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Scrape the Walls

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Album Review

They're back — finally! Oakland, California's Fleshies are that thing that lurks there somewhere in your memory of what punk rock used to be about. Since the beginning in 1999 they have been tearing up clubs, basements, outdoor BBQ's and anywhere else they play. Scrape the Walls is their third full-length for Alternative Tentacles (not counting the Gung Ho disc which is a comp of singles and rare tracks) and their first full-length since the brilliant Sicilian in 2003. While the back of the CD booklet features the band all dressed as elves from hell and is entirely off-putting — and perhaps even nauseating — the music is anything but. The songs are short, blazing, raucous guitar and drum blasts from hell with Johnny No Moniker attempting to scream and sing at the same time. In keeping with their recorded history, the band writes songs that have the humor of the Adolescents, the fury of Halo of Flies, and the sheer punk rock acumen of the early Melvins, and the sheer insane burn-it-down aesthetic of the Blood Brothers, but they sound like none of them. Give a spin to "Saturday Saints," "Gay Holiday," or "Whee!": if the sound doesn't peel the paint form your own inner walls then you're obviously dead. This is the sound of hardcore circa 1982 with new life, breath, and spit transfused to replace all the crummy, sh*tty emocore that's been littering the bins in record shops for the last five years. The first 11 tracks are flawless and there are a couple of tracks that could have been left off the CD; one is "Happy Hunting Ground," that features Alternative Tentacles label honcho Jello Biafra on vocals and was written by Ron and Russell Mael brothers from Sparks, but that's what the skip button is for on your CD player: jump directly to track 14 once Biafra's nasty whine comes sputtering out of the speakers harnessing this groups' utterly ferocious power. Other than this momentary lapse of vision, if you've ever been drawn to hardcore or punk rock in general, then this is for you. You'll be stage diving from your couch in no time. About the only thing better than this is the Fleshies live experience, which is utterly transcendent. Thus far, Scrape the Walls is the band's tainted, scurrilous, imperfect masterpiece.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Oakland, CA's Fleshies first launched themselves out of their dingy practice space in 1999. Banshee vocalist Johnny No Moniker led Vonny Bon Bons (bass), Mattowar (guitar), and Hamiltron (drums) into on-stage battle, leaving actual songcraft behind in favor of drunken violence and a love of loud amplifiers. While their frequent gigging didn't calm the craziness, it did focus the Fleshies' sleazy art punk enough to find some songs within the revved-up noise. Appearances on numerous compilations and...
Full Bio
Scrape the Walls, Fleshies
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