Over the span of their career – some almost 30-odd years – who knows exactly how many cover songs The Melvins have released, but this time to keep things a little different, they took the gamble to release a whole darn album of nothing but cover songs. Plus they mixed up the line up on a few songs and even added in some guest vocalists. It’s strange little party, and you are all invited.
In a similar fashion as they did with the 2000 release “Cry Baby”, The Melvins features several guest vocalists on many tracks, and even the Melvins Lite line up on a few tracks as well. So the question remains, can the band known for their outlandish performances maintain originality while they rework other people’s material? Well, different and original is exactly what you get on this album.
Now first things first, it’s not your average cover album, after all being The Melvins, how could it be? Songs from everything from Queen to David Bowie to Venom or the The Jam, these aren’t your average mainstream hits you hear on a normal cover album. Oh, and those guest vocalists on the tracks, also not your run of the mill people, The Melvins are joined by the likes of Jello Biafra (The Dead Kennedys), Clem Burke (Blondie), Mark Arm (Mudhoney) just to name a few. Blend it all together and you have yourself one hell of an album.
Included in the collection is the band’s cover of the classic song, “Black Betty”, often credited to Huddie Ledbetter, but so old that no one really knows the origins. The band actually recorded the track prior to this session for a contest that Volkswagen was holding for music to be used in the Super Bowl advertisement, needless to say The Melvins didn’t win the contest with the cover, but it wasn’t chosen for the contest (The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion won if you’re curious) and the band still got a little cash from the track and now put it on this collection of songs. It’s a pretty straight forward cover of the blues classic, with a punked up rock flair to it and it’s a fun track.
The Melvin’s “Black Betty”
On the track, “In Every Dream Home a Heartache”, which was originally done by Roxy Music in the early 70’s, and when you take that ominous sounding track and have Jello Biafra sing it that adds a whole new spin. It also makes you realize that Biafra had a heavy Brian Ferry influence to his vocal style. Not a believer? Just go back and listen to a few Dead Kennedys songs and you’ll understand.
Some of the other stand out tracks on the album include songs like, “Female Trouble”, originally done by Divine as the opening track for the John Water’s film of the same name. Osborne has said that Water’s movies have always had a big influence on the band over the years.
In general, if you’re looking for something completely different, this is the album for you. And if this album isn’t enough, the band is celebrating not only the release of the album, but the 30th anniversary of the band with a North American Tour. For details on the new album, the tour and the band, check out the band’s website http://www.melvins.com/
Written by Christina Lawler
OurVinyl | Contributor
Melvins 30th Anniversary Tour
July 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
July 13 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
July 15 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
July 17 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
July 18 – Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Company
July 20 – Minneapolis, MN @ Grumpy’s
July 21 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
July 22 – Chicago, IL @ Double Door
July 23 – St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird
July 25 – Cleveland, OH @ The Grog Shop
July 26 – Detroit, MI @ Small’s
July 27 – Syracuse, NY @ The Westcott Theater
July 29 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
July 30 – Hartford, CT @ Arch Street Tavern
July 31 – Brooklyn, NY @ TBA
August 1 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
August 2 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
August 3 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
August 4 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
August 5 – Atlanta, GA @ The Loft at Center Stage Atlanta
August 7 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s
August 8 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
August 9 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
August 10 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
August 13 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Sound
August 14 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
August 16 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
August 19 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
August 20 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
August 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s