Bassholes

Bassholes

Long Way Blues 1996 — 1998

Matador

The Bassholes are another one of those bands whose shows were advertised on every light post, but I somehow never got around to seeing. I remember, though, asking some of my pals who somehow had seen every band in existence about the Bassholes. I recall the response as a cross between disgust and clear disinterest. After listening to Long Way Blues, I can understand the cold response, but only after considering the source (most of these folks were rabid fans of bands lacking any melody, character or humor — insert any band you think gets a bit too much praise than it should… ). Anyway, my basic impression is that the band devoted themselves to covering “Shake Your Hips” from every rock genre they could find. And when they ran out, they’d make up a few new genres, just to break the monotony.

Sometimes Long Way Blues sounds like old Butthole Surfer session outtakes, like on “Turpentine,” which is a three-chord rock and roll jam with the vocals sung through a tin funnel — and it goes on for twenty minutes! (the “bonus” track… ). “Angel of Death” is a sad, bluesy acoustic song about down-home violence (not a Slayer cover) that is very disturbing; played late at night, you might think some drunken murderous demon is singin’ the blues from the sewers… And if all you ever heard the Bassholes play was “Ass Welt Boogie,” you’d label them a heroin-tinged backroom blues band, never straying from the same riff, over and over again. “Joan Dark” is another one from the depths, much like the slower tunes the Cramps were playing on Psychedelic Jungle, only way more low-fi, and from a deeper part of the gutter.

But there’s more to the Bassholes than this creepy guttural blues. They mix weird electronica into nearly every song and manage to play a lot of psychedelic surf guitar as well! “Hail Bop!” is a perfect example: mix some rocking surf guitars with those vocals sung through a tin funnel again along with incidental music from Speed Racer and you have one hell of a wild, wicked song. I hope that this twelve-song retrospective doesn’t mean the Bassholes are no more as now I’d really like to see them. Matador Records, 625 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10012-2319

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