RECORD CRACK: Early Melvins records to get special reissues

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If you’ve been a Melvins fan as I have, you most likely already have the original pressings of what will be reissued. The exception is that you’re not going to have these specific pressings, which will be unique in this configuration.

The records that will be released are their second album Ozma, their third album Bullhead, their fourth album Lysol, along with the EP that came before Bullhead, the awesome Eggnog:

  • Ozma was the album that followed up their awesome debut, Gluey Porch Treatments. By then, bassist Matt Lukin left the band and headed up to Seattle to join a few members of the now-defunct Green River in order to start Mudhoney. By then, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover moved from Washington State to San Francisco, where Buzz met with bassist Lori Black. It was through this move that Buzz met up with Tom Flynn of Boner Records, and they ended up working together for a good four years. In fact, it is Boner Records who is handling the new reissues.
  • Eggnog was an EP that lead towards their third album, with three bite-sized songs on Side A and one bun-length song on the B-Side, which was incredibly slow. Despite its Christmas-themed cover, it was not a holiday record but its music was very much a treat.
  • I originally felt Bullhead was a weird album when it was originally released in 1991, not sure if it was because the arrangements of the songs sounded different, they began to be more open with their musicianship, or that the speed of the drums sounded different from their first batch of records. Perhaps it was the beginning of Melvins becoming more open with themselves, and it had taken me awhile before I got into enjoying this fully. I always loved “It’s Shoved” but by the time I finally got into the album as a whole, I realized everything I needed to hear was already there. I just needed to catch up.
  • When Lysol was released, I oddly enjoyed the music, and I say “oddly” for a few reasons. Originally, there was no track listing on the cover so I assumed that it was just one gigantic song divided over two songs. I hadn’t been familiar with Alice Cooper’s “The Ballad Of Dwight Fry” so I wasn’t aware it was covered on the album, nor did I know the album had six songs in total, so I loved it as some Yes-like mammoth feat. When I learned there were six songs, I had to re-listen to it all over again. Loved it more. It only seems slightly odd looking back because this was released in 1992, a few months after Nirvana blew up with Nevermind. No one knew at the time about Melvins getting picked up by Atlantic, so it seems unusual and perhaps now appropriate that they’d depart from an independent label with a set of music that sounded like it did here. Again, did one giant song really mark their entry onto a major label? The album also marked the debut of their new bassist, Joe Preston, whom I had known of as being a member of Earth. While his existence with the band was brief, he was more than welcomed. (You can see and hear more of him on their home video Salad Of A Thousand Delights.

    The new reissues from Boner are being released as two sets of two-record sets. This means Ozma and Bullhead will be released as one set, while Eggnog and Lysol, now called Lice-All due to the lawsuit, will be together as one. It may have come off odd to join these albums together opposed to Ozma with Eggnog or Bullhead and Lice-All but in many ways they’re fitting too, so that’s what fans will deal with. The new double records will be packaged with gatefold sleeves, featuring old photos of the band along with the original cover artwork. These sets will be out in the new year on January 20th. You may pre-order them below via Amazon.


  • SOME STUFFS: Soundgarden to release 3CD rarities compilation

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    In time for the holiday season is a 3CD compilation album from Soundgarden that gathers various rarities throughout their career. Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path will feature seven previously-unreleased songs, so even if you are a Soundgarden fan and claim to have everything, there’s a bit more that you’ll need in your collection. Here’s the track listing:

    CD 1 – Originals

    Sub Pop Rock City
    Toy Box
    Fresh Deadly Roses
    HIV Baby
    Cold Bitch
    Show Me
    She’s A Politician
    Birth Ritual
    She Likes Surprises
    Kyle Petty, Son of Richard
    Exit Stonehenge
    Blind Dogs
    Bleed Together
    Black Rain
    Live To Rise

