a necessity to include this concept in our way of building and understanding society. This six-track album was recorded in 2017 in Casa Frida (Buenos Aires), dropped and then mixed again by Ponche Abraham in Nakao Studio (La Plata). As a ‘souvenir’ to the years of music shared with this group of musicians, this album eventually emerged for release with two remixes by Cristian Carracedo Lauretti and Pablo Savini, and a synth-organ feature by Juan Ignacio Sueyro as an homage to Olivier Messiaen’s astounding life story in Quator pour la fin du temps. The album is a breath-taking ode to the extremes of life and feelings, with a trip hop power and ‘static’ rhythm, large and twisted melodies, and circular repetition as well as some free jazz moments and catchy choruses. The featured musicians are Lara – vocals, electric guitar; Valentino Sampaoli – bass ; Isaías Gadan – drums ; Trueno Gonzalez – keyboards ; Juan Cruz Cerasa – clarinets and María Escobar – violin. It will be on both the Aural Delights and World of Jazz Shows.
Manu Codjia, Giuseppe Millaci & Lieven Venken
Hypnote Records presents the new album from the trio of Manu Codjia, Giuseppe Millaci & Lieven Venken, release date October 22, 2021.
Phases is an album the crossroads of jazz and rock.
Giuseppe Millaci, hyperactive double bass player with considerable talent, whose productions in recent years have given new impetus to the Belgian jazz scene, reinforces his prowess as a musician, composer and producer with this album. His acolyte Lieven Venken, multi-instrumentalist with an unstoppable rhythm, creates a base from which emerges the electric riffs and dazzling solos of Manu Codjia, a multi-award-winning guitarist.
Difficult contexts sometimes lead to happy encounters and in a Brussels shut down by the pandemic, nevertheless the cultural abundance and the artistic dynamism of the capital led to the meeting of the trio. The rehearsal sessions were an opportunity for everyone to discover their complementarity and group energy, which lead them to create improvisations called Phase I, II, III which form the backbone of the album. The album features two standards – “How My Heart Sings” so loved by Bill Evans and the famous ballad “My One And Only Love”. Reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s work with Paul Motian and the guitarist subsequent solo work this is a collection which includes some remarkable playing.
Also in this week
- The Leaf – Loop : Milan based alt rockers who create a good sound and don’t sound like anyone else – a rarity these days
- emitime – Scarce : Excellent jazz from the ever reliable ears&eyes label – free to download at the label’s Bandcamp page
- Amon Tobin – How Do You Live: first new album since he launched his Nomark Records label with the #1 Fear in A Handful of Dust and its sister album, Long Stories, in 2019.