Sunday, November 23, 2014

Compare and Contrast- Hunger Games Mockingjay VS Radio Free Albemuth

So, let me say at the outset that I'm not suggesting you see either movie. They're both fatally flawed, but I saw both, this weekend, and there was an element that I saw to compare and contrast, so I'm talking about that. There might be spoilers, but I don't care, because you don't need to see either movie.
So, yes, I saw the giant blockbuster. I could blame my wife- I really would not have seen it, if not for the fact that she is a sucker for, and avid consumer of YA faction. She's even trying to write one of her own. But, that's not the whole truth- I've refused some films because they're too cheesey for me, but I saw this one. Mostly because I'm a fan of the "Wow" factor- you know, big booms, sweeping  camera moves, and the like.
But, a theme ran through this film that really, really bothered me. At the most positive spin I could put on it- I'd call it cynical Vanguardism , but, much, much more likely it's the sheer contempt for people displayed- The majority of the plot revolves around convincing the protagonist to use her celebrity to manipulate the masses into war. You read that correctly, and that's about as even-handed as I can put it. It was about manipulating a celebrity, but using carrots of friendship, and patriotism, and even "love" into delivering a message that is automatically assumed to move the drone-like masses into suicidal acts of rebellion.
First of all- how utterly pompous! I do not see anyone lining up to become soldiers because they saw Expendables 45 in the theater last week. I don't think there's even a single member of ISIS who became such because they heard Daniel Sunjata thought that 9/11 was an "inside job". People kill or die for causes because they believe in the cause, not the people espousing the cause. Only in Hollywood does the logic of "We're such big stars, everyone hangs their lives on us" have any credence whatsoever.
But, secondly, assuming it to even be mildly plausible is a massive insult to humanity. They literally have our star go to a hospital, which is then magically targeted for annihilation by the bad guys, and when the star notices- that becomes the advert for our star that inspires millions to literally hurl their bodies at armed opponents. Later, she sings a little ditty halfway under her breath- that has nothing to do with any cause- and the next scene is people mindlessly chanting that same song while they gleefully turn themselves into suicide bombers! The best defense I've heard for it centers on an argument for mass ignorance. I think it can be summed up with a strongly held belief by the film-makers that people are idiots.
Sincerely, I thought that Jennifer Lawrence was mildly talented, with an engaging personality before I saw that crap. Now, I want to see Anonymous data-mine her into a slobbering mess. I do not care that she's female, or anything about her as a person, because the message of the movie is that she is an Icon, whom we love more than our own lives- and I want her to see on a really visceral level what that means- that she should be torn down. I don't care how much money she would owe for breaking contract on this, she should have walked away. The only person who seems to understand what a mockery of the human spirit this film is, would be Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who delivers all of his lines like they're cruel jokes upon himself.
On the other hand Radio Free Albemuth is a stripped-down indie-film re-telling of Philip K Dick's VALIS trilogy. If you've ever read it, you know that the central premise is that ultimately, people will overcome fascism, tyranny and evil through sheer force of inherent godly, goodness, in all of us. Unfortunately, Dick was an experimental Science-Fiction author, and so he undercuts this message by interjecting himself into the books, and making himself, literally, an unreliable narrator. It was a bold move, and completely unfilmable- so what you're left with is a pastiche of a few rabble-rousing dystopian fictions ( a lot of 1984, a little of Pynchon, some C.S. Lewis) with heavy transcendental religious overtones as opposed to the mystic, gnostic sentiment that Dick intended. Again, the question of educating the masses through mass media is in play- but the idea here is in subliminal messages- it's not counting on "star power"- the idea is far more democratic- that if you introduce a concept in a digestible format ( in this case, a pop song) people will incorporate that idea into their own action. Nowhere is it more explicit than at the end of the movie, when the protagonist hears the song that caused his own imprisonment being played by some teens on a boom box, and it dawns on him that the liberation was never intended for him, it was for the "kids"- and that his cabal was only one of many, and so, where his failed, another succeeded in getting the idea out. It was still a crapty movie, but I can live with that message a whole lot easier- that it's not about your personal freedom, and that your actions might very well be redundant and absurd, but that the important part is that freedom exists.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Swingin Utters-Fistful of Hollow

