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Degenerate Introduction

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Album Review

Degenerate Introduction, Dub Narcotic Sound System's first full-length album in about five years, was more cool, unclassifiable fusion of funk, dub, indie rock, and hip-hop, with a more spontaneous vibe than most such records that try to cross-blend these kind of styles. Although Calvin Johnson's bullfrog growl isn't the conventional delivery of vocalists working these kind of grooves, he adds an effortlessly nonchalant deadpan humor missing from more earnest punk-funk. There's not much melody to be found, true, but the bass grinds away with molasses thickness, and there's a thrash to the guitar and drums that echoes Johnson's punky roots. Heather Dunn provides vocal relief with "F**k Me Up," which in its own strange way sounds like a lo-fi funk takeoff on Santana's "Evil Ways." For those who find the whole idea of vocal dub-influenced funk enough of an improbable novelty as it is, the band play it straighter, and quite respectably, on the instrumentals "Mate's Revenge" (with a slashing crossfire of rock and dub guitars) and "Code of the West" (which comes close to genuine dub reggae, melodica and all).


Formed: 1994

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

The oddball indie-funk collective Dub Narcotic Sound System was spearheaded by vocalist Calvin Johnson, the former frontman of the legendary Beat Happening as well as the founder of the famed K Records label. Named in honor of Johnson's own Olympia, WA-based basement studio Dub Narcotic, the project was begun in 1994 with a rapid-fire series of funk-, rap-, and reggae-influenced singles including "Bite," "Fuck Shit Up," "Booty Run," and "Shake-a-Puddin'"; from the outset Johnson was the group's sole...
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Degenerate Introduction, Dub Narcotic Sound System
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