Every Friday, rockandrolljunkie.com will bring you a review of some album we are listening to. It may be a new release, but it also may just be a great record we want to share with you. On the first Friday of every month, Darin from Vertigo Records, the great fucking record shop that supplies all the records for our HQ, picks which album we are going to listen to and spit back our opinion on. We love having his input, and it keeps us from picking nothing but fucking Trooper albums.
Honestly, I have never been a real huge fan of silly music. However, when that silliness is used as a shy, nervous twitch that shadows underlying sarcastic anger, I fucking love that. Bands like Mr. Bungle and Dead Kennedy’s are right up there in my books, and their whole existence is based on this psycho-silly sound. Back when I used to hang out with dudes that loved to skateboard (I never could get my fat ass to stay on a little piece of wood on wheels) and ride tricked out BMX bikes, there were a few of them that loved The Dead Milkmen. Yeah, we all remember Punk Rock Girl, but there were some great fucking tunes in that catalogue that MTV wanted nothing to do with. Before the whole ‘indie’ music scene grew into the singer-songwriter thing it is today, bands like The Dead Milkmen defined independent music.
When Darin chose the recent October 2014 release, Pretty Music for Pretty People from The Dead Milkmen, I have to admit I was a bit excited. I haven’t heard these guys in a very long time, and frankly, had thought they had broke up a long time ago. Apparently, they did break up, but they put it back together a few years back, and here they are with a new record. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was curious as fuck.
The album cover made me roar, as much of their stuff did. I know it’s been done to death, but preppy folks having a good time in their rich, silver-spoon lives, has always been a good way to emulate sarcasm. This album does a great job of that, with it’s bright coloured artwork, showing a young pair of debutantes dancing in some sort of fucked up PolkaDotDoor style background. The album starts off kind of iffy, but quickly gets back into that familiar psycho-silly bounce. I can hear that sarcasm in the vocals that always caught my attention with these guys. Listening to this record got me reading up on the band, and vocalist Rodney Anonymous was quoted as saying the opening track comes from a headspace “where the Beatles had lost the war and the Velvet Underground had won, a world where Billy Joel could never get into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame but Kevorkian Death could,” Yeah, I can get behind that.
As the album moves on, it seems I like the songs more and more. Yeah, they’re older, but I think that makes the music better in this case. That’s usually never the case, but it’s as if they took that shitty silly polka dance punk thing they had back in the day, and took out a lot of the flash and made everything just a little darker. Lyrics like “I don’t care what you do but I care how you do it,” sung on the type of music these guys are known for, is just as right as things need to be these days. In another track, Anonymous spits out “I’ve Got to Get My Numbers Up”, totally speaking to folks like me who are getting older, but trying to stay involved with a young man’s game. The Dead Milkmen I listened to while my friend’s skated some parking lot would have never conveyed a message of inadequacy because of age, but it seems fitting that they are now. Honesty has always been the best part of the psycho-silly sound. That’s what makes it real.
If you’re a die-hard fan of this band, you need to have this. Even if you’re not, it’s a fun record that grows angrier and angrier as the platter spins. Do yourself a favor and get down to Vertigo Records and get a copy of this effort from one of the strongest indie outfits to ever live in a van.
HIPPY BEARDS by THE DEAD MILKMEN