One of the greatest things about punk rock for me was the leeway allowed in terms of guitar sounds. Sure, The Ramones, and The Sex Pistols had the traditional "Rock guitar" sounds- you know that midrange buzzing thing you get from a guitar pushing a Marshall amp through 4 12 inch speakers? Yeah, that never excited me. I much preferred stuff like Joe Strummer's clinky Telecaster into a solid state Fender, or Andy Gill's cheap Stratocaster into an H&H solid state, or Greg Sage's mutant SG pushing some odd amp he made himself, or Greg Ginn's Dan Armstrong into a Peavey Solid State PA Amp- sounds that "professional' guitar players looked at as being "bad tones". I still prefer tones and guitar sounds that aren't considered "good" by the tasteful crowd.
So, I do not care that Swingin' Utters ( or as they'd have it "Swingin Utter$")  play "pop punk" or that their lyrics aren't all thatdeep- they're one of the few bands that can still play on the Warped tour, but seemingly love unusual guitar sounds- they sound hissy, tinny, and energetic, and coil-sprung, just like a Punk Rock guitar should. They sound like steel strings being struck really hard, and vibrating a piece of wood. That's exactly what I like. So, yeah, I like it. Like Johnny, their singer puts it:
They sort of go for a cheap sound and I kind of like that. I don’t like having polished-sounding guitars and that sort of shit. I think the strings should be heard. Every string should be heard when you strum a guitar.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Gary- Farewell Foolish Objects

This will please no one, but me.
I was unfamiliar with The Gary's music, but their latest LP "Farewell Foolish Objects" was sent to me, mostly, I suspect, because the band is comprised of friends of friends of mine. So, I mean no disrespect when I say that they have made a magnificent Shellac record. In fact, they have made the record I wanted out of Shellac.
See, you start with a punk-simple, but math-cerebral riff structure, like Shellac, all clang and thrum, and then add various ornaments that would be considered full song ideas in less-ambitious hands and minds. What makes it surpass Shellac is that the ideas thus introduced are sharper, more graceful, and even more poetic.
Take opener "Blank"- can;t get simpler than the opening two note bass pattern, followed up by the speak sing announcement " I drew blank in the morning- I beat the sun...again". That's a whole blues song's worth of ideas, in a single line. After two and a half minutes of of simmering skeletal blues mope, the song explodes into a line reversing everything " But you know I'm just funning, when I said I'm out running" while the feedback and splash cymbals dissolve into chaos. Shellac have never directed their intellect to something so emotional, raw, and human as this.
Track two " Coming up for Air" is like Shellac meets the Dream Syndicate, in a defiant punk psychedelia- again, applying the Shellac formula to feed a completely different kind of pup.
But, then, on track five, the genius really shows through- with a seasick drone of violins, an ascending bass figure weaving a modality from it, like spiderwebs on rust, carrying little flecks of oxidized metal, tiny shards of guitar get carried along, while Dave gives out little haikus of tired experience, like a Sailor, been out on night watch for too long, scratching a desperate entry into a journal that might go into enemy hands and then crescendos into a wordless riff resolving the tension. It;s minimal, but evocative, and the mind of the listener ( at least this listener) fills in the blanks.
Likewise, track four "No Shame" is like Richard Thompson playing a Shellac song- celtic modes and drones energizing a mathy frame while the words are like little shards of images, like broken man's drunken mutterings. It's a cold little world encapsulated in two minutes- efficient, succinct, and perfect.
So, why won't anybody but me like my thoughts? Because the band will likely be slightly miffed by the Shellac comparison- but, my defense is that there's no other obvious point of reference, and if they don't listen to Shellac, you most certainly do, if you're listening to them.
It's an interesting proposal to me, and one that finally explains a phenomena to me- I've never understood the appeal of a tribute band, until now. But, here's a band that is clearly indebted to one band- so much so that I have a hard time hearing them as a separate entity, but improving upon them in ways both subtle and plain-the difference to me is passion: in essence, who's more passionate about the work? The artist or the fan? The artist can grow tired of the work, can yearn to be free of it, but is chained to that work, while the fan remains enthralled to the work, until or unless the cease to be a fan- hence the appeal of a tribute band- fans cherishing a work, moreso than the artist. Are The Gary a Shellac tribute band? I can see how that argument can be made, and if you played The Gary and Shellac for someone who's not an obsessive- as I have done- as a kind of blind taste test, they really won't know who is who- but if you're a fan of Shellac, I would suggest listening to The Gary, instead- theirs is the more satisfying record. In that way, they are not a tribute band to Shellac - they are the better option.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Twilight Sad- Nobody Wants to Be Here And Nobody Wants to Leave