    CD 2 – Covers

    Swallow My Pride
    Smokestack Lightnin’
    Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (John Peel BBC Sessions)*
    Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (John Peel BBC Sessions)*
    Come Together
    Stray Cat Blues
    Into The Void (Sealth)
    Girl U Want
    Touch Me
    Can You See Me? (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
    Homicidal Suicidal (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
    I Can’t Give You Anything (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
    I Don’t Care About You (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
    Waiting For The Sun (Live)
    Search And Destroy (Live)
    Big Bottom (Live)
    Earache My Eye (Live)

    CD 3 – Oddities

    Twin Tower*
    Jerry Garcia’s Finger
    Night Surf*
    A Splice Of Space Jam
    The Telephantasm
    Black Days III
    Fopp (Fucked Up Heavy Dub Mix)
    Big Dumb Sex (Dub Version)
    Spoonman (Steve Fisk Remix)
    Rhinosaur (The Straw That Broke The Rhino’s Back Remix)
    Dusty (Moby Remix)
    The Telephantasm (Steve Fisk 2014 Remix)*
    One Minute Of Silence

    Some of these tracks were released as B-sides, others go back to their days at Sub Pop. My favorite track, “HIV Baby”, is from the Sub Pop 45 release of “Room A Thounsand Years Wide”. A major highlight on this will be a new song produced by Jack Endino called “Storm”, the first time he has worked with them in 24 years. Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path will be released on November 24th, and can be pre-ordered below from Amazon.


    FREE DL: Dekonstruktor’s “Eating The Universe”
    The Freak Friendly DIY label out of Kiev, Ukraine have released an adventurous album by Dekonstruktor called Eating The Universe. Fans of analog will be able to buy this album on cassette. The music within is a bold mixture of heavy metal, hard rock, grunge, and a lot of feedback that goes everywhere it wants to be and sometimes places where you wouldn’t want it. You can stream it in full and if you’re into what is heard, down it for free and take it wherever you may roam.

    VIDEO: Soundgarden’s “Halfway There”

    King Animal (Loma Vista/Universal Republic) was almost released a year ago, but Soundgarden fans are eating it up like poop tipped in dark chocolate. The group have released the third single from it, “Halfway There”, and now you can watch the video for it.

    Kim, Matt, Ben, and Jake (i.e. Chris) are currently on tour in Europa in support of King Animal, head to these cities if you can:

    September 6… Stockholm, Sweden (Hovet)
    September 7… Oslo, Norway (Oslo Spektrum)
    September 10… Berlin, Germany (Columbiahalle)
    September 11… Amsterdam, Holland (Heineken Music Hall)
    September 13… Manchester, UK (O2 Apollo Manchester)
    September 14… Birmingham, UK (O2 Academy Birmingham)
    September 16… Dublin, Ireland (The O2)
    September 18-19… London, UK (O2 Academy Brixton)

    REVIEW: Melvins’ “A Tribute To The Scientists” (45rpm single)

     photo 78c2a1a1-a816-4eba-b039-472e1c380408_zps6913e8f7.jpg This is the third of three brand new singles released by Amphetamine Reptile of the pop combo known as Melvins, and this one welcomes in a guest and longtime friend of the band. A Tribute To The Scientists honors the Australian band who were known for their mixture of punk and garage/roots/swamp rock. Buzz and Dale bring in Mark Arm, the man of Green River/Mudhoney/The Monkeywrench fame who introduced me to Melvins back in the fall of 1986 when I ordered a copy of Green River’s “Together We’ll Never”/”Ain’t Nothin’ To Go” 45 from him. He included Melvins’ first 7″ on C/Z as a bonus. Hearing Arm backed by Osborne and Crover in “Swampland” makes me wish the three of these guys would do more material together, it sounds incredible, and Arm pushes himself to level that might be able to push this song into a hit of the state of the music industry was a bit better. “Set It On Fire” grinds beautifully, and with Buzz taking on both guitar and bass duties, there’s just a sense of heaviness that may very well be in my head but it sounds damn good.

