Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ethyl Meatplow - Car

John sent an email today asking for me to send him a copy of Ethyl Meatplow's 'Happy Days, Sweetheart'. He had it long ago but apparently it had been lost as some point, most likely during one of our hard drive crashes of years past. Fortunately for John, I've started encoding my entire vinyl collection as I make an effort to de-clutter my house, one record at a time. The Majority of My CD collection needs to be re-encoded as well (Since I lost most of my digital collection and backup of said collection earlier this year), so why not get a head start with this gem from 1993!   

What a record this is!  Oh my! All the wonderfully horrible things I did while this record was on in the background. I was in 10th grade when this record came out, learning everything I could about Industrial Music and jockeying for the music director position at the greatest radio station in the world (in my mind at the time anyway) 88.5 FM WKPX; our High School Radio Station with a 3000 Watt Transmitter that reached downtown Ft. Lauderdale and the most northern tip of Miami.  We though it was pretty damn cool and for most people into the Alternative music scene back then, it was.

I didn't get the MD postion that year, but my friend Shannon did and I can still remember when she introduced me to the trio of noise makers known as Ethyl Meatplow.  I can remember her asking me, "do you think we can get away with this track? How about this one?" The Album was so filthy; full of sexual innuendo and drug references, it's amazing that we were able to play any of their music at all on our station. Of course we did find a few songs that weren't branded NFAP (Not For Air Play), one of which was 'Car', though listening to it now, we got lucky on this one. Obnoxious and Abrasive Keyboard Sounds, Shouting and well played & well engineered Drums that just pound their way through the whole song. What more could you ask for? Well the song 'Sad Bear' which is at the end of the album and adds a memorable chant to that mix, but that's not the song I'm posting today.

Ethyl Meatplow fit some where between Jane's Addiction, Silverfish, Thrill Kill Kult, Consolidated & Nitzer Ebb. They had a definite LA sleaze vibe, but they also mixed sounds and textures in away that wouldn't become popular until a few years later with more subdued groups like Cibo Matto and Luscious Jackson. Certainly ahead of it's time, so much so they couldn't keep it together beyond this album, but they did tour this record, and I managed to catch them at the Cameo in South Beach with my buddy Mark Del Campo.  They opened for Front 242, who were heading full on into their spandex short phase, and just blew them off the stage as the opening act. Even though most of the music was pre-recorded and coming off of keyboard sequencers, Ethyl Meatplow's attitude and energy we undeniable. They had to change disks on the ensoniq keyboards in order to load to the new sequences and samples in between songs and they made tons or racket and distracted you with half naked dancers; one of which was a young woman who's head head was shaved bald, had black X's taped on her nipples and sported boxing trunks and suspenders. Obviously the distractions worked,  It was wild. When they got their act together and hit you with the songs it was mighty! They just delivered with such conviction, it didn't take long for me to be hooked. Again the Live Drums pounding away, the Synths & Samples blasting you in the head and the Guy/Gal trade off Sing Alongs just completed the package. It was Raw and It felt like the future, two things I always look for in new music. Front 242 didn't stand a chance, Mark I and left midway through their set in hopes of scoring some Ethyl Meatplow Merch, No luck.  But we did manage to get a few stickers, I still have one on a record box flight case in my garage (that will be finding a new home some time in the next year I hope, the case that is).

After this record Carla Bozulich went on to form Geraldine Fibbers, a band that was such a departure from Ethyl Meatplow's sound that I never gave them a chance, drummer Biff Sanders went on to play in Polar Bear with Eric Avery and Vocalist/Programmer Wee Wee is getting his masters in Social Work. "Hi, I'm Wee Wee your social worker..." I'm sure that's going well.

On the whole, 'Happy Days, Sweetheart'. stands up really well... gasp, 17 years later! Sure there a few crappy synth bass sounds here and there, but on the whole, it still sounds new, fresh and vibrant, highly recommended, especially if you find your self enjoying this tune.


Car by Ethyl Meatplow  
Download now or listen on posterous
04 Car.mp3 (6046 KB)

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

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