Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review #16: The Melvins - Chicken Switch (2009)

Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Remix, Noise
Label: Ipecac Records
Tracks: 14
Length: 69 Minutes (Long)
Style: Weird/Funny
My Rating: 5/8

The Melvins are one of those few bands who are older than a large amount of PARENTS nowadays and still manage to stay fresh and come off as a "new band" to its new listeners. Earlier, they had released two of their most traditional-sounding records in awhile, "(A) Senile Animal" and "Nude With Boots", and now they've come up with yet ANOTHER zany idea to push boundaries: a REMIX ALBUM! Well, it's not your typical remix album. Think of the Melvins' weirdness and sense of humor. You'll find all o' that, here. Well, they gave each of a select group of remixers (including members of the Boredoms and Sonic Youth!) a whole album (or more) to remix into ONE TRACK. The results are sometimes amusing, sometimes mediocre, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes frightening...

1. Washmachine Sk8tronics (Eye Yamatsuka)
Eye Yamatsuka is the frontman for an experimental band called the Boredoms, and he does the first track. It is basically a powerful one-chord riff constantly repeated over and over again with a nice beat, run through all sort of effects, many of which sound extremely cool!

2. Emperor Twaddle Reemix (Christoph Heemann)
Y'know the character King Dee Dee Dee off of the Kirby video games? That's the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the title of this song, for some reason. Probably because "twaddle" sounds like "waddle", which is something that penguins do. And so, this song has a very strange, arctic-sounding aura about it. It's just a soft ambient string-ish piece with little bits of piano. Something that could be used as the soundtrack for a man wandering through the cold icy tundra when he hasn't eaten or seeing a human being in days.

3. She Chokes Her Dying Breath and Does it in My Face (V/Vm)
This is my favorite one off of this record. Why? 'Cause it's so fucking WEIRD! It's basically a slowed down version of "Grinding Process" with the vocals replaced by creepy, foreign, inhuman sounds which are bound to either make you die of laughter or fear. The song is slowly replaced by an extremely soft soundclip of music.

4. AAHHH (John Duncan)
Begins with a bunch of people saying "ahhh!", and then a bunch of grungey guitars make noise and a fast bass beat repeats throughout the rest of the song with heavy guitar noise. The song ends with eardrum-piercing buzz noises and unintelligible whispering. Remixed from "Lysol".

5. Linkshänder (Matmos)
A very synth-oriented song. Probably remixed from "Honky" or something like that. However, there are some guitars and raygun-sounding effects that come up in the song later.

6. Eggnog Trilogy (Lee Ranaldo)
This song is another great from the album. It's remixed from "Eggnog", as you may have guessed. This song is divided up into three sections:
i. She's Ivanhoe
Mostly a remix of "Wispy". It's a lot like a longer version of that song, but when Buzz lets out his great yell that ends the song, a whole tidal-wave of noise plays alongside.
ii. Cancer
This one is based around the mid-section of "Antitoxidote" -- however, I was real disappointed that they never made any use of the "pigs don't let it" line, which was the high-point of the whole Eggnog album for me. It ends with the end-section of Antitoxidote while pausing when the preacher from the "Hog Leg" starts saying words, including "Cancer" (hence the title!).
iii. Inebriated
A whole section of the song based around the ENDING section of "Antitoxidote", but with much more noise and such.

7. SNOW REM REM IBV (Merzbow)
Starts with a hard, clanging electro-beat. Fuzzy, digitized lo-fi guitar sounds. MS-DOS sounding noises start appearing at the end.

8. Prick Concrete/Revolution M (David Scott Stone)
I believe this was just taken from a single part of "Prick" with an acapella solo by Buzz, extended into something that is over three minutes long. Hee hee!

9. Queen Electroclash Remix (Panacea)
One of the more mainstream-accessible tracks on the album. This is basically a neat little version of their mid-'90s hit "Queen" remixed into the electroclash style of dance music.

10. The Silky Apple Butter of Youth (Sunroof!)
Okay, I have NO IDEA what this is supposed to be remixed from. Hell, it could just be a really clever re-working of something from Bullhead sounding like serene, soft music that you would play for a baby (until it goes insane from the voices inside its head, anyways). Yeah, this is a very calm, weird, aquatic-sounding song.

11. 4th Floor Hellcopter (Kawabata Makoto)
"Aww, honey, the baby's asleep. We just played it the 'Silky Apple Butter of Youth'. Maybe we should just leave this album on all night so it falls asleep!" *shuts the door* "WHAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!"
HAHAHAHA! The frightening sonic BLAST of this next track has awoken your baby!
This song is pure noise.

12. disp_tx_skel_mach_murx (Farmer's Manual)
Uses a lot of Butthole Surfers-esque tape manipluation and rewinding and fastforwarding tapes just for the hell of it. This is actually weirder than a lot of Butthole Surfers songs, though.

13. Overgoat (Void Manes)
Everyone loves the song "Night Goat". But will they love this? Probably. It's much slower, heavier, ominous, and less predictable, since it's being remixed. It starts similarly to the actual song, but then it gets real weird, as they start pulling in beats and guitar tracks and noises from other songs until it sounds nothing like "Night Goat".

14. Over From Under the Dog, Girl & Boy Treatment (RLW)
High-pitched whistles and a throbbing sludge bass. Some lo-fi drums fade in and out, and there's a lot of feedback noises in one part. The song ends in some sort of long feedback symphony.

15. Hard Revenge Bloody Milly Battle vs. Melvins Ozmatized Gore Police (Feat. Cardopusher of the Five Deadly Venoms) (Speedranch)
One of the weirdest tracks on the album. Basically an insane noise collage with noise from Melvins songs as well as sounds from films and general mind-rape.

Bonus Track: Punch the Lion (Hiro Noodles)
As the title suggests, probably a mix between "Punch the Lion" and "Now a Limo". Mainly beats from different songs mixed with a sonic grumbling noise and guitar sounds.

While it's no "Locust Abortion Technician", it's definitely one of the weirder rock albums to have been released. I am very glad to see that the Melvins decided to do this, and I'm actually starting to see it pop up in stores. If you like noise or weird, out-there sort of music, get this.

(P.S. -- Doesn't the cover remind you of "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine??)

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive