I'm gonna talk about some albums that I like. Most of the time, you can enjoy these records with some beers.

Posts tagged “Alternative Tentacles

Alice Donut – Bucketfuls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life (1989)

There is a strong possibility that you will absolutely hate this album. I have several Alice Donut records, and I’m not really sure why- a lot of them aren’t that great, though I enjoy at least a few songs on each of them, and their singer (Tomas Antona) has one of the most irritating voices of all time- he either sounds like he’s made of rubber and the record is playing at 45 instead of 33, or he does this really grating low, creepy, overly fake redneck sort of thing.

However, for some reason, I really like Bucketfuls of  Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life the whole way through.

Not only does Bucketfuls have a title that’s really fun to say (three albums later, Alice Donut would also release The Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children), but goddamn if the choruses aren’t equally as catchy in a melodic punk rock  sort of way, which is funny, because a lot of the music surrounding them sounds like an ugly (but coordinated) mess. According to numerous (at least two) Allmusic commentaries, Alice Donut was constantly compared to Jane’s Addiction, which makes very little sense to me, annoying voices aside, but maybe you can hear a similarity. What I do know is that the mood of these songs is really goofy and creepy at the same time, with plenty of (again) punk rock influence- this was an Alternative Tentacles release- but a bunch of psychedelic and vaguely (alternative) metal influences thrown in at once.

It’s hard to tell how serious almost all of the songs are- topics include weird fetishes, Southern priests, the singer being pissed off that someone gave birth to him, having your life be a mediocre piece of shit (“My Life is a Mediocre Piece of Shit”),  grocery store lines, and occasional nonsense. A few of the songs have somewhat of a serious message, one of which is a minute and a half complaint about being disappointed in Sinead O’Connor sung by the bass player in a stuffy grunge voice, and one of which, though not without gross humor, is essentially about a woman getting addicted to drugs and having a fascist baby! After typing that out, that one seems like a joke too, but Mr. Antona sounds so damn concerned!

Up to this point, I feel that I have fairly laid out how questionable of a recommendation this album actually is, and it’s not going to stop. I mentioned how “ugly” a lot of the music is, but failed to say why. It’s hard to describe, but I’m pretty sure a lot of it involves several guitars (three, I think), playing chords that don’t quite go together- “Lydia’s Black Lung” opens the album with a riff that sounds like one of the guitar players in a funk-metal band is playing in the wrong key, ruining the whole funk aspect for everyone else (thankfully). That sort of thing happens in quite a few of the songs, though it’s never extreme- none of it sounds like Trout Mask Replica or anything, but it makes it sound like the guitars are covered in mud. In 100% of the cases (except for “Demonologist,” which kind of sucks) this eventually builds to either some incredibly pleasing and creative guitar interplay (done with a drunken slide guitar on “Bucket, Forks, Pock”) or choruses that are simply catchy and sing-alongable (<– not a word) as hell- seriously, the chorus to “Sky of Bones” is “Wake up, you’re next/Silence is death,” and it sounds WAY less stupid than it does on paper (or any other format), just because of the pleasing, a-few-harmonies-short-of-pop-punk melody.

So, there you go, I just spent a bunch of time telling you why you shouldn’t like this album. Try it out though, I swear at least one person who downloads it will find some aspect of it enjoyable, but if not, buy a physical copy- there are a bunch of childish dick-n-boob drawings on the lyrics insert.

Download the non-LP version here, which includes a really tasteless interpretation of a Chick Tract called “Lisa’s Father (Waka Baby)”:


Dicks – 1980-1986/Kill from the Heart (1997/1983)

I wasn’t planning on covering any compilations on here, but this one is an exception for some (I think) fairly legitimate reasons. REASON #1: The full length LP that some of these songs are taken from is entirely out of print, the master tapes have been lost, and a vinyl copy probably costs 8 million dollars. REASON #2: The other good parts of the compilation are from two 7″ records, which apparently have been reprinted, but this band has such little printed material, that it’s worthwhile to talk about it all at once. REASON #3: The other full length with featured tracks on the compilation is fucking terrible, so I am including the entirety of the aforementioned album that has essentially been LOST FOREVER (sort of).

The Dicks are a band that you are more likely to be familiar with via covers, particularly The Byrds’ 1966 hit single, “Bourgeois Fascist Pig.” Lesser known covers include Mudhoney’s version of “Hate the Police” and The Jesus Lizard 7″ version of “Wheelchair Epidemic.” So, let me rephrase, if you like either Mudhoney or The Jesus Lizard, you may have heard one or two of these songs before. Basically, they are a fairly catchy hardcore punk band, but have a tendency to insert a lot of blues influences and even some noise rock, which along with having a flamboyantly gay, obese, and (at times) seemingly insane frontman- Gary Floyd, helped set them apart from all of those other 80s punk rock people.

1980-1986 features 2/3 of the Dicks Hate the Police 7″, the majority of the Live at Raul’s split with the Big Boys, five songs from Kill from the Heart (the album that has disappeared), the entirety of the Peace? 7″, and seven songs of horrible boring shit from the band’s last lineup. If you haven’t guessed, the stuff before those last seven songs is GREAT!

The songs included from Hate the Police are fairly standard hardcore punk, the titular track with an overly pleasing chord progression, and the following, “Lifetime Problems,” featuring a stupendous chorus of inane laughter, fitting right at home with Flipper’s “Ha Ha Ha.”

Most of the material included from the live split (note: there are no studio versions of these songs anyway) fits the same mold as the first two songs, save two tracks that stand out, the first of these being “Saturday Night at the Bookstore,” which is slower, bass-driven tune with mostly spoken lyrics detailing the goings-ons at a popular gay sex shop and is quite colorful- highlights include Gary addressing someone in the audience at one point with, “I’ll suck your dick after the show, motherfucker.” The latter song, “Wheelchair Epidemic,” was covered by The Jesus Lizard and- surprise- kind of sounds like The Jesus Lizard! In addition, the line “Are you stupid, or just a faggot?” is rendered much less offensive when said by a gay man as compared to the cover version out of context.

And now, Kill from the Heart, which is by far the best part of the compilation (but I will be discussing the whole album)! This is where the blues influence comes in, but don’t worry- it’s not anywhere near being “blues rock,” it’s just joyously sloppy hardcore songs that happen to be comprised of blues riffs. “Rich Daddy” kind of sounds like a particularly angry Sonics song, and “Anti-Klan Part 2” even has a slide guitar! The album is still peppered with some fun, short and standard hardcore songs too, so everyone gets to be happy- and I mean everyone– it even includes a completely butchered cover of “Purple Haze” and ends with the most poorly performed dance song I’ve ever heard, which also happens to be 11 minutes long- and somehow enjoyable! These songs are the biggest shifts in that “new” direction, which happened to be abandoned right after this as the band broke up and came back with an entirely different line-up.

The new line-up recorded a decent 7″ (Peace?) and then devoted itself to making longer, boring songs with no hooks or interesting lyrics, represented on These People, which is where the last seven of these songs are taken from (minus the last, which is a short and live dicking-around track). Check them out if you want, but they really do suck, which is why I have included the entirety of Kill from the Heart. Don’t let it keep you from checking out 1980-1986, though, because the beginning is fantastic.