The Twilight Sad are still a bitter, bitter bunch. I really like their brand of sensitive teenage girl rock, don't get me wrong ( Oh, of course you know what I mean by that- this is the type of music from Joy Division, to the Cure, to Depeche Mode to My Chemical Romance- it's the kind of music for those, usually teenage girls of a certain persuasion, that has just enough swooning romanticism to satisfy the Pop/Rock directive, but enough sadness, anxiety and angst that only the sensitive types seem to fully appreciate it.) but the new thing that they bring is not the David Bowie/Brian Eno/ New Wave/ Industrial synths, but the kind of bitter, cynical simmering anger that fellow Scotsmen seem to lack.
So, for example, if you were to bring up melodic similarities to the lost, lamented Aereogramme, you wouldn't be wrong. Sure,this is more synth-based, and the beat is far more regular, but the lushness and the orchestral opulence of the melodies remains as testament that this band came from the same soil.
But Aereogramme were pure romantics, whereas this lot have no hopes- from opener "Girl in a Corner"'s repeated  "She's not coming back" to closer "Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep" refrain "There's nothing left for us"- this cold bleakness isn't mourning, with a hope that something will come from the sorrow- this is anger and bitterness in the certainty that suffering has no meaning or reward.
Still those melodies- this would be somewhat pissed off Cold Wave of a Cure/ Scary Monsters-era David Bowie/ early Roxy Music variety, if not for the absolute wealth of melodic measures. They offer salve and balm to the still none-more-bleak lyrics, which despite the band's protestations that they're more hopeful than the last LP ( 2012's "No One Can Ever Know" ) - they're still more bleak than I've heard any Goth or Emo get.
So, it's like strong coffee or dark beers- I don't blame you if you cannot stand the bitterness, but I believe that fruits are worth it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pray For Teeth- From the Dry Edge of the Shore

I'm home today because of the dentist. See, I hate going to the dentist because dentistry is a lost art in this country. I say "lost art" as opposed to "obscure science" because that's part of the problem. Nobody grows up thinking "I wanna be a Dentist when I'm grown up". Instead, they want to go into cosmetic dentistry at best, usually, they're a failed doctor. So, while they supposedly have the technical skill to drill into your dentin, they lack any and all finesse, because if they had any real skill, they'd be in cosmetic dentistry. So, the dentist screwed up, and I had to go in for emergency oral surgery today to retrieve a small piece of metal they left in there, last time that had caused an infection, and abscess. Fun, huh? Still not the worst thing a "Dentist" has screwed up in my mouth.
Anyway, I bring up my tale of woe because it's entirely appropriate for the latest release from Pray for Teeth, a Pittsburgh band that you want to know.
First, let's talk about length- these are 4 songs, and it's LP length. So, yes, sit down, get comfortable, because each song is gonna last awhile.
They might get labelled "post" something or another because of that. I'm going to reject that out of hand- calling them "post metal" or "Post hardcore" implies that the music they make is dependant upon a working knowledge of something before. This has no precedent as far as I know. Yes, the screamed vocals, and minor keys might lead you towards doom, or sludge metal. Yes, the reverb drenched, and heavily delayed guitars might lead you towards goth, or spaghetti westerns, but the dynamics betray both of those directions, and the songwriting owes at least as much to shoegaze bands as it does to crust punk. If you had to put this into a box, I think it'd be a pretty lonely box-
"Cinematic Sludge Crust Shoegaze screamo".
Might I suggest a better approach is to actually listen to the music, and analyze it from there? As mentioned, yes, Screams- slightly more punk styled screaming than metal styled in that it's hoarse, and desperate as opposed to guttural and mannered. I like that. Yes, lots of time-based effects- reverb and delay. However, it's not to obscure, as in the case of shoegazers, nor to be "trippy" a la Sludge and Stoner bands- instead these echos add heft and drama- like Ennio Morricone, and Young Widows- and yes, this would be one of the very few bands that I can see as keeping up with Louisville ( Between Young Widows, Workers, Coliseum and Xerxes, Louisville will destroy your scene, musically). The instruments used are straight up hardcore, though- that sounds like a Les Paul, with a Duncan in the bridge, played through a Sovtek head ( Mig 50H, possibly)- and the reason I say that, is that years ago, I got very nearly the same tone using that very set up- I just didn't know what to do with it besides Crusty hardcore. You've got your signature Peavey pound bass, and a fairly minimal trap set for the drums. I'm not so good that I can hear the brand, but this is more "one of each" than the excesses of a metal drum set- where you can hear four different toms, about 6 splashes, and even the bass drums are tuned slightly different from each other. So, considering how downtuned this is, as well, I'd say more Crust than Straightedge, but hardcore punk rock, for sure. Plus, the guitar player can do those 128th note trills on the downstroke, and move the chord up and down the neck to make a melody- that's a Crust signature- but, like I say- with so much drama from the echos that it becomes a very different beast.
Earlier, I said you want to get to know this band- here's why- they get the kind of push that, say, Young Widows got, or the kind of recognition that Fucked Up got, and they will dominate. These are some very tightly composed songs, especially considering the lengths- of the four, the shortest is in the long end of the six minute mark. That tells me these guys absolutely know what they're doing. Nothing sounds like a jam, nothing is extraneous, or a blind alley- this all clearly flows from one musical idea to the next- so either they're my age, and have been playing together since middle school, or these guys are masters of their chosen form- I'm going with the latter. No mistakes- they know exactly what they want this to be, and are honed in, like a surgeon.
As my friends who play know, I play along when listening to music at home. It gets me into the mood, and gives me a way of interacting. I honestly couldn't find any real niches to stick my little licks into- this stuff is airtight, and built like a tank. Heavy, melancholy, tough, tight, and dramatic. Just great stuff. Really. How's that for a genre to put them in? Great stuff.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


