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Thread: The Melvins

  1. #1
    chalkpie
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    The Melvins

    These guys seem very interesting. What's the deal? Top 3 albums to check out first?

  2. #2
    God, where to start?
    Extremely prolific and extremely good.

    Ok here's my four (three is too hard) with reasons, bearing in mind on another day I could plausibly pick a different four.

    Gluey Porch Treatments.
    Their debut and also one of THE great debuts by any band.
    In a way they 'set out their stall' from the get-go and came out fully formed. Yet they also never made another album like this. It's ridiculously complex (but not necessarily in an obvious way) and completely bizarre. I won't attempt to describe the music but it takes A LOT of listens. It's kind of a hard rock Trout Mask Replica. If they had only made this record and disappeared they would still be one of the best ever US rock groups.
    Don't expect to 'get it' straight away but, oh boy, this album has over the last 25 years or so fused itself into my DNA. I can't imagine what life would be without it. I still view listening to it as a special treat. Give me a drink and two hours of your time and I'll bore you going into detail about just how special it is and why.

    Stag.
    Very eclectic and a great way in for beginners, given that it pretty much covers all sides of what Melvins do. There's the super heavy stuff, the pop stuff, the psychedelic stuff and the weird electronic stuff all on one album. Then there's Goggles...one of the great masterpieces of modern music to my ears. It employs the 'simple' trick of over compressing the fuck out of all the instruments EXCEPT THE HI HAT with hilarious results. It helps, naturally, that the tune is absolutely righteous. It's so beautifully far out but never contrived, which is kind of Melvins whole MO. Curiously this album was made for a major label and sounds very posh.

    The Bootlicker.
    (Forms part of their 'trilogy') Brilliant 'non heavy' album with no distorted guitars but typically excellent tunes. All tremendous but would still be worth it for the opener Let It All Be alone.

    Hostile Ambient Takeover.
    Just wonderful. I'm loath to call it a typical Melvins album because there's almost no such thing, but the songwriting and inventiveness on this one is particularly good and makes it a personal favourite. Can't recommend highly enough.

    There's a couple to probably avoid and a couple of recent ones where, to my ears, they're sort of treading 70s rock water but they're never rubbish. Dale Crover is also, I must add, right up there with Bruford, Cutler, Hayward etc.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by Kavus Torabi; 02-20-2014 at 03:49 AM.

  3. #3
    I've been digging Freak Puke lately. Melvins Lite includes Trevor Dunn on acoustic bass. I'll offer that Bullhead is probably my favorite album. I just got a bunch of their more recent albums and need to get caught up. They just put out a covers album that is awesome (the Roxy and Bowie covers are frightening). Like Kavus says, have fun. Let us know what you wind up getting and how you like it.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  4. #4
    If I remember correctly, The Melvins had a t-shirt design that was based on the Kiss Army logo. They also did at least a couple Kiss covers back in the 90's. Oh yeah, and their mid 90's solo albums, the cover designs are based on the 1978 Kiss solo album covers (Buzz Osbourne even drools blood on his, just like Gene did).

    Which ones are best? I have no idea. I remember there was one track I used to hear on college radio that was like 32 minutes of them playing one slow, sludgy chord progression again and again. You know those never ending fermatas Neil Young likes to play at the end of songs when he's playing with Crazy Horse. OK, imagine that extended to 32 minutes and that's what this was.

    I also remember Buzz Osbourne mouthing off about Ritchie Blackmore in Guitar Player once, too.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I remember there was one track I used to hear on college radio that was like 32 minutes of them playing one slow, sludgy chord progression again and again.
    This sounds like it might be Lysol.

  6. #6
    They have so many peaks, it is hard to pick. I really like A Senile Animal right now. This is one of the albums they did with the duo Big Business filling out the line-up. That means two drummers, and lots of vocals. The sound is a piledriving slab of concrete on wheels. You will get run over.

