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MEAT PUPPETS 1982-88: Acid rock baked by desert grunge

MEAT PUPPETS 1982-88: Acid rock baked by desert grunge

In the more strange corners of the Eighties on the SST label there were -- between the dreadful Zappa-clown Zoogz Rift and solo projects by various Violent Femmes – thrilling bands like firehose, Black Flag and Husker Du. And the very wonderful Meat Puppets, a trio out of Phoenix, whose brains seemed completely fried by drugs, comics...

Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

This, the second album by QOTSA and their first on a major label, was their breakthrough exactly a deacde ago and had critics digging in their superlatives bag. Oddly enough though, it wasn't because it was ground-breaking and innovative but rather it was (mostly) simply no nonsense, no flaffing about hard rock which was grounded in the...

MEAT PUPPETS INTERVIEWED (1989): Disney avant-metal rock

MEAT PUPPETS INTERVIEWED (1989): Disney avant-metal rock

It's an old truism and therefore probably quite false, but it goes like this; ask musicians their influences and you can pick their sound. It certainly doesn't hold up when you speak to Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets from Arizona. After he’s ticked off The Beatles, Joe Walsh, Yes (!), and Black Sabbath, he then confuses...

The Black Dahlias: Ladies and Gentlemen (Cruel)

The Black Dahlias: Ladies and Gentlemen (Cruel)

With a pure blast of angry guitars, a disciplined rhythm section, throat shredding vocals and a terrific sense of pop smarts driving their metal-edged rock'n'roll this New Zealand industrial strength five-piece grab attention immediately on this six-track EP, which feels far too short. Taking large dollops of classic metal but delivering with...

Soundgarden: Telephantism (Universal)

Soundgarden: Telephantism (Universal)

Once they hit their stride around the time of Badmotorfinger in '91, Soundgarden out of Seattle had shaken out the ragged semi-punk and yelping metal for a much more dense and intense attack. Material like Jesus Christ Pose (here in a searing, seven minute live version of deconstructed noise) was a quantum leap from the noise they were...

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The little-known Vaselines out of Scotland got their sudden time in the spotlight when Nirvana covered a couple of their songs, notably Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam on their MTV Unplugged session. By that time ('93) the Vaselines - formed around Eugene Kelly and  Frances McKee -- had already broken up but they'd reformed to open...

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The JSB Explosion's early catalogue has undergone the remastering/expansion process but here's the essential starting point on any investigation: Orange from '94 was their career highpoint, an album which dragged their alt.rock/Elvis-on-speed, rock'n'roll blues into mainstream attention for its concise, harmonica-wheezing, Cramps-like energy and...

Meat Puppets: Lollipop (Megaforce)

Meat Puppets: Lollipop (Megaforce)

The very great Meat Puppets out of Arizona delivered exciting, desert-baked psychedelic rock with an edge of country and hard rock in the Eighties. If the collected lyrics of Curt Kirkwood would stump even the most dedicated thesis writer with an interest in surrealism, it hardly mattered. The guitars would sear off into the wide open spaces...

DAVE GROHL INTERVIEWED (1995): Post-grunge fun

DAVE GROHL INTERVIEWED (1995): Post-grunge fun

Through the swing doors, down the stairs, then hard right. Follow the corridor, then left, right and left again, then . . . umm. You’re in a scene from This Is Spinal Tap. Where, in this maze of corridors under the BBC Studios in Maida Vale, London, is Studio Four where the Foo Fighters are recording? But another labyrinthine...

Foo Fighters: Wasting Light (Sony)

Foo Fighters: Wasting Light (Sony)

There were those who said grunge died when it was adopted by fashion designers, but that presumes those who were into the music actually cared what happened on the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris. Certainly the death of Kurt Cobain in '94 dealt the noisy, often angst-filled music a serious blow but none of the bands swept along in the...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Led Zeppelin: Mothership (Atlantic)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Led Zeppelin: Mothership (Atlantic)

When this double disc of Led Zeppelin arrived in '07 there were the inevitable arguments from fans about what had been unfairly excluded . . . and certainly their Anglofolk inclinations and some of their essential blues (notably Gallows Pole) might have been there. But . . . This was always going to err toward the band's classic rock...

Sonic Youth: Hits are for Squares (Geffen)

Sonic Youth: Hits are for Squares (Geffen)

Smart move under a great title. Not a "greatest hits" (has there been even one?) or even a "best of", but a selection of their favourite SY tracks chosen by the likes of longtime fans Radiohead, Eddie Vedder, film maker Gus Van Sandt, actress Catherine Keener, Beck and others. That piques interest on a number of levels --...

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