April 15, 2011 Playlist

"Project: Mersh" by Minutemen (1985)
Minutemen  "Project: Mersh"  1985 (USA)
Mike Watt is coming to town this Sunday, on tour playing his newest album hyphenated-man, the third installment in a series of "punk rock operas" he has written.  But what's particularly notable about this new project is that it is quite clearly a return to his roots as the bassist of Minutemen, one of the most beloved 1980's indie-punk bands -- which is to say, it consists of thirty songs written & recorded "econo" style, most of which are barely a minute long.  Of the diverse pile of records Minutemen recorded 1980-1986, one of my favorites is Project: Mersh, which was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make a more "commercial" record -- thus adding the "filler" of repeating choruses, instrumental solos, extended codas and fade-outs that Minutemen had always been famous for avoiding.  The climax is Watt's two-song suite on the second side, "Tour Spiel" and "More Spiel", which starts off sounding like Bachman-Turner Overdrive, but then turns all psychedelic!  Though it was deliberately not representative of the band's usual style, it is ironically one of their most enjoyable records.
Minutemen made a few super-underground low budget music videos, most notably "This Ain't No Picnic" which depicts the group doing battle with their archnemesis Ronald Reagan, and "King Of The Hill" which comes from this week's classic album.  However, their most well-known song is undoubtedly "Corona", because the opening riff is the theme to MTV's Jackass show.  Since National Record Store Day is this weekend, here's clips of two 1970's groups whose vintage LP's are getting a spin on the show this week:  the British prog band named after American baseball player Babe Ruth, and funk legends Kool & The Gang.
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year (label) Country
The Black Angels Manipulation Passover 2006 USA
Suuns Nnnnnnn Zeroes EP (N) 2010 (Secretly Canadian) Canada (Quebec)
The Budos Band Black Venom III (N) 2010 (Daptone) USA
Tobacco (from Black Moth Super Rainbow) Heavy Makeup Maniac Meat (N) 2010 (Anticon) USA
The Black Angels Doves Directions To See A Ghost 2008 USA
Minutemen (Mike Watt) The Cheerleaders Project: Mersh
1985 USA
Minutemen (Mike Watt) Paranoid Chant Paranoid Time 7" 1980 USA
Minutemen (Mike Watt) Tour Spiel
  / More Spiel
Project: Mersh
1985 USA
Blue Oyster Cult The Red & The Black Tyranny And Mutation 1973 USA
fIREHOSE (Mike Watt) If'n fROMOHIO 1989 USA
Mike Watt Hammering-Castle-Bird-Man Hyphenated-Man (N) 2011 (Clenched Wrench) USA
Mike Watt Bird-In-The-Helmet-Man Hyphenated-Man (N) 2011 (Clenched Wrench) USA
Mike Watt Finger-Pointing-Man Hyphenated-Man (N) 2011 (Clenched Wrench) USA
El Nuevo Grupo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Elderly Pair Beaten With Hammer
   / Warren Oates
Cryptomnesia 2009 USA
Spectrum meets Captain Memphis (Peter Kember & Jim Dickinson) Hey Man Indian Giver 2008 UK/USA
13th Floor Elevators Livin' On Bull Of The Woods 1969 USA
Roky Erickson The Interpreter B-side 7" single
(You're Gonna Miss Me: The Best of Roky Erickson CD)
1977 USA
Black Moth Super Rainbow Forever Heavy Dandelion Gum 2007 USA
Meat Puppets Sam Forbidden Places 1990 USA
Meat Puppets S.W.A.T. (Get Down) (UTFO)
  / Attacked By Monsters
  / Blue Bayou (Roy Orbison)
Live In Montana rec. 1988,
rel. 1999
Babe Ruth Gimme Some Leg Amar Caballero 1974 UK
Les McCann & Eddie Harris Compared To What (live) Swiss Movement 1969 USA
Dreams (Billy Cobham, Brecker brothers) Imagine My Surprise Imagine My Surprise 1971 USA
Kool & The Gang Cosmic Energy Love & Understanding 1976 USA
Mystic Moods Cosmic Sea Awakening 1973 USA
Fire & Ice, Ltd. I Just Thought Of The Moon The Happening 1966 USA
Lalo Schifrin with the Mike Curb Congregation Offertory Verse
   / Sanctus Benedictus
Rock Requiem
"For The Dead In The Southeast Asia War"
1971 Argentina
Wichita Fall The Night Time Suite
   / Are You Sleeping
   / Life Is But A Dream
Life Is But A Dream 1969 USA
XTC Wonderland Mummer 1983 UK
Bill Nelson (from BeBop Deluxe) Empire Of The Senses The Love That Whirls 1982 UK
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