  7. #7
    Funny this should come up. I was listening to comedian Greg Proops' Smartest Man in the World podcast yesterday and he spent time eulogizing Shirley Temple Black, whose daughter Lori was a former bassist in the band. He relayed several stories of band members being threatened by Shirley and her husband, a former CIA guy, funny stuff. He also spent some time discussing Paul Stanley's crowd interactions.

    http://smartest.libsyn.com/leopards?...n+the+World%29

  8. #8
    Member liam fennell's Avatar
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    Lysol is def the one with the one long half hour slow motion sludge song and is pretty perfect if you're into that kind of thing. Bullhead and the Eggnog EP are similar in sound but with shorter and kind of catchy songs and also quite good. I don't have much time for the major label things or the trilogy that came afterwards, they seem to be floundering around and not sure what kind of music they actually want to be playing.

    My favorite by far though is Hostile Ambient Takeover because it's relentlessly strange, rocks like hell and is totally dominated by the bass player from the Cows who plays with a slide and sounds totally awesome and unique, like some kind of lurching bass monster. They got real bad real fast after firing him and I haven't really bothered with them since, they're way past their expiration date IMO. I sort of feel like heavy aggro rock and roll is really silly when played by middle aged men.

    The earliest ones are also quite good but an acquired taste, to say the least. They're particularly good if you like counting time signatures and getting pummeled by drums with strangely accented beats.

    The dvd Salad of a Thousand Delights is also pretty great, it's primo stuff made around the time of Bullhead - there's one sludgy song in particular where Buzz goes into a kind of trance and is so into it he's like drooling and stuff. Killer.

  9. #9
    I'd say Houdini is a pretty good place to start. The first of their Atlantic Records releases (thanks, Nirvana) it's *maybe* slightly more polished or focused or something. Plus a cover of Kiss' Goin' Blind gives a new listener something familiar to hold onto. Like all their albums Houdini has some WTF moments though, Spread Eagle Beagle, but that's part of The Melvins fun. I hold the last few releases in higher regard than some (see above) and think the Big Business hookup has been a good thing. IMO, The Bride Screamed Murder is as solid as anything they've done.

    Honestly, if you've got an idea of what The Melvins are all about, there's probably something on any release you'll dig. And also something that will make you wonder why you bothered. In short, an amazing band.

  10. #10
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    I agree that Hostile Ambient Takeover is a must.
    I also love the album they did with Lustmord called Pigs Of The Roman Empire.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by 100423 View Post
    I also love the album they did with Lustmord called Pigs Of The Roman Empire.
    This is a great record
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  12. #12
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    This is a great record
    I saw them at a small bar on that tour with Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant opening for them.
    Amazing!

  13. #13
    Now you're just trying to make me jealous I bet it was an awesome show!
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  14. #14
    chalkpie
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    wow - thx for the responses dudes. I'll read this in depth later on. Glad to see fans here! I checked out 2 tracks last night from Honky called "Pitfalls in Serving Warrants" and "Air Breather Deep in the Arms of Morphius"....both fantastic.

  15. #15
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Just dont see them when they open for Primus in Atlanta in 1993. Poop. Not sure what happened that night. Otherwise - pretty good. lol

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Phlakaton View Post
    Just dont see them when they open for Primus in Atlanta in 1993. Poop. Not sure what happened that night. Otherwise - pretty good. lol
    Ha! I was at that show. Only show I ever saw at Lakewood Exhibition Hall (?). A concrete barn of a place if ever there was one. I don't remember all that much other than I was waaaaaaaaaay at the back and the sound was horrible.

  17. #17
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frippster View Post
    Ha! I was at that show. Only show I ever saw at Lakewood Exhibition Hall (?). A concrete barn of a place if ever there was one. I don't remember all that much other than I was waaaaaaaaaay at the back and the sound was horrible.
    Nice... I remember the place was half covered in mud from the downpour outside and the place being a giant echoplex. Sound was indeed horrible. There were a bunch of little 12 year olds trying to mix it up in the mosh with us and a few got slammed and had to be taken out. Good times. It was sort swampy too wasnt it? Hot and humid.

