Friday, June 4, 2010 at 6:05 p.m.
Artist: The Melvins
Title: The Bride Screamed Murder
Release date: June 1
To me, The Melvins have always been one of those bands that more people say they like than actually listen to. Could be wrong, but that's my perception. I certainly respect their longevity (they've been around damn near 30 years), status as an influencer of artists who hit the big time, and time-tested adherence to a particular aesthetic.
But I can't say I was super-excited when the longtime Seattle band's new record hit my desk. I was just mildly curious. They've always been known as the godfathers of grunge, but outside of the first two records by Mudhoney -- which I always thought of as a garage band at heart -- I didn't get into grunge that much.
So here we have the 19th record by The Melvins (say, I heard they played the other night in town. Anyone have any reports on the show?). If you like The Melvins, you will not be disappointed by The Bride Screamed Murder. If you're lukewarm, as I am, you likely not join the converts.
The word everyone uses to describe The Melvins' sound is "sludge" or "Sabbath-esque." Well, it's late Friday afternoon, and I'm not in the frame of mind to reinvent the band-labeling wheel, and those two words are totally apt descriptions.
In the end, I'm just not into the material, but there are two things I really liked about The Bride Screamed Murder: the production and the drumming. It's simply the best rock-drumming performance I've heard on a record this year. Stomp stomp stomp. It's huge, dextrous, and flat-out kickass. As far as the production, I love the overall sound of the record. So many metal bands are compressed to hell and juiced up with studio technology to make them sound larger than life. The Melvins' sound is monstrous -- but unadorned. You can hear the room they recorded this disc in. You can picture them in the studio, just making a punishing racket.
I just wish the songs would grab me. The Bride Screamed Murder is for die-hards only.
Best song: "Pig House." There's also a nearly unrecognizable version of The Who's "My Generation" that's worth noting.
Deja vu: 1990
I'd rather listen to: Pierced Arrows' Descending Shadows
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
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