For anyone who doesn’t know, the Melvins have gone through many lineup changes throughout the years. And for the most part, I mean bassist changes. The core duo of King Buzzo (guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) have been playing together since their first release in 1986. Their latest incarnation has been releasing albums as a four-piece the last six years.
Freak Puke is a change from that paradigm. Over the past few years, Buzz and Dale have played as a two-piece calling themselves “Melvins Lite.” Last summer they added jazz bassist Trevor Dunn the mix. Dunn’s actually played a handful of live dates throughout the years, including the Houdini Live album.
So I hope I’ve caught everybody up without too much confusion. You want to know how the album is?
It’s great. Really. The “lite” moniker is a bit misleading. This doesn’t sound like MTV Unplugged. It may be light compared to their doom metal stuff, but this is definitely a rock album. Or at least a fusion album, as there is some jazz bass. Even a few bass solos. Like actually solos where only one instrument is playing.
Although the album is very unique to their catalog, it has the experimental vibe of the albums they were making a decade ago. Then add an upright bass into the mix. Mixed in with some rockers that more like their recent Alice Cooperish songs. And throw in a Wings cover. So yeah. It’s one of those kinds of albums.
EDIT: So the album’s out now and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have it, but in case you still need some convincing here’s a download of Leon Vs the Revolution which I feel has a real Primus vibe:
Following January’s four-show Spaceland residency in LA, The Melvins decided to take their show on the road with an Endless Residency mini-tour: Seven cities. Two nights each. Two albums (2EPs = 1 album. It’s basic algebra, guys.) per night. Last week I was able to catch them when they stopped by Brooklyn.
If you’ve ever seen The Melvins do one of these album things (or even if you have their live Houdini album), you know that they don’t stick very closely to the album’s original track listing. Their first set was a mashup of two EPs.
They opened up their two-night stand with nearly 40 minutes of sludgy drone: Charmicarmicat, Hung Bunny, and Roman Bird Dog. Then they blew through the rest of Eggnog in reverse order (which was really weird) and played the rest of Lysol, closing with Flipper’s Sacrifice.
If The Melvins have a commercially successful album, I guess this is it. The song order was very similar to the way it was played a couple years back for their 25th anniversary shows. However, it was still a pretty different experience with the four piece.
This was probably my favorite set from the two nights. Hearing Zodiac is always a blast, and I’ve been wanting to hear You’re Blessened and Cow live for a long time. If I’ve ever heard them live before, it was a long time ago before I had Bullhead and didn’t know what they were. Anyway, they closed with Boris, which is cool because I think they stretch out the end part more and more every time they play it. They also add all these weird and goofy things in there too which is always fun.
Set 4-Stoner Witch:
Another really great set. I haven’t seen them play most of these songs before at all. They opened up with the slow building Levidity, rocked their way through the album in no particular order, and closed with Shevil.
At the end of the song, Buzz and Jared left the stage leaving Dale and Coady by themselves to close out the two-night stint with some insane drumming, which was already pretty mind-shattering right there. But after a while, I think it was Coady (but could have been Dale) started calling for Vinny. So Vinny Signorelli (Foetus, Swans, Unsane) walked onstage, took Dale’s spot at the drums, and Dale played drums from the front of the drum set. Unbelievable finish.
Anyway, great shows. There’s one city left. If you live in Minneapolis, go see both nights. It’s amazing.
After 27 years, the Melvins have finally released a proper (full length, widely available) live album. Sugar Daddy features a nearly-complete setlist from the 2008 tour with their current four-piece lineup.
Now, if you enjoy the Melvins as much as I do, you should know exactly what you’re getting with this release. The only concern would be the mastering which sounds great. A bit better than Pick Your Battles, and totally worth getting. Below is a download of Civilized Worm if you want to check that out.
For those of you that might need a little more information, what you need to know is that after many lineup (bassist) changes, they expanded to a four-piece in 2006. They now do one of those dual-drummer things which sounds cool on the records, but totally annihilates live. They’re a very different band now.
Sugar Daddy is mostly composed of songs written by this incarnation of the band (specifically off (A) Senile Animal and Nude With Boots) and a few really old fan-favorites sprinkled in there. The lone rarity on this is The Star Spangled Banner (I know it’s weird to refer to TSSB as a rarity, but it was a b-side to their Detroit Rock City 7″ a couple years ago) which is played straight and A cappella (mostly; there’s a few drums).
All in all, it’s a really good record and a good representation of their live show, although it pales in comparison to actually being at a Melvins show. But then, I guess, so do most things.
Sugar Daddy Live will be released by Ipecac Records on May 31st.
(So we’ve recently been having some technical difficulties here at Comfort Comes, and again I’m going to link you to my page so you can get the download and see the artwork until this clears up: http://youdontlookhip.blogspot.com/2011/05/temporary-patch.html)
Isis has joined them for a week, and it turns out that these are some of the last shows that they will ever play. Although originally billed as Melvins/Isis, Isis has been headlining shows. There’s some speculation on the switch is that it turned out to be Isis’ final tour. However, it probably had more to do with the fact that The Melvins shared drums and equipment with openers, Totimoshi. Either way, they finally made it to my neck of the woods, and it was a pretty excellent show.
I really enjoyed Totimoshi. I wasn’t very familiar with them heading into the show, but they put on a great performance. They do this Spaghetti Western Mexican doom metal thing, and it’s pretty cool.
Shortly after, The Melvins took to the stage. Buzzo had a new mumu with these Mackie horses on it. Jared had a sparkly cape and other sparkly stuff that looked like he should be playing in The River Bottom Nightmare Band. Dale and Cody were wearing these Mad Max looking things.
When the walked out, Dueling Banjos was playing over the PA. When they picked up their instruments, they jammed along with it for a little bit and went into Sacrifice. The setlist was pretty split down the middle between the stuff they wrote as a four-piece and the Pre-Big Biz stuff.
Early on, they played Black Stooges, which I was pretty happy about. I don’t think I’ve seen this incarnation of the band play anything off of HAT. Other highlights included Civilized Worm, Billy Fish, Water Glass, and Evil New War God. The closed out with Hung Bunny and Roman Bird Dog which was pretty phenomenal. Here’s the full setlist:
The Kicking Machine
Lovely Butterfly intro
The Water Glass
Evil New War God
The Talking Horse
Roman Bird Dog
After that, Isis played. I probably would have been a bit more excited if they played before The Melvins, but they were still good. They opened with my favorite song of theirs’, From Sinking, which is cool. Then they played about an hour’s worth of stuff off of their last two albums (with one pretty old tune thrown in there), and closed with The Beginning and the End. Here’s their setlist:
Not in Rivers, But in Drops
Threshold of Transformation
Collapse and Crush
So Did We
The Beginning and the End