Fuckin Melvins....

That's what my boyfriend and I say every time we listen to this band. They never cease to amaze and impress me, and they've never stopped rocking.

The Melvins started out in Washington state, and though they were around Seatle before, during, and after the whole Nirvana explosion, they never quite received the recognition they deserved. Perhaps this is because many people can't listen to an hour of what seems to be plain noise. Perhaps these people aren't taking enough drugs, or they've got too much earwax. I don't know; I DO know that this is one of the most innovative, interesting bands to listen to - whether you're on drugs or not.

I have never bought Stoner Witch, which is considered to be their most "accessible" release, so I really can't speak about their songs that actually sound something like you'd expect a song to sound like - you know, a definate bass line with guitar over it and maybe some singing of sorts. I can tell you that the band's re-released a bunch of their CDs over the past few years of their early stuff (when they had what's-his-name on bass, who went on to play for Mudhoney) and live stuff. As you may have read in the other writeups in this node, their live stuff is fucking amazing. A favorite pasttime of mine has become to take a bunch of bong hits (in rapid succession, of course), turn on my personal laser light show (yes, you can buy these now for under $100 at Dapy in the USA, at least), and pop in a Melvins live CD and just meditate and/or zone out.

If you're into loud, crunchy, chugga-chugga guitars and strange experimental noise-punk, and you haven't investigated the Melvins, I advise you to do so immediately. Start anywhere. Pick any release. They're all different, and all excellent. As a point of reference, "Gluey Porch Treatments'" is a re-issue of their first release with demo tracks. Did I mention each CD sounds different?

The band lineup is:
The position of bass player in the Melvins is rotating, much like that of the drummer in Spinal Tap, but without all the messy death. Past placeholders have included: Their albums and EPs, in chronological order, are as follows:

Salad of a Thousand Delights is a DVD release of a live concert. Technically also available on VHS but good luck finding it.

The band was formed in Aberdeen, Washington (not Seattle), like Nirvana. The two bands were friends and were often billed together--Buzzo taught Kurt Cobain how to play guitar while he was in high school, and Dale was Nirvana's drummer for a brief time before they hired Dave Grohl. "Sludge rock" or "slow punk" is an apt description of their sound pre-92, but with the (slightly) added publicity that Kurt's success afforded them, they began to experiment more with frenetic speeds, complex meters and elaborate pranks.

Also, starting with Houdini, the band's lyrics often became dense collages of unrelated words, some of them made up. The seductive impact of the unexplainable phonetic violence is uniquely unlike that of any other musicians. Those who assumed Buzz was lazily improvising could catch the band's show and see him repeat the nonsense syllables verbatim.

Live, they are not to be missed, if only for Buzz's Sideshow Bob 'do and Dale's thong, not to mention the relentless sonic attack. They often impersonate statues in the middle of songs, for upwards of four minutes. Once, when it came time to whistle the When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again-esque melody at the end of Roadbull, Buzz chose the Andy Griffith theme instead.

Stoner Witch is not their most accessible album, though it may be their best. Start with the maggot, or Stag if you like a range of diverse influences. Avoid Prick and Colossus of Destiny at all costs. This is a band that will definitely give your neck muscles a workout, and (if you have a good sense of humor) your gray matter as well.

Thanks to www.themelvins.net for completing the lists--where was that site when I was in college?

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