Recordings

Though Stag most frequently offers drumming of the "fierce-solid-stellar" variety, Melvins songs still conflate silly and sinister effects, though this time with decidedly non-metallic appliques: spit-drenched trombone ("Bar-X-the Rocking M"), easy-listening atonality ("Tipping the Lion"), and even jangle pop ("Black Bock"). The beauty of the material lies in not knowing when the joke ends, or if it ever started. In "Skin Horse," for example, you don't know you've been had until halfway through, when an unremarkable major-chord progression gives way to saccharine melodies and Chipmunks vocals. Metal, shmetal -- music with humor can do no wrong. Forgive my trembling fanboy awe.

-- Michael Batty

Henry Rollins
Everything
(2.13.61)

Henry Rollins defines history: "From the fuckheads in togas to the fuckheads in suits."

... But you don't have to wear a toga or a suit to be a fuckhead. This is America! Here, even a buff, T-shirt-clad rock star like me can be a complete fuckhead if I feel like it, and since I'm a literary rock-star fuckhead with arty jazz friends, I can release a two-hour, double-CD "audio book" that highlights my own neo-beatnik spoken-word complaints. Yep, just a saxophone, some drums, and me, plumbing the depths of my own dumb fuckhead soul, haranguing my fuckhead audience with I've-been-around prose like, "I refuse to answer the stupid question, 'Where do you see yourself at 50?' What a joke. Like I can really believe that I'm going to make it that long. There will be a time when death caused by a bullet will be a natural cause. I don't see 50 years old for me. I know too much. I know everything." 'Cause, see, I need to tell the people that, listen up, America is a mess. That's right! We've got litterbugs! We've got child molesters! Everything sucks! The world's gonna end! But I remember you little people. In fact, I'm addressing you personally when I say, "You fucking farm animals. I see you in the shopping malls dragging your litter of children behind you. The resources run out right in front of your face and all you can do is make more kids. We'll have to go back to the old-fashioned, manual, hands-on wars to weed them all out. You fucking bovines with briefcases." Don't say I never gave you anything! I gave you my contempt! I gave you this record! Same difference!

-- Sarah Vowell

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