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Album Review

It'd be almost too easy to assume a disc made up of over 60 short pieces with a lineup including Mike Watt on bass and Richard Meltzer providing spoken word vocals would be some sort of aggro-energy blast. But 2012 isn't 1984, when the initial idea for such a collaboration took place before D. Boon's tragic passing, and if Spielgusher is a bit of an overfull vessel, it's got more variety on it than stereotypes would allow for — and it's a more enjoyable collaboration than something like Lou Reed and Metallica's Lulu turned out to be a few months previously. Meltzer's words are often scabrous, and there are plenty of moments where listening to him in what seems to be a demi-Bukowski mode is less thrilling earthiness and more a dirty-old-man crutch. Still, his vocal tone is relaxed, not weary but lived in — when he says "Why can't the f*cking universe cooperate?" on "Scissors," it's poignant, but with the sense of a lifetime's frustration building up to a classic shrug and acceptance. But with the gentle, almost romantic flow of "The Threshhold of Transgression," things take a turn at the start, toward a range of tones and emotions, not simply kicking out. "Begins with S" has the musicians taking on a more peppy swing even when there's a line like "S**t...It'd still begin with S." It might be a little harsh to say that the music on songs like "Gotta," a quick bit of sky-reaching atmospherics, the romantic tinge of "O.K. with You?" and "Meetcha" with its crisp kick — not quite the Minutemen but a nice variant — end up sticking in the mind more than Meltzer's words. But plenty of times those words are enough: to quote three of the sharper lines throughout: "Please...wear grey flannel panties when you next visit me in my cage." "Bring snails inside your home and offer them beer!" and "Hair so white neither of us bothers to dye it anymore."


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '10s

Minutemen bassist Mike Watt and gonzo rock critic Richard Meltzer were fans of each other's work and vowed to team up for a project in the mid '80s, but it wasn't until 2012 that they made their collaborative dreams a reality. For Spielgusher, Meltzer performed spoken word poetry alongside music played by Watt and two members of Cornelius' touring band, drummer Yuko Araki and guitarist Hirotaka "Shimmy" Shimizu. The...
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