    It was one thing when Melvins covered Mudhoney’s “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” for a single, but another for Arm to step into the band’s realm and make it sound as if he has been “in the waiting” to play with these guys. Each AmRep 7″ in this series has been very nice, and it’s difficult to say which one is better, and I’m not going to because they all have qualities that I like. There are six more singles to come, including a Throbbing Gristle tribute where Buzz plays everything heard so I look forward to it all.

    VIDEO: Melvins à Villette Sonique, Paris, France (live performance)
    Shot on May 10th as part of their residency tour in Europe, this is a full length (118 minutes) Melvins performance in Paris, France at Le Trabendo, on day one of their two day stay at the venue. This is an incredible performance, professionally shot and mixed (i.e. broadcast quality), so kick back and have a blast.

    BOOK REVIEW: “Fade To Black: Hard Rock Cover Art Of The Vinyl Age” by Martin Popoff with Ioannis

    Photobucket Even though it has been praised, bashed, loved, censored, condemned, and ridiculed, hard rock continues to be a vibrant music for people of all ages. Its roots and offshoots are well documented in books and documentaries, not bad for a music that was once blamed for everything from teen pregnancy to suicides. Hard rock and heavy metal is scholarly, although those in the know will tell you that the music has always been a great source of information and inspiration. In the era when vinyl was king, the record cover was what made an impact first to the potential record buyer. Maybe the song would be playing in a record store, maybe you had seen an ad for it in Hit Parader, Circus, Kerrang, or Rip, but you still had to truly seek what you wanted to find, even when hard rock and heavy metal became the most popular music around the world. Fade To Black: Hard Rock Cover Art Of The Vinyl Age (Sterling) is not only a healthy look at some of the best hard rock covers ever released, but each album features background information on its creation. If these covers were your eye candy, now you can explore its ingredients from the outside in.

    Journalist Martin Popoff worked with artist/designer Ioannis to interview the designers, photographers, illustrators, and sometimes the artists themselves to discuss what went on behind each album cover, and sometimes its after effects. Also, by calling this a book about “hard rock”, it covers a broader spectrum than just “heavy metal”, so you’ll get influential garage, acid, and progressive rock, leading to the birth of heavy metal and its eventual offspring. Many of the images were major factors in the myths of heavy metal, from illustrations of vikings fighting on snowy mountain tops to bands flirting with sexuality, whether it was the use of a sexy woman or the band wearing pants that reveal a bit too much. The book begins with a look at The Rolling Stones and The Who before its path heads towards Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterly, before eventually landing on Led Zeppelin, MC5, Free, and King Crimson. Like the music, things get more adventurous. One might not think of Grand Funk as a hard rock band but they represented Flint, Michigan with their abrasive style of rock and soul. If The Who were considered maximum rock’n’roll, the Flint trio were very much their names: grand funk. Throughout the book Popoff and Ioannis reveal some of the secrets that may lurk in these covers, including background information, costs, along with internal record company politics that was based on everything from “I don’t get it” to “we need a better cover”. Then it touches on what happened when these covers would be taken in by the public. It is revealed that the cover for Foreigner’s Head Games was actually meant to be cute and harmless (it’s nothing more than a girl trying to wipe away the dirty graffiti so that no one would see it, although everyone had interpreted it as being sexual, good and bad). Hard rock fans will discover that versions of covers released in their country were censored compared to the home country of the artist (do a search for the uncensored cover for the Scorpions’ In Trance, and that’s the nice one, not Virgin Killers). While the second half of the book is dedicated to albums that were also released in the cassette and CD eras, many fans bought the albums because they knew the covers would be killer, be it titles by Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne, Jane’s Addiction, or W.A.S.P. Even Badlands’ first album is here, and while the cover might seem silky-smooth today, the album was powerful then as it is now. Seattle is also represented with glimpses of Nirvana’s first (Bleach) and Soundgarden’s second (Louder Than Love, and as someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest, I found this reference to be interesting:

    Perched above and below are the band name and title in the now-iconic retro font seen on countless T-shirts. Bleach appears in quotes, although no one remembers the title or refers to the record that way.

