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Ballot Result

Minutemen

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Album Review

Before they had even released 3-Way Tie for Last in the fall of 1985, the Minutemen had blocked out plans for their next album, which was to be a sprawling three-LP set featuring three sides of studio material and three sides of live recordings. Initial pressings of 3-Way Tie included a ballot so fans could vote for the songs to be included on the live half of the upcoming album; the tragic death of D. Boon meant the Minutemen would never make another studio album, but Mike Watt and George Hurley compiled the ballots sent in by fans and used the results as the basis for this album, which uses radio broadcasts, studio outtakes, rehearsal tapes, and audience recordings to assemble a final tribute to their fallen comrade. As you might expect, the quality of the sound varies quite a bit from track to track (though there's nothing as awful as the stuff on side two of The Politics of Time), and there are a few items here that were outtakes for a good reason (like the overlong version of "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" or the spontaneous soundtrack improvisation "Hell"). But for the most part, Ballot Result is a fitting memorial that makes clear the Minutemen were just as strong onstage as they were in the studio and that their songs were smart, provocative, adventurous, and stand up well to the test of time. The fiery first side of material from the WREK-FM broadcast previously bootlegged on Just a Minute, Men alone makes this album well worth owning, and there are plenty of other gems scattered through the rest of the set. Ballot Result is hardly the ideal Minutemen live album, but it offers tangible evidence that they were one of the greatest American bands of their time, and that's not an accomplishment to be sneezed at.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in San Pedro, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

More than any other hardcore band, the Minutemen epitomized the free-thinking independent ideals that formed the core of punk/alternative music. Wildy eclectic and politically revolutionary, the Minutemen never stayed in one place too long; they moved from punk to free jazz to funk to folk at a blinding speed. And they toured and recorded at blinding speed; during the early '80s, they were constantly on the road, turning out records whenever they had a chance. Like their peers Black Flag, Hüsker...
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