As we close in on the holidays, it is inevitable that some people may lose their bearings as the holidays approach. Those of us that have worked in retail or a restaurant quickly discover on Black Friday that this is going to be a long month, with an even worse soundtrack. If you're like me, you may wander the mall thinking, “why does the sound of Christmas music and the obsessive devotion to economic materialism always make me wish for a nuclear holocaust.” or, “Am I crazy or am I floating in a sea of the oblivious.” and then sooner or later, “I’ve got to get the fuck out of here!!”
Well there's no need to fear ‘cause the Dead Guy is here, and man do I have the solution to your lack of good tunes this holiday season, The Melvins' Bootlicker (1999). Nothing makes me enjoy the holiday season, much like this masterpiece. It is the second installment in a trilogy, which includes The Maggot (1999) and The Crybaby (2000). The fact that these albums were released only months, not years, apart are a testament to the musical prowess of the Blitzkrieg we call The Melvins. With songs like “Toy” and “Black Santa” the mellow, melodic sound of this album will entice you to enjoy it near the warmth of a hearth, while you sip on a hot toddy. It relaxed and mischievous feel will evoke the simpler times of your childhood, as The Melvins prove once again that they have more range in their pinkies then most bands have at all. Join The Melvins on this weird, psychedelic and surreal journey though the innocence of our childhood imaginations, while you enjoy flashbacks of that time you where tripping during that sweet ass snowstorm.
I was introduced to the Melvins by a friend from work who played guitar. The first time we meet he asked me if I listened Tool and the Deftones. I complied and we've been friend ever since. One day during a smoke break he told me about seeing The Melvins with Jello Biafra the night before. Staring at him, with a puzzled look on my face I asked, “Who are The Melvins?”. As the story goes he was first shocked, but more than that, he was... well, disappointed. So disappointed in fact, that he told me he would introduce me to them and, “You my friend WILL love them.” The Dead Guy had not been born yet, but very soon would be, along with “the jacket” . Loving bands like Tool and the Deftones as I did, finding the Melvins was like finding the holy grail of stoner metal. The now gray haired rock good, King Buzzo was a force of awe. He was a lumbering, sludgy, guitar shredding nerd with a great sense of humor, who I would one day meet. And sitting behind him, wielding a drum kit like the Hammer of Thor, was a mini Danny Carry named Dale Crover.
Being plumbed aurally by these two, I have grown quite accustomed to the heavy stoner sound that made me feel high when I was completely sober. Yet with such a distinct sound, I'm always impressed that none of their works sound alike, and this album is no exception. What may be the most unique work of the melvins, it displays a eureka moment of precision, granted by the experimentation that was afforded to them, after Atlantic dropped the from their label, and Mike Patton signed them to his indie label, Ipecac Records. Signing with Ipecac has given The Melvins the ability to experiment in all aspects with the recording process, which wasn't usually granted by major labels. It would be pretty ballsy to go into a new record company with such an ambitious idea like a trilogy, but with Mike Patton anything is possible.
The only thing that would be more ambitious then this masterpiece and the rest of the trilogy would be if Tool did a jazz album. This album has the ability to be a sprawling laid back trip that could fit into a corner of an empty, run down gin joint on Christmas Eve. It expands and contracts with mellow jams that seamless flow into some of the weirdest experiments with noise and sound that would make John Cale and Frank Zappa proud. From Buzzo's enchanted whispering of, “Toy, Toy, Toy, Toy” at the beginning of the album all the way to the spacey psychedelic acoustic jam of “Prig”this album will make you feel warm all over this holiday season.
-The Dead Guy
Track list (youtube.com links):
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