The Melvins are out on the road with another leg of their “Hold It In Tour”. Supporting their album Hold It In (Ipecac) from last fall, mainstays Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover are joined by JD Pinkus from Butthole Surfers. Not only did they play a set of songs from their collaborative album together, they played some choice classic Melvins material (‘Night Goat’, ‘Hag Me’, ‘The Bit’, ‘Anaconda’, ‘Sweet Willy Rollbar’), they also played some covers ranging from the Surfers to Pop-O-Pies. Joined by their label mates Le Butcherettes, who are fresh from their tour supporting Faith No More, it was a night of musical and mental twists and turns. Captured here by Melina Dellamargio of Melina D Photography at Club Congress in Tuscon, AZ The Melvins continue to surprise and delight after 30 plus years in the business.
The Melvins new album starts off with a rather ominous question: “What was that shit you sold me?”, from the song the ‘Bride of Crankenstein’. Indeed, it is the question every fan of the long running act can ask freely. Those who love their music heavy, heady, obtuse and downright confounding for over over 30 years can attest that every new album from this band brings different flavors to table. They have never made the same album, or song twice. Buzz Osborne and his first officer on the Federation Starship Melvins NCC 1701-X, Dale Crover have influenced many more bands than admit it. They have evolved from the creative outliers of a budding scene (Seattle, in the 80s), into the elder statesmen of sorts for bands of their ilk. No wonder Hold It In comes from Ipecac Records, a label full of like-minded, talented crazies. Joining Buzz and Dale for this outing are Paul Leary and JD Pinkus from Butthole Surfers. The pairs of musicians are a match in every conceivable way chemistry-wise, creating some unsettling and special tunes.
As you would imagine when these guys get together to create, things get weird, and in a good way. Odd riffs, whimsical songcraft and brave arrangements dot the tracks. From the dismal heaviness and driving riffage of ‘Bride…’, to the bright garage pop of ‘You Can Make Me Wait’, the trippy-proggy ‘Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit’, to the twangy stomp of ‘I Get Along (Hollow Moon)’; the inventiveness of each band is heard. It is definitely a sound and a feel of a Melvins album, with contributions from Paul and JD. You can discern a “Paul riff” here and “a Buzz lick” there and imagine the energy in the room when these four came together. Some of the touchstones here are sick amounts of feed-backing amp fuzz, phantom interludes, a few amazeballs solos traded, Floyd-ian space-rock tone-poems, and a rhythm section like a terrifying monstrous beast at times. All the propensity for weird-assed lyrics, and bizarro vocal deliveries (including ungodly shrieks from JD) all come to the fore as well. A little bit of something for everyone.
When it aims to be heavy, this is one of the heavier albums the band has put out of late, which says a lot considering the Big Business collaborations. ‘Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad’ and ‘Sesame Street Meat’ (two of the better titles this year) are gnarly as hell; true rockers. Another great cut, ‘Piss Pistoferson’ reeks of glam rock greatness, way down to the production value. They are getting their classic Kiss jones out, and frankly a Kiss song hasn’t been this good since 1991 anyway. The angular album closer ‘House of Gasoline’ sounds like it was more fun than should be legally allowed to have when it was birthed. A jam among jams.
The only shame is Leary’s distaste for the road means this lineup will only tour as a trio with Buzz, Dale and JD. Still, in reference to the opening line of the album, whatever shit they were sold, I want to buy some right now and I suspect you will too.
The Melvins have announced their new album Hold It In, to be released this fall on Ipecac. The first new album from the group since 2010’s The Bride Screams Murder features a new configuration of the band. Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover are joined now by famed Butthole SurfersPaul Leary and JD Pinkus. Hold it in was recorded between Los Angeles, where Buzz resides and Austin TX.
In an upcoming recent interview conducted with Ghost Cult, Buzz remarked that the yet to be announced Melvins project would be “like nothing anyone has ever heard from us”.
In a further quote from the press release Buzz chimes in further:
“Hold It In is a refreshing piece of fiction in a boring world of fact and bullsh*t,” said Osborne. “Paul is one of the best guitar players I have ever heard and Pinkus has an outside the box type of approach to both guitar and bass that you just have to let it ride. I can’t believe this actually happened. I’m thrilled.”
“It’s very rare you get a chance to work with three folks from the ‘Break A Wish’ foundation, all at the same time,” said Pinkus. “I believe they’ll remember their experience with me forever (or until they finally all lose their fight with S.I.D.S).”
The Melvins kick off a round of U.S. tour dates on Oct. 15 in Sacramento at Assembly, which also includes a performance at this year’s Voodoo Experience in New Orleans. Osborne, Crover and Pinkus will be the touring roster for this run of dates.
October 15 Sacramento, CA Assembly
October 17 Bellingham, WA Wild Buffalo House of Music
October 18 Seattle, WA The Showbox
October 19 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
October 21 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
October 22 San Luis Obispo, CA SLO Brewing
October 23 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
October 24 San Diego, CA The Casbah
October 25 Phoenix, AZ The Crescent Ballroom
October 26 Albuquerque, NM The Launchpad
October 28 Dallas, TX Trees
October 29 Austin, TX Mohawk
October 30 Houston, TX Warehouse Live – Studio
October 31 New Orleans, LA Voodoo Fest
November 1 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
November 2 Gainesville, FL The Wooly
November 3 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
November 4 Orlando, FL The Social
November 5 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
November 6 Tampa, FL Orpheum Theater
November 8 Atlanta, GA The Loft at Center Stage
November 9 Birmingham, AL Zydeco
Tickets are on sale this Friday, Aug. 1 at 10 am local time.
Osborne is currently touring in support of his debut acoustic album, This Machine Kills Artists, performing shows this week in Tucson (July 30 at Club Congress) and Palm Springs (July 31 at Pappy & Harriet’s) before heading to Australia and Europe for an additional six weeks of dates. Crover temporarily joins OFF! for the band’s August tour.