    “No one”? Who are these people? Anyone in the Pacific Northwest, along with those who were keeping an eye and ear out on the Seattle music scene, always knows what Bleach is. If you read publications like The Rocket, you would often read about some of the drug problems of the city and outlying areas, and how there was a well-supported needle exchange program, or for junkies, they would regularly clean their syringes with bleach. It was a system that wasn’t exclusive to Seattle, as heroin use is not a local or regional phenomenon, but the title seemed fitting in the summer of 1989, where there was a bit of “20th anniversary of the summer of love” hype in the mainstream media. The Seattle scene was just like any other scene with great music and a supportive music community, so calling it Bleach seemed very Seattle at the time and still is. While most of the world began their Nirvana adventure with Nevermind, there is a group of us who know that black & white album with the photo flipped negative style all too well. It’s Bleach, it will always be Bleach, and we like it that way, thank you.

    While vinyl continues to thrive 21 years after the book’s cut-off point, Fade To Black ends in 1991, as artists, designers, illustrators, and labels began to mske the compact disc a priority and make the 5 inch square cover the default way for everyone to experience artwork. Some albums may have been released on CD and cassette only, and if you wanted the record, you had to order it via import. Some titles were never released on vinyl at all, so those glory days would not end, but go into hibernation for awhile. These days, people look at covers as online forum avatars or social media profile pics, but there there are a few generations who would absorb these covers along with the music, creating an image of the music that may not be accurate with the lyrics and stories being told, but the imagery would burn into our consciousness as strong as the music. Some of these albums may have been difficult or impossible to find depending on one’s locale, but in 2012, one is able to click on a music merchant or do a blog search to find all of the albums here. It will bring back memories of going to the store and staring at these, thinking these images were the most sinister but it was sinister for you, or in my case, going to my uncle’s apartment, heading to the stereo first, slapping headphones on, and putting the cover on my lap and wonder why what I was seeing and hearing was so awesome. In 2012, one may have to pay collectors prices for some of these records although the true crate digger and vinyl junkie will know how to find and buy them at decent prices. Fade To Black is a way to acquaint yourself with classic hard rock albums, and maybe be reacquainted with the images and sounds that contributed to a lot of hopes, dreams, and for some, nightmares in our not-so-wasted years. It also shows the importance of album cover artwork first and foremost, when wanting to immerse yourself meant holding that 12 x 12 piece of cardboard and wishing you could get yourself into their world. In essence, album cover packaging is indeed fading to black, so while not an official goodbye, it’s acknowledgement of the creativity of everyone who made those covers special.

    REVIEW: Dynoride’s “What You Wanted”

    Photobucket Dynoride might be called grunge or post-grunge if terms like that were effective, but it’s a quick way to describe a sound that reminds me of some of the heavy indie/alternative bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s who sponged a lot of different influences to create something that surprised people. Surprised? Maybe some didn’t know the influences was a nice mixture of rock’n’roll, pop, punk, hard rock, heavy metal, and whatever they felt like throwing in for color. Dynoride sounds more like a band who came from that era than a group who were influenced by Mudhoney, The Cows, Soundgarden, King Missile (Dog Fly Religion), Sore Jackson, Faith No More, and Sonic Youth, and What You Wanted (Gentle Edward) is an apt title for not only music you were looking for, but what you had been searching for, but didn’t realize it.

    The stock in Dynoride’s soup is incredibly beefy, throaty even. What I’m trying to say is that their sound is loud and raw but organized, and they do their songs in a way where you’ll get into them, be comforted by what you hear, then they’ll be a few curve balls tossed in your faith. The songs could easily become indie rock hits, anthems that the mainstream would love to claim as statements of a generation. What I like about these guys is that they’ll throw a different arrangement that one will not expect, and anyone who loves those type of changes will put up their devil hand gesture and go “yes, I obey everything about this temple I’m listening to.”

