Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Sub Pop
Over the last 10 years or so, the Melvins have alternated between a quartet lineup that includes the rhythm section of Big Business and a series of trio iterations with various bass players including Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle, Fantômas and others. These days, the band name functions as a chimera-like host for these somewhat distinct entities, with mainstays Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover expressing a desire to introduce even more lineups over time.
Given the Melvins' profligate recording habits and eagerness to work with others, it's rather surprising it never happened before. But in 1999, the grunge pioneers somehow managed to lose track of one of their projects. The Melvins had gone on tour with Mike Kunka, whose band Godheadsilo had recently broken up. Given their shared dedication to idiosyncratic heavy rock, it made sense that Kunka and the Melvins thought it would be fun to make an album together.
1999-scheduled release finally sees the light of day. This album was originally intended for much earlier times than now. Singer/bassist Mike Kunka decided to take a vacation from his own band, godheadSilo, and decided to hang out with The Melvins, then a trio fronted by Buzz Osborne. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .
What does it say about a group if they can go nearly 17 years between when the tracks were originally recorded and when they are finally completed and released with little to no change in sound? Is this the mark of a musical stasis or an unwavering adherence of vision that remains in focus for nearly two decades? In the case of Mike and the Melvins, it’s more that the sum of their collective parts hasn’t really changed all that much since the started dropping low-end heavy, muddy sludge rock on the masses some time in the mid-‘80s. And somewhat fittingly, both the album’s title and “nom de song” are cribbed from ‘80s pop culture. It’s not that either the Melvins or former godheadSilo bassist/vocalist Mike Kunka found themselves stuck in a particular time period, more that in a particular time period they found a sound that stuck.
In 1983, the idea of the Melvins protracting their sludgy weirdness over more than three decades probably sounded like a bridge too far, even for the members themselves. But time has made a fool of us all. Not only are Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and the band’s rotating cast of characters still at it, in 2016 they’re arguably more alive and fruitful than they’ve been at any point previously in their career.