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Spasm Smash Xxxoxox Ox and Ass

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Album Review

The highly improvisational Spasm Smash put Trumans Water on the indie rock map, nestled cozily between Superchunk and Polvo. The 20-track disc opens with the chaotic and energetic "The Aroma of Gina Arnold." The song's fierceness is heightened by Glen Galloway's wavering vocals (including the line, "They said all youth was dead, how could they know/Your plastic culture sucks, and it's gonna blow!"). The frantic San Diego band shines on the choppy "Good Blood After Bad" and the indie metal of "Death to Dead Things." The songs subscribe to the notion that songs have a natural energy to them, and when that energy is spent the song should come to a grinding and immediate halt. The liberating frenzy of unabashedly crazy songs like "Athletes Who Is Suck" and "Lo Priest" suggests the band treated their music as grand therapy sessions, complete with distorted guitars and feedback. The mumbling behind the kinetic frenzy on "Fingers 6 Steps Ahead of Our Minds" creates a new energy on the disc, while the band erects a new wall of noise on "La Jolla My Armpit." The scorching guitars and howling vocals on "Mindstab, Forklift" only add to the wonderful loss of control the band mastered early on in their career. The disc ends with the playful groove of "The Sad Skinhead." The audible flurry on Spasm Smash inspired John Peel to play the entire disc on his BBC program and invite the band to record a much-sought-after Peel Sessions recording. Spasm Smash was released in 1993 on Homestead Records.


Formed: 1991 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Glen Galloway (guitar), brothers Kirk and Kevin Branstetter (guitar, bass), and 69-year-old drummer Andres Malinao comprise Trumans Water. The quartet deconstruct indie rock in the style of Captain Beefheart. A modern touchstone is Pavement; the two bands have the same laid-back air, sloppy riffs, and impenetrable lyrics. In fact, Trumans Water are even more obtuse than Pavement. All of the group's early album releases are available on Homestead: Of Thick Tum (1993 reissue), Spasm Smash XXXOXOX Ox...
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Spasm Smash Xxxoxox Ox and Ass, Trumans Water
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