You know how you can tell when I'm angry? I shut up. I'm not a particularly violent guy, but I've been in a few fights. Some serious ones, even, where the law became a concern. Every time, right before a fight, I go silent. No yelling, no more warnings- just silent. It extends out from there. See, I never really mastered conflict resolution, so, when I don't have any more arguments, I stop arguing, and start fighting.
I say this because it means you can tell a lot from what I omit. If I don't mention a band, or an LP, and it would be logical for me to mention it, it's probably because I don't like it. If I purposefully talk around some line of thinking, it's because I don't respect it- and so on.
So, I'm breaking a fundamental  "rule" for me, here: The reason why I'm not particularly fond of genres has to do with a strain of Academic Liberal Arts thought- which is to say- I've got very little respect for "post modernism" in Academic thought, and absolutely nothing for the "post structuralists". I think they have no real argument, they're just trying to reframe the debate so it looks like they have a point. I think they're a collection of petty little critics with no real experience, so they take some half understood language theories, and even less understood concepts from psychology, and add it to pseudo- sociology, and then, to shield themselves from any kind of objectivity, call it philosophy. As far as I'm concerned, they were debunked in the mid 1990's with the Sokal affair. Still, in non-academic settings, the over-reliance on jargon and torturous, rube-goldberg-esque can be mistaken for intelligence, and rock critics aren't academics. They shouldn't be, because Rocknroll is popular music. But, it leaves them vulnerable- so because good ol' Bobby Christagau and Greil ( What the hell is that?) Marcus flirted with post-structuralist terms, and theories, because what better way to prop up their deficient taste than with jargon filled bunches of claptrap that nobody in the sciences ( where the real intelligence has been for 100 years) takes even remotely serious. So, now those idiots, along with cohorts found everywhere from  the NME to Cineaste and so on have left Pop Culture probably the last area where such mental masturbation is seen as intelligence. Because I actually like pop culture enough to take it as culture, that means I'm plagued with these jackofficers. That includes having to have this monologue.
I blame them for the hairsplitting bullshit of all these microgenres, and I blame them for unlistenable crap like "Kid A" being taken more seriously than QOTSA's "Rated R"- when if you look around, worldwide, thousands more bands were influenced by Josh Homme's crew than Thom Yorke's. I blame them for the neutering of rock, and I think that every time I hear someone talking about "Post metal/Doom" they're using the language of the oppressor. That I've had to resort to similar pains me.
You might be asking why I'm bringing this up, now? Because it's to do with pop culture and it's been on my mind for the past two weeks. I know it's an esoteric-seeming thing to rant about, but if you had my background of having to deal with this bullshit since 1988, you'd see it all over the place, as well. What can I say? This blog is for me, and how I see it. If you think I'm wrong, that's fine, we disagree, but at least you can better predict how I'll react to things.
Just don't get me started on Identity politics- I'm liable to have an aneurysm and cover you in blood and cerebral fluids...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thurston Moore- The Best Day

