Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Monekywrench - Clean As A Broke-Dick Dog

Introducing LP Sunday, the first in an occasional series. Writing about the Monkeywrench earlier gave me the idea to do this.

Why break my own rules? It's called The Daily 7, not The Occasional 12, right? Well, because I can, and I've got maybe 25-30 LPs that are at least reasonably hard to find in digital format, and I'd like to get around to converting these, too. And LPs are a bitch to convert. You've got play a 45 minute record, split the tracks up by hand, and so on. So I'll work on those on the weekends while (if) I have some extra time to do that, and stick to singles during the week.

On to the record of the day, Clean As a Broke-Dick Dog. I'm pretty sure I mail-ordered this directly from Sub Pop, knowing that the odds of this reaching the stores in the Pioneer Valley were pretty small. This was a must-have as far as I was concerned, and I wasn't about to take any chances. Mudhoney/Gas Huffer/Big Boys side project? Sign me up! It's beautifully packaged, with an homage to old blues/jazz artists with the blue duotone cover and the lengthy, ridiculous essay on the back that explains the relationship between the blues and punk (with a Darby Crash reference! I love it when these things come full circle!) before moving on to extol the virtues of The Monkeywrench. It's perfect. I compared the cover art to an old Coltrane album I have, and even both of the essays fonts are identical. It's on fairly heavy, nicely marbled blue vinyl that makes it look like a bowling ball. Sticking with the old record theme, the label is black with silver ink.

What's inside the cover isn't exactly perfect, but it's close enough. Mudhoney, my favorite garage-slop-grunge act of the early 90's, gets the blues. That's pretty much it. Straight up garagey rock n' roll with some added slide guitar, harmonicas, and so on. It's a solid album, with some standout tracks. "Call My Body Home" is probably the best song about insect infestation ever recorded. "Bottle Up And Go" is as cool as its title sounds, and there's a great little slide-guitar hook to it. They do a great job covering the unlikely pair of Buffy Sainte Marie's folkey "Codine", and Redd Kross's "Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me". They nail them both, adding a lot of depth to what started out as two pretty stripped-down songs.

I never did check up on these guys after I got this. I just figured it was a one-off side project. I'm just now finding out that they cut 2 more albums, seems like they do this every 7 or 8 years, which is pretty cool, and probably a lot of fun for them. I should go track those albums down. Amazing how much I've lost touch with this stuff. There was a musical void in my life starting in the late 90's that lasted until recently. At first, I lost track of what was current, and then I just lost touch with everything. I didn't even know that Sub Pop did a Singles Club parts 2 & 3 until I started on this little vinyl project. School, kids, jobs, more all sort of distracted me. Now I've got a decade of music to catch up on, and I'm already trying to catch up with the stuff I already own. But that's cool, it's a good problem to have, really. I've got something new to listen to every day.

1. Call My Body Home
2. Angelhead
3. Cold Cold World
4. Codine
5. From You
6. Doubled Over Again
7. Great Down Here
8. Look Back
9. Bottle Up & Go
10. The Story as I Was Told
11. Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me
12. Stop This World
13. I'm Blown

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