The Monkees’ Uncle
Okay, so for his next trick Official Best Drummer in the Universe, Dale Crover (get used to it, admit it, you’ll be happier that way) steps out from behind his drumkit of doom to take the pole position in his own outfit, the forebodingly named Altamont. The Monkees’ Uncle is a little less sludgy and heavy, a little more straightforward than you might expect from a Melvins platter, but c’mon it’s Dale Crover, so it’s so malevolent and eccentric as hell. Altamont often seems the logical extension of the venomous rock that Crover first crafted on his sublime Melvins solo EP.
“Frank Bank” reminds me of Eno’s “Blank Frank” crossed with the crushing minimalism of Clutch (or a more sprightly Crowbar). “Bathroom Creep” is built around a blood-simple grungy riff, over which Crover rasps and hisses in his Cobra Commander-esque voice. It’s distorted and downtuned and moody as hell. It’s similar to “Pedigree”, has that same feel. Reminds me a lot of some of the “Seattle stuff,” but also has a strong postpunk undercurrent in the attack and wiry repetition. From the first notes of “Dum Dum Fever” you know that it’s going to be every bit as heavy as the Melvins’ monolithic best, and yes, it is, but it’s got this strange Link Wray-on-vicodin boogie to it. It’s a slowly drawled threat, with a near comatose heavy groove. Narcoleptic tambourine, okay?
“El Stupido” was a total surprise to me, as it’s a full-on homage to the sun-baked metal motorik exemplified by Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. “Laughing Boy” continues with the Eno-ized weirdness, what with the strange electric pings and effects, and the adenoidal high-pitched whine of the vocals spitting nonsense rhymes – freak tech mantra. “Monkees Uncle” is full-on Melvins’ artpunk brattiness, with a long drum/feedback intro that heralds a lightning quick classic oi-punk 45 second blast. “The Bloodening” is riff-sodden heaviness, built around a naggingly simple chorus that gets stuck in your head immediately, and some fuzz-o-matic overload at the end. “Easter Sunday,” a sprawling monster of a track that just oozes out of the speakers and coats every available surface in a choking dust, features organ drone doubling a proto-metal riff that’s repeated to the nth degree, over which Crover drawls in a far-off voice and another guitar freaks out for the whole time with some psyche-Barrett-Santana feedback – it’s sooooo fucking hypnotic. Would kill audiences. The best part is the fake fadeout about halfway in, that slaps the shit out of you for forgetting how heavy the central riff is when it kicks right through your speakers and reappears. “Bull Ramus” is found-noise, musique-concrete with proto-industrial weirdness, an instrumental doodle. “In A Better World” is organ-driven garage punk, with Crover’s affected whine particularly evil and effective here, slurring “I suck and I suck and I suck.” Gonzo, awesome.
There’s a lot of diversity in the aesthetics of Monkee’s Uncle. Punk, psychedelia, garage rock, grunge, art noise, krautrock and metal all get their turn in the spotlight here – less laser focus, more grooving, looseness and dare I fucking say it, jamming seems to be the order of the day here. I like.
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