I've got my academic bona fides. Two Bachelors' degrees, a Master's, and a post graduate certification ( Education- they have two tracks for that- I took the non-Master's track) . But, truthfully, I'm not all that fond of Academia. Oh, I respect it more than willful ignorance, but I certainly don't think Academia contains our best minds, and it never has. Even more, I've got a lot of antipathy for academic theorizing about Art. For the most part, I'm pretty secular, so hearing a bunch of windbags with a lot of jargon trying to tell me what is, or isn't Art, or what's valid, and what's pedestrian- well, it reminds me of the crass, American view of higher Math and esoteric Science- a bunch of jerks who are playing God.
Thurston Moore is in the unenviable position of being dissected both by Academics and cheap gossips. So, I don't need to guess why he hooked up with a death metal crew, or why he records with people half his age, or whatever else- I bet he misses the days when he was just a punk, who knew more than what he was accredited to know.
So, it's a little surprising to hear how much this new record sounds like Sonic Youth. It would fit right in with what I consider the best era for Sonic Youth, too- from EVOL to Daydream Nation. The opener "Speak to the Wild" sounds like a companion piece to "Shadow of a Doubt", and it never really goes too far from that. Which, nostalgia and all, is fine by me. Sure, there aren't the squalling, screaming freakouts, and yes, the playing is far, far more confident, but still, this is a callback to just before the year that Punk broke- so I'll bet the academics, and the gossips both have a field day over it. If I'm Thurston, I have no idea why I'd invite that. Even on Matador's site, they talk about his Academic credentials, and given that the band behind him has both Deb Googe from MBV and Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth- the gossips are probably going to talk about how much Kim is missed. I foresee some mixed reviews, to say the least.
I'm no critic. I don't even like music critics all that much. So, I'm just speaking as a fan, but I think Art doesn't have to be born of pain- I think it just needs feeling- both in the sense of conviction, and in the sense of emotion. This record has both. That means more to me than the theoretical underpinnings of tracks like "The Best Day"- although they might be there- I just dig the Classic Rock-as-done-by-Wire hooks in the riff . I don't care if Forever More is about his new girlfriend- although it might be- I just enjoy the interplay between two jaguars. That's enough heathen joy for me, and I don't need any more explanation or justification than that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mark Lanegan -Phantom Radio

Much like with Bob Mould, if you want to hear Mark Lanegan's talent, you're best off dropping your expectations for loud rock. I'm sure, if Josh called, Mark would front the next QOTSA lp, and if Greg Dulli wanted, there'd be another Gutter Twins record. But, get over the thought of Mark as some whiskey-voiced Robert Plant wannabe. He's a crooner at heart- he's got more in common with Frank Sinatra than a beautifully ruined voice- but he just wants to sing. So, for those who exited at Blues Funeral, much like those that exited after Bob Mould's Modulate- that's your right, but it seems more than a bit short sighted to me, as, in either artist's case- the infusion of technology and Electronics has given them  new art, new creative impulses, and they should be allowed to follow the muse, period.
So, yes, Phantom Radio not only keeps up the Electronica from Blues Funeral, it expands upon in. Tracks were composed on his phone, and various keys and synths figure prominently. Above all that, Mark is in fine voice. Better than ever. He has refined his instrument as a singer up to that Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Sarah Vaughan kind of place where all of his quirks are known, and used to best effect. So, yes, I like this record. Yes, the music sounds like Joy Division meets Portishead, and yes, I think he feels that music every bit as much as he feels folk and rock music.
Honestly, I like rock music, but rock music fans can be pricks about it. If you try to break out from whatever ghetto of expectations your fans have, you'll be punished, and if you conform too well, you'll be punished. Mark  is a human being!! Leave him alone!! Waaah!!
Ok, I'm joking, and referencing Chris Crocker- how played out is that? But, I have a point in that- it's this- I don't own Mark Lanegan, and I'm not here to protect him, or defend him. I just happen to own and enjoy his records. The sole expectation I have, and have a right to have, is to be able to hear his Art. I can choose to not listen. But, I cannot tell him what to play, and I cannot pretend to understand the man, himself.  That's the deal- i get to experience the art, he keeps his life. Projecting about whatever struggles he may or may not have had, about what his life has done for or to him- that's all his, not mine. So, the stark truth is this- this is his Art in 2014- I can take or leave it. I like it, and I'll take it. Yes, I like the notion of a Joy Division song with those beautiful velvet blues vocals, instead of Ian Curtis' wounded moose moan. Yes, I like his blues dirges gussied up in downtempo beats.
Here's the thing- I don't want to be a brand, or a shill- and neither does Mark, and that makes this just as authentic as The Winding Sheet.
If you need to ease in- start with this version of I Am the Wolf, but do give this a chance.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ex Hex Rips