  18. #18
    I first saw Melvins on that Primus tour in Milwaukee and loved it immediately. "Getting run over by a truck" is a good way to describe them. Sadly, though, I'm not super familiar with their back catalog. I'm familiar with their early stuff ("Gluey", "Ozma") and it's I guess what you might call math-grunge? (Trivia: Melvins were pretty much the first grunge band .. a Seattle slowing down punk rock and mixing in heavy metal.) And "Houdini," which .. yeah, Nirvana. But it's good stuff. Grunge to the nth degree, for sure. Like, take what we now call "stoner rock," take out the "stoned" part, but leave in the heaviness. And yeah, plenty of experimentation and stepping outside the norm. I saw them recently with the two-drummer lineup and loved it. I think I recognized maybe one song they did, but the whole show was great. My butt was thoroughly kicked. And yeah, the two-drummer thing is awesome. POUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUND. I should seek out more of their recordings. Also, avoid "Prick," which is garbage (I believe intentionally).
    flute juice

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Phlakaton View Post
    It was sort swampy too wasnt it? Hot and humid.
    Now that you mention it, yeah, it did rain before, maybe during. Seems like they had these huge bay doors that were left open as well. There really was nothing about that place suitable for a concert other than it was located on Earth.

    That was the height of my Primus fandom so I was more jazzed to see them honestly. 20 years later, the opposite would be true.

    P.S. Anybody here see The Melvins open for Rush on the Counterparts tour? I've always assumed they didn't go over that well.

  20. #20
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    This thread has inspired me to dig out my Melvins' discs and have a listening party.
    I may even get crazy and dig out The Crybaby since today would have been Kurt Cobain's birthday.

    Or maybe I should go listen to Prick on Spotify:
    The band wanted to call the album Kurt Kobain but changed it after Cobain's death to eliminate the possibility of people mistaking it for a tribute record. Melvins also jokingly remarked that Kurt Cobain actually is the titular "prick", because he died and therefore forced them to change the album's name

  21. #21
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frippster View Post
    Now that you mention it, yeah, it did rain before, maybe during. Seems like they had these huge bay doors that were left open as well. There really was nothing about that place suitable for a concert other than it was located on Earth.

    That was the height of my Primus fandom so I was more jazzed to see them honestly. 20 years later, the opposite would be true.

    P.S. Anybody here see The Melvins open for Rush on the Counterparts tour? I've always assumed they didn't go over that well.
    I got stuck with Candlebox on that one. I did get to see Primus open for Rush on the Roll the Bones tour - that opener was dreadfully short. Like 20 mins?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post

    Hostile Ambient Takeover.
    Just wonderful. I'm loath to call it a typical Melvins album because there's almost no such thing, but the songwriting and inventiveness on this one is particularly good and makes it a personal favourite. Can't recommend highly enough.
    Rutmanis. Slide bass. Yep.

    He plays on the first two Tomahawk albums as well.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  23. #23


    Have nearly all their releases, but of course there's Noah counting for taste... Ozma was the 1st one that really hit the bloodstream for me. Stoner Witch has a few good crunchers. Bullhead is also pretty deluxe.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Phlakaton View Post
    I got stuck with Candlebox on that one. I did get to see Primus open for Rush on the Roll the Bones tour - that opener was dreadfully short. Like 20 mins?
    If those were the Omni shows then I was there too. Front row for Counterparts, 13th row for RtB. Yeah, Primus was short. I remember them leaving and my crew looking at each other like "That's it?" But then we remembered Rush was about to come on and we got over it pretty fast.

    But before I derail things entirely. Inspired by this thread, I listened to Freak Puke a little while ago at an appropriate volume. I enjoyed it very much. I will likely spin Lysol next.

  25. #25
    Forgive me for this stupid question, but are these guys Stoner Rock/Metal?

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