Melvins – Basses Loaded (2016)

MelvinsBasses Loaded (Ipecac Records, 03 June 2016)


Around here, we’ve talked pretty extensively about the Melvins. Mostly because since forming in Montesano, Washington about thirty-five years ago, the band has been a highly influential part of so many of the genres we love, even having a hand in forming and shaping several of those. Also there’s the fact that, with their ever-revolving line-ups, there are approximately ninety-seven Melvins releases (on average) each year. Being so prolific, it’s likely that they’ll have some stuff kind of flying under the radar, and today we’ll be looking at an album from last year that you may have missed. And then down in the comments you can find information about all their tour dates for the rest of the summer and beyond (and if you have the opportunity to see these guys, I really could not recommend it highly enough!)



Less a play on words than it is a playful nod to the long list of folks who’ve shared stages and/or recording studios with the band’s core of vocalist/guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover, last summer’s Ipecac-released Basses Loaded features a smorgasbord of low-frequency players — the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Gov’t Mule‘s tribute to Allen Woody.

On this particular outing, the band roaster is rounded out by their frequent collaborators (and Big Business rhythm section), drummer Coady Willis and bassist Jared Warren, although Warren only appears on one of the tracks. Guest players throughout the rest of the album include Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) who is part of the band’s live line-up at the moment, along with Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantômas), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), and JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers), each of whom has previously worked with (the) Melvins in some capacity, at one time or another. Even drummer Crover gets in on the bass action in a few spots on this record.

One thing that’s become fairly evident over the bands long and varied career is that regardless of what supporting cast they work with, Melvins always sound like (the) Melvins. Having an album with revolving members from track to track only serves to accentuate this truism. Whether they play something mellow and chilled-out and minimal like “The Decay of Lying” (with McDonald) with its psychedelic atmosphere, or “Planet Distructo” (with Dunn) featuring a lengthy acid-jazz freakout partway through; or somewhat heavier material like the fuzzy hard-rock of “Choco Plumbing” (with Warren), the alt-rock-bordering-on-sludgy-noise-rock of “Beer Hippie” (with Crover), darker-toned, heavy stoner metal fare like “Captain Come Down” (with Pinkus); or something in between like the schiziophrenic “Hideous Woman,” spacey-fuzzy classic hard rock “War Pussy” (both with McDonald), psychedelic-flavored experimental grunge found in “Phyllis Dillard” (with Crover), and their hazy, spaced-out Beatles cover (“I Want to Tell You” with McDonald, which adds a wacky coda similar to the one found after “Helter Skelter”)–

And even when their wackier side shines through a bit, such as in the accordion-laden party rock of “Maybe I am Amused” (with Novoselic); their bizarre cover of the old novelty tune “Shaving Cream” (with Crover) where they turn the whole concept of the song on its head (the original version of the lyrics, found in numerous renditions from Dr. Demento‘s collections to the new version of The Gong Show, achieved a modicum of humor by substituting the song title for a naughtier word that would fit the rhyme scheme at the end of each verse; here the guys dispense with such silliness altogether); and finally a cover of the even older song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (also with Crover credited) with a faithful rendition of the classic song’s chorus, but with a backing track that resembles an 8-bit-digital rendition of the melody plus an old Wurlitzer band organ– it’s fairly safe to say that fans of the band will be fans of the material on this album, and vice versa.

Grab your copy of Basses Loaded right here. And again, seriously, go see these guys if they are anywhere near you. You will not regret it. The list of dates is down in the comment section.


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3 responses to “Melvins – Basses Loaded (2016)

  1. Melvins 2017 North American Tour Dates:

    05 July – San Diego CA – Casbah San Diego
    06 July – Santa Ana CA – The Observatory Orange County
    07 July – Los Angeles CA – Troubadour [SOLD OUT]
    08 July – Fresno CA – Strummer’s
    09 July – Sacramento CA – Goldfield
    10 July – San Francisco CA – Great American Music Hall
    12 July – Portland OR – Hawthorne Theatre
    13 July – Seattle WA – The Showbox
    14 July – Vancouver BC – VENUE Nightclub
    17 July – Edmonton AB – Union Hall
    18 July – Calgary AB – Marquee Beer Market & Stage
    20 July – Winnipeg MB – The Pyramid Cabaret
    21 July – Fargo ND – The Aquarium
    22 July – Minneapolis MN – Grumpy’s Bar & Grill – Bash 17 (w/ Mudhoney, Lydia Lunch, and more!)
    24 July – Milwaukee WI – Turner Hall
    25 July – Chicago IL – Metro Chicago
    26 July – Grand Rapids MI – The Pyramid Scheme
    27 July – Detroit MI – El Club
    28 July – Cleveland OH – Grog Shop
    29 July – Columbus OH – A&R Music Bar
    31 July – Pittsburgh PA – The Rex Theater
    01 August – Syracuse NY – The Westcott Theater
    02 August – Boston MA – Paradise Rock Club
    03 August – New York NY – Irving Plaza
    04 August – Philadelphia PA – Union Transfer
    05 August – Asbury Park NJ – The Stone Pony
    06 August – Baltimore MD – Ottobar
    08 August – Richmond VA – The Broadberry
    09 August – Carrboro NC – Cat’s Cradle
    10 August – Knoxville TN – The Concourse
    11 August – Louisville KY – Headliners Music Hall
    12 August – St. Louis MO – The Ready Room
    13 August – Lawrence KS – The Bottleneck
    15 August – Englewood CO – Gothic Theatre
    17 August – Salt Lake City UT – Urban Lounge
    18 August – Las Vegas NV – Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Psycho Las Vegas (w/ Sleep, Pelican, Black Anvil, etc.)
    20 August – San Jose CA – The Ritz
    21 August – Santa Cruz CA – The Catalyst Club
    22 August – Los Angeles CA – The Echo
    05 September – Phoenix AZ – Crescent Ballroom
    06 September – Tucson AX – 191 Toole
    08 September – Austin TX – Mohawk Austin
    09 September – Dallas TX – Trees Dallas
    10 September – San Antonio TX – Paper Tiger
    11 September – Houston TX – Warehouse Live (Studio)
    13 September – New Orleans LA – One Eyed Jacks
    14 September – Pensacola FL – Vinyl Music Hall
    15 September – Jacksonville FL – Jack Rabbits
    16 September – Tampa FL – The Orpheum
    17 September – Ft. Lauderdale FL – Culture Room
    18 September – Orlando FL – The Social
    20 September – Athens GA – 40 Watt Club
    21 September – Atlanta GA – The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
    22 September – Nashville TN – 3rd & Lindsley Nashville
    23 September – Memphis TN – Hi Tone
    25 September – Madison WI – High Noon Saloon
    26 September – Rock Island IL – Rock Island Brewing Co.
    27 September – Des Moines IA – Wooly’s
    28 September – Omaha NE – The Waiting Room Lounge
    30 September – Ft. Collins CO – Aggie Theatre
    02 October – Albuquerque NM – Launchpad
    03 October – Flagstaff AZ – The Green Room


  2. Pingback: Psycho Las Vegas 2017 | Valley of Steel

  3. Pingback: Live Music Alert! GHOST and MELVINS in Pittsburgh this Weekend | Valley of Steel

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