I suffer from about as many delusions because of my expectations as anyone else. Case in point- it took me about 5 listens to get into Mary Timony's new joint. I was never a huge Helium fan, but I was worshipful of Wild Flag- their record was last year's party album. I attribute a lot of that to Carrie Brownstein, because she's a natural born rock star. I doubt that Sleater Kinney or Portlandia would be worth a damn without her, so I can understand why she would bring the rock to Wild Flag. The problem is, that's a delusion. Wild Flag rocked because it was Wild Flag, not because Carrie is Pete Townshend, Joan Jett, Bob Pollard and Gilda Radner in one person.
So, I went in thinking well, this'll be a Wild Flag substitute. Again, my problem, not the band's, but you might have the same problem.
Now, I can actually hear the band, and they do rip, for what they do- late 70's, early 80's power pop. Everything from Steve Diggle styled guitar solos ( check out "New Kid") , to Jane Wiedlin styled vocal harmonies( "You Fell Apart" ), to even some Greg Kihn  styled verses ( Waste Your Time) . You might call it new wave, or even punk, but you'd be wrong. This is Power Pop, in line with everyone from The Raspberries to Weezer.  It's pop music played maximum.  Not to bore with gear talk, but it's the difference between Fender single coils, and Gibson P-90's. The Single coil guitar pick up will transmit the wave form from a vibrating metal string, transparently enough. But the P-90, though also a single coil, emphasizes the mid range frequencies, enough that it'll blow out the input on most tube amps, just enough to distort, but not across all frequencies, like overdriving the amp- it's selective, and so, retains the articulation and treble of the single coil. So it is with power pop- the aggressive blown out power, but tempered with the restraint of pop.
So, this is a pretty excellent representative of the genre. Had it been released in, say, 1979, it would have blown minds, and would be a classic, and Ex Hex would be in the Rocknroll hall of fame ( heck, they even cop a KISS lick or two { the back half of "Radio On" quotes "Plaster Caster", while the rest is Jonathan Richman-meets- Status Quo} to name one HOF inductee)
There's really not a bad track, if you can dig Pop. So, don't delude yourself into thinking this isn't a truly excellent LP- on its own, on its own terms. Just check it out. Oh, and Mary's Hot, too. Yeah, I said it. She's too cool, too hip, and too special for the likes of me, so I'm not looking for anything, but I'm not a dolt, either, she's sexy in that Shirley Manson way- take a look at this video evidence and tell me I'm wrong. Still, the two things that should sell you on this are the perfect pop songwriting, and the blistering power of the playing..
So, yes, sign me up. I'm flying the Ex Hex flag, now.

Melvins Hold it in

I'm  your typical Gen X leftie. I believe in the power of people, but I generally don't like the people I meet. Which is a simple way of saying I'm alienated. I bet you are, too. The Melvins certainly are.
So, it actually makes me angry, the way this record is being reviewed.  First of all, most of you dicks evidently cannot read. The name of the band is The Melvins. Not even " 'Melvins lite" . Not  "A collaboration between the Butthole Surfers and The Melvins". Just because Paul Leary is ( Was?) in das Buttholes, and Jeff Pinkus once played in the Butthole Surfers doesn't mean this is now Buzz replacing Gibby to play "Independent Worm Saloon". This is  The Melvins, and they already released Ozma, so  they might just be done with playing grunge. Yes, they invented Sludge metal, which begat Stoner Rock and grunge, but really the only guiding principle is, was, and ever shall be doing whatever the hell they want, and you can pin expectations on that at your own peril.
So, yes, it's just plain stupidity that people are expecting Grunge-meets- Psyche Punk out of this. Sorry if that offends, but it's deserved.
Thirty years in, and even a good percentage of fans don't get it? Yeah, people suck. The Melvins play rock music, and are good with offending your sensibilities because they're punks. Not in the Safety-pin and plaid jeans sense- in the hoodlum sense. Go in expecting blues based loud music, with some kind of tweak, and you're good. Anything else, and you are bound to hit a wall. Maybe you deserve that wall.