Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review #149: The Melvins - Set Me Straight (Single) (1989)


Year: 1989
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Sludge, Hardcore
Label: Do the Right Thing Records
Tracks: 3
Length: 9 Minutes
Style: Angry
My Rating: 6/8

Well, it's been over a week since my last review, but that's what a long summer does to ya, makes you all lazy and stuff so it's hard to push yourself to get anything done. Well, school has started again, so it's pretty much back to a schedule and taking classes and reading books and filling out worksheets and all of that FABULOUS stuff.

But anyways, this 7" record is more often called Outtakes From the First 7" (referring to the band's first EP), but there is no official title and "Set Me Straight" has more of a ring to it and is less awkward to say, so I just go with that one. Yeah, these are three songs from the sessions that produced the band's first record that didn't make the cut. And they're pretty good songs. The first one is one of the band's oldest songs, "Set Me Straight", and the two other ones are even more obscure tracks that were some of their slowest tunes at the time. It's also a bootleg, so if you own a copy of this record, the Melvins have the right to break into your home at any given time and raid it of all of your snacks and records and anything else they might want (and if they DON'T want it, then they'll just destroy it!). But yeah, these three songs are pretty heavy n' cool n' stuff, so now I'm going to talk about them.

1. Set Me Straight
One of the oldest Melvins songs. However, like "Snake Appeal", the Melvins decided that the song was still for keeps several years later, but this time they slowed the song down instead of speeding it up. It's an awesome song with a Stooges/Flipper-hybrid feel, but a more vicious riff and Buzz's rougher vocals. The verse riff is one of the coolest riffs ever. This version of the song just has a massive, pounding feel, like every time Dale hits a snare that you're getting smashed into the ground once more. The Melvins did yet ANOTHER version of this song on the album "Houdini". Now for the b-sides.

2. Show Off Your Red Hands
Starts off with a speedy intro with Black Sabbath-style tonage, until quickly dissolving into a sludgy romp through Melvinsland. This version of the song can also be found on Side B of the "Your Blessened" single as "Pronoun Piece Me". But yeah, the title of this song kinda cracks me up... it's like, Buzz finds this guy who secretly has RED HANDS and with majesty like no either he shouts, "SHOW OFF YOUR RED HANDS, YOU THIEVING BASTARD!". Yeah. That would be funny. Buzz's vocals were so fucking awesome during this period. The song gets even slower towards the end of the song. Very heavy.

3. #2 Pencil
This song also has a fast intro section, though here it lasts a little longer and the beat changes up several times before descending fully into monster-mode. Makes "My War" by Black Flag look pussyish (which I think is a GREAT ALBUM before you start talking shit, by the way). Basically the musical elements of that album consolidated into one song. After all, it was them who inspired Buzzo & the gang to be so different in the first place. The lyrics of the song describe a pencil which has been stuck into Buzz's skin and stuff like that. Slow and awesome. After this song the record ends.

All three songs are equally good, so it's up to you what the best one is. The first song is a lot more "normal" sounding, and the second and third songs are both pretty similar in composure. Alternate versions of both songs on Side B can be found on the "Eight Songs", "Ten Songs", and "26 Songs" albums from C/Z Records and Ipecac Records, so it's not so hard to find these songs anymore. But yesh, definitely recommended for anybody into the earlier workings of the Melvins. So that's all I have to say for right now. I'll be back with a longer review of something else sometime soon.

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