Posts Tagged ‘grunge’

Ritual Device

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ritual Lips / Grandma 7″
Aural Rape, 1991

Probably one of the most literal versions of the “pigfuck” genre — loosely defined as ugly midwestern noise rock with a nasty mean streak, ala Big Black, Killdozer, Drunks With Guns, etc. — this Omaha band of miscreants was a minor legend in these parts, upping the ante for twisted records and live performances. Being a fellow Nebraskan, I had the opportunity to see them a number of times and still consider them on par with more widely known acts of the era. One particularly memorable scene (as recounted in the Horror Punk 101 countdown last Halloween) was seeing them open for the Jesus Lizard at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City. Being a college town, there was a sizable and drunken crowd, and at one point in Ritual Device’s set, singer Tim Moss started tossing out rendering plant refuse into the crowd. I can still see the shocked horror in the eyes of a pair of alternagirls picking up leathery, hairy sow ears, thinking it was some type of sticker toss or something. And that pretty much sums up the Ritual Device experience: ugly, visceral, and unnerving. And brutally rifftastic with a sick sense of humor. Members went on to other heavy ’90s bands like Men of Porn and Ravine after releasing a few other 7″s, a split 10″ with Killdozer, and a solid LP, Henge. Here’s their rare debut 7″…


Ritual Device – “Ritual Lips
Ritual Device – “Grandma”


Ritual Device on Built On A Weak Spot blog
Ritual Device/Ravine history from website


Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

My Pal / Jackwoman Nunhammer 7″
Au Go Go Records, 1987

While this late-80s Aussie band doesn’t quite live up to their cheeky moniker, God did manage to have a few decent tracks spread across an album and a couple singles that made their way into the import bins of fine record stores worldwide. The A-side is fairly unremarkable proto-grunge, along the lines of weaker tracks by peers like Green RiverThe Fluid or early Screaming Trees, but the B-side has some of the best Stooges-worship you’ll ever hear, with detached-cool vocals and a searing riff as massive as Ayers Rock. Along with other Aussie bands under-appreciated in these United States, like the Celibate Rifles or Grong Grong, God deserves at least little respect, if not outright worship.


God – “My Pal”
God – “Jackwoman Nunhammer”

Iowa Beef Experience

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Jubilix / Nitro Burning Funny Cow 7″
Sympathy for the Record Industry, 1991

From where else but Iowa City, Iowa could such a burly ass sludge punk band named Iowa Beef Experience go ripping into early-nineties grunge obscurity? Actually, IBX did have a bit of clout in the pre-Teen Spirit world of grunge, with an interview in Maximum Rock ‘n Roll and an LP released on the London-based Vinyl Solution record label. In 1991 they may well have been the best-known punk band from Iowa, despite the fact that Iowa had, and has always had a pretty healthy little scene. Learn a more about it from previous posts here and here, or from The Secret History of the Cedar Valley wiki site here. Anyway, IBX had a fairly unique take on the pigfuck genre, namely with some of the gnarliest growling vocals you’ll ever hear, and a gut-rumbling guitar sound that can only gurgle up from the deepest depths of the rural midwest. This 45 is their best release, featuring forceful, antagonistic riffs and a floor-rumbling production that some of their other releases lack.


Iowa Beef Experience – “Jubilix”
Iowa Beef Experience – “Nitro Burning Funny Cow”


Monday, June 15th, 2009

Loser / Cooking With Gas 7″
Sub-Pop, 1989

Talking with a friend this weekend, we recalled a time when the term “grunge” didn’t conjure up images of ridiculous designer flannel and lame ’90s-style hard rock, before the gnarlier aspects of the term were sanitized and rationalized for mass consumption. For us, Seattle’s Tad embodied what grunge was really about: loud, burly, heavy dirtpunk for weirdos — in short, ugly music for ugly people. Long before every mall in America was teeming with teenagers sporting Doc Martens and flannel shirts, flipping their locks and blathering about Pearl Jam, Tad was punishing eardrums with gut-rumbling dirges that mainlined the colossal buzz of the Melvins and late-period Black Flag (they released a single featuring covers of Flag’s “Damaged I” and “Damaged II”) into a backwoods freakshow that made grunge scary. Their God’s Balls and Salt Lick 12-inchers are essential noise rock classics and this, one of many classic Tad singles on Sub-Pop, showcases the true grit of grunge.


Tad – “Loser”
Tad – “Cooking With Gas”


Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Silverfish EP
Wiija Records, 1989

My last post about PRE reminded me of another brash British band fronted by a ferocious foreign female: the almighty obscenity-laced, tinnitus-enducing Silverfish. Legend has is that the UK-based band found their American screamer Lesley Rankine kicking the shit out of someone backstage at a punk show and knew instantly they’d found someone fierce enough to wail over their massively overamped racket. Released at the dawn of what would soon be known as the “grunge” era, alongside other noisy, thick-necked punk from Seattle from the likes of Mudhoney, Tad, and the Melvins, Silverfish approached music as a volume war with guitars hopelessly fuzzed out and distorted, with a rhythm section that added to the din, just barely forming the mess into songs. This debut 4-song EP kicks off with one of the most hilarious/righteously punk lead ins you’ll ever hear, as a sample of Dolly Parton singing “Jolene” gets interrupted by Rankine screeching “MOTHER FUCKER!” It’s a totally amazing and appropriate way to start this beast of a record. And it still makes me smile any time I hear it. Russ Meyer‘s Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! even gets sampled, so you really know what wild ass angle they’re coming from. Touch and Go Records saw the light and reissued this record with 4 more songs as the Cockeye LP in 1990. I don’t know if I have a bad pressing or if the T&G version was remastered, but I’ve always preferred the mix on this EP as it’s so grotesquely trebly and in the red — a sound that’s become rather commonplace nowadays, but in 1989 it was unconventionally harsh, even for a band wading around the grunge pool.


Silverfish – “Dolly Parton”
Silverfish – “On The Motorway”
Silverfish – “Dont Fuck”
Silverfish – “Weird Shit”


Silverfish on Touch & Go Records