    This is the type of indie rock band that is worth searching for, not one you might be force fed to become a fan. The way some of the lead vocals are pushed back into the mix and all you hear is reverb, or how they willy-nilly go back and forth from metal to stoner to punk to punk pop, those are things that not everyone is going to find pleasing. The energy reminds me a bit of the acid-tinged sounds that the Flaming Lips were known for back when they were misunderstood alterna- darlings, and while I can’t tell you what this would sound like while on acid, it’s your own trip and Dynoride sound like a trip you wouldn’t want to calm down from.

    DVD Review: “Pearl Jam Twenty”

    Photobucket Pearl Jam Twenty is the 2011 documentary film on a Seattle band that, for some people, came out of/from nowhere, figuratively and literally. Directed by Cameron Crowe. the movie is an in-depth look at Pearl Jam’s roots, along with the roots of each member, plus what they had to get through in order to get from way over there to becoming the Seattle band naysayers didn’t think would last more than two years. Through a mix of newly shot interviews and archival footage, one is able to watch the growth of the band, their music, along with how each member managed to stick together despite initial mental obstacles. In terms of rock documentaries, this is one of the best because the band allowed complete access to their lives. Die hard fans will love this, as it offers a chance to see not only early nightclub shows when they were known as Mookie Blaylock, but also some of the promotional duties they had to do during the first album, all of which lead to what guitarist Stone Gossard calls “the birth of no”: no videos, no interviews, no Ticketmaster. It seemed so revolutionary and out of the norm, and years later, we have people like comedian Louis C.K. who is able to sell concert tickets directly to fans and have it be celebrated rather than criticized. There are so many highlights to this, but I liked it when Eddie Vedder said that the innocence of Seattle did not die when Kurt Cobain killed himself, but when Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood died after being taken off of life support following a heroin overdose. Then years later, have Vedder and the rest of the band sing a Mother Love Bone song. There are a number of touching moments here, but it has to be watched to be truly felt. It feels like a concert film even though it’s not. I have seen many music documentary films, but along with the Fishbone doc Everyday Sunshine, this is one of the best docs I’ve seen in a long time. While the film does touch on the hype and mystique, you also hear them talk about why they shunned it, and how they managed to beat the odds after taken the route most bands would never do, especially not today.

  • Now, my sidebar story. I remember when Mookie Blaylock was getting a lot of attention in the Seattle bi-weekly magazine, The Rocket. It was a magazine that pretty much covered anyone and everyone, and they championed some of the best bands in their existence. At the time, Europe and Japan were enjoying the superhype of the Seattle music scene. Alternative fans in the U.S. loved it, and it was far from being pop. People talked about how Soundgarden were on A&M, and people were wondering who would be the next to get a major label offering. Everyone was hoping for Mudhoney. But these Mookie Blaylock guys… it seemed like every issue had a status report on shows, demos, and how they might be getting a buzz. They then talked about the name change. Soon, there was a bit of mystery about a secret project from Nirvana, and something was very much in the air. I lived 200 miles away from Seattle, but if you were in touch with their music scene, you wanted to show support. I, on the other hand, felt like this Pearl Jam stuff was crap, and I hadn’t heard a note of their music. I was a long time Green River fan, ordered their “Together We’ll Never” green vinyl 7″ after reading a review from Bruce Pavitt in his Sub Pop column in The Rocket. It arrived with a letter from vocalist Mark Arm, who was nice enough to introduce me to a new band. He threw in a free record by some band called Melvins. I ended up enjoying Melvins much more than Green River, but I loved how sarcastic Green River were in their approach. When they split up, there was news on what the members would do next. The bassist from Melvins decided to join up with some members from Green River, ended up creating Mudhoney. Two other members of Green River would create Mother Love Bone. I knew Mother Love Bone received a lot of praise due to vocalist Andrew Wood. Loved when Mother Love Bone got signed to a Polygram deal. Then Wood died. I went to the New Music Seminar in 1990, and as I walked around in New York City, there were loads of posters of the forthcoming Mother Love Bone debut. It was meant to be a promotional push not only for them, but of Seattle. I wanted that to be their moment, but it didn’t happen, so the posters were just there and MTV played “Stardog Champion” as much as they could.

