Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Good Ol' Days

So, no, I haven't been putting much up here, as of late. however, that's mostly because I've been really enjoying some older stuff. The best of it is my re-discovery of Skin Yard's "Hallowed Ground". Now, if you don't know who Skin Yard were, here's a nutshell- they were the single most responsible unit in the creation of the whole "Grunge" thing. Don't believe me? Let's review- Dan House, the bass player ran C/Z records which put out the deep six compilation, considered by many to be the first Grunge record. Jack Endino, the guitar player, was the in-house engineer/producer for Sub Pop, so everything from Bleach to Zeke was recorded at Reciprocal studios. Matt Cameron, the drummer, went on to Soundgarden. Ben McMillan, the singer, formed Gruntruck, which opened for Alice in Chains more often than any other band, and were key to bringing Alice in Chains into the seattle scene. So, yeah, I think they were the unit most responsible for Grunge. On "Hallowed Ground" probably their most abrasive record they mix doom, psychedelia, funk metal, and Gothic rock- which tell me if you've heard different- is the formula for both grunge and Stoner rock. So, a key record? Yes, undoubtedly. Find it, if you can.
Another work of staggering genius that I've been listening to is the Effigies "For Ever Grounded". The Effigies were a early chicago skinhead punk band. Not quite Oi! and not quite Punk Rock, they mixed the two in a way that went a long way to creating the "Chicago sound" of bands like Naked Raygun, Pegboy, and Big Black. Then, they got influenced by Joy Division, and created some unique post punk, but on For Ever Grounded, they created a metallic, hard-edged new sound for punk, drawing from Oi!, like Blitz and the early Angelic Upstarts, from Punk, like The Ruts and Penetration and also from arty post punk like Killing Joke and Wire and Uk Decay. Really thrilling stuff, much better than what Los Angeles was producing in 1984.
Lastly, I've been listening to Chrome. Chrome were a kind of missing link between hard-edged psychedelic bands like Hawkwind and early industrial electronic bands like Caberet Voltaire. There were elements in common with The Stooges, Hawkwind, german Krautrock, like Neu! art like the Residents, and even Devo. So, I've been listening to Half Machine Lip Moves and Third from the Sun, both of which pursue a tinny metallic motorik grind with sci-fi lyrics half mumbled into badly functioning recording devices, then coat the whole thing in analog tape effects- it's like Silver Machine runs headlong into Throbbing Gristle. Easily some of the strangest stuff I had in my record collection in the early 1980's, and it wasn't until Six Finger Satellite revived the sound in 1997 that I thought about it. Now, I love it.