    This is why I hated Pearl Jam. I honestly felt that Eddie Vedder was nothing more than a random surfer stoner from San Diego who was trying to cash in on the Seattle thing, and they just snapped him up for attention. Keep in mind that I was in punk rock mode, and being overly protective for a music scene 200 miles away. I didn’t care too much about Vedder’s singing, his songs, I didn’t want to listen to it. They didn’t sound like what “grunge” sounded like, but then again, compared to everyone else, neither did Nirvana. Hell, every band sounded completely different one another. It would be too easy to say “Melvins is the sound of grunge”, but they loved Flipper as much as they loved Black Sabbath. Their influences were as diverse as everyone else. I thought Pearl Jam sucked, but they were always on MTV so they were hard to miss. I had to admit, even though they sucked, I found the sounds oddly catchy. I didn’t want to admit it. “Jeremy” got all the hype, “Alive” was their grand opening song, but I liked “Evenflo”, especially the video since it was shot at the Moore Theater, one of my favorite concert venues. To me, Vedder came off like a pompous poseur and that’s because I did not understand what he was about. He didn’t seem like the sarcastic fuckers of Seattle, and that’s because he wasn’t from Seattle. I’d read his interviews and thought “wow, who in the fuck is this guy?” I always heard the “hits” on the radio, but being in Washington State, the few rock stations in my area also played the album cuts. I happened to have a liking to the one “hit” that didn’t have a video: “Black”.

    After the buzz from the “Jeremy” video died down and they were getting ready to put together album number two, I still didn’t like them, but then they started doing things that I did like. I liked the fact that they chose to not too any more music videos, at a time when videos were meant to be “all or nothing” for artists. I liked that they would battle Ticketmaster when most major label/mainstream artists never had the balls to do the same. At a time when the compact disc was finally the preferred format of choice, I liked that they were pro-vinyl, often releasing albums two weeks before the CD release. (Today, if an album has a vinyl counterpart, it is usually released two weeks after the digital and CD releases are out). They also had a fan club where they would release Christmas records, just like The Beatles did. As serious and as “poseur” as I felt they came off as, there was a sense of something else that perhaps I had always wanted in a band. There was humor, there was fun, and there was a true love for music. What convinced me was when they started collaborating with Neil Young. I’ve been a Young fan since a kid, had an uncle who adored After The Gold Rush, which remains my all time favorite NY LP. It sounded great, and I realized wow, have I been wrong in assuming this band was crap? It sounds good to me.

    The weird thing about is that, Epic Records would send me promos of their albums and I didn’t bother listening to them. That hate was strong. Yet I found myself traveling 45 miles to the only record store in the area (Hot Poop in Walla Walla, Washington) to buy a vinyl pressing of Yield. The early reviews seemed good, and I thought “okay, this is album number five. I need to put my unrealstic hatred away. Maybe this album will change me.” It did.

    In between this hate, I became a huge fan of Gossard’s other band, Brad. I played the Shame album religiously and felt that this was the sound of Seattle, and it still is.

    I then realized wait: I’m from Hawai’i, where surfing originated. I was born in California, and there’s still a small bit of that boho California vibe in me. Why should I feel hatred for a guy who loves the ocean? I’m that guy who is always writing about how the lure of the ocean is strong and a beach tends to bring to me a bit of inner peace, even if just by thinking about it.

    I’ve been a Pearl Jam fan longer than the seven years I chose to hate them. It was more Vedder-hate than Pearl Jam, and as I began listening to his songs with the band and his solo work, I felt much of what he was going through. He can pick up an ‘ukulele and make it heartfelt. I could relate to that. No more hate.

    There is little chance they will read this but: to Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, and Mike McCready: I apologize for being ignorant to your music from 1991-1998. Call it Pacific Northwest pride, call it support for the Seattle music scene from a distance, call it dumb. It will not happen again.