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Creem, July 1985

Leafing through this magazine, with its mid-60s look and feel, one just has to wonder what its editors perceived its audience to be. While the focus is on the mainstream rock of the day and the dinosaur rock of an earlier day, there is a discernible attempt to reach out to the "underground" scene, albeit in an amusingly incongruous teeny-bopper style. In any event, this combined review of New Day Rising and the Meat Puppets' Up On The Sun was buried in the back pages. (Some liberties have been taken with the reproduction of the layout: columns have been rearranged for uniformity.)

Up On The Sun
New Day Rising

noodling underneath the disaffected pace. And the ensuing instrumental fades away before it begins. Most of the rest's more or less the same. It's all like digging the Flying Burrito Bros. on Romilar.
Pretty slow, turgid, dissonant stuff and with no hooks to grab. Forays of noise and related ugly sounds in the past affected some sort of disposition, this hyper-extended vision of prairie-acid and god-knows-what-else. And the band live parlays all this into something really credible. I mean, the guy's guitar sound is nothing short of remarkable— the fever pitch throttle of harmonic distortion the MPs chock up onstage is alone worth the price of admission. Somehow one of this translates well to vinyl.
     But to be temporarily positive: good song titles ("Buckethead," "Enchanted Porkfist," "Seal Whales") abound and in the not-too-bad "Animal Kingdom" some nice lyric:
     "up in my head
     there's an animal kingdom
     I am the king
     Of the animals there"

     On the other hand, Husker Du from the great land of Minnesota (bastion of the mild-mannered World Wrestling Federation) thrash and crank out alongside the (past-tense) groove of Flag or other SST compadres; difference being that these guys steer clear of the usual cliches and are fairly adept in the not to be underestimated songwriting department.
     Particularly impressive's one called "The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill," an amphetamine rave-up of the "Final Solution"/Pere Ubu school of noise and wail. Execution is right on the mark, really superb stuff. And the singer doesn't goon out like most fast-band frontmen. He's a gentleman.

Some genuinely weird moments: like second side's "Books About UFO's," which believe it or not sounds a bit like the Byrds' "Mr. Spaceman" if you dubbed in 10 or 16 buzzsaw guitars at blitzkrieg warp somewhere (way) in the background. And like their cousins, the Meat Puppets, Husker-songs have AOK titles (never to be overlooked)— "Terms Of Psychic Warfare" not at all bad and "59 Times The Pain" is real excellent (59's a prime). One or two dull moments ("If I Told You") but overall this is quite listenable muzik.
     SST recalls to mind the label-of-legend (?) from the psyched-out Texas '60s, International Artist. The Meat Pups not far redolent of the Lost And Found or Golden Dawn and Husker Du perhaps a hybrid of Red Crayola and/or 13th Floor Elevators. If Puppet Songwriter Curt Kirkwood's brain's the chemistry set one perceives— then maybe four or five years down the road we're looking at a second generation Roky Erickson!!
Gregg Turner
     Latest from the stable of SST rec'ds comes new-found vinyl by way of Meat Puppets and the fantabulous Husker Du. No common demoninator (as it were) between the two — sonics and words veritavle pre-packaged polar opposites (testimony to the effect of the fact that SST entertains not quite the world view some suspected at the turn of the decade).
     Case in point points to the case of Meat Puppetdom, where rec'd co. partyline thrash-angst succumbs to a withered drone of, well, I'm not quite sure what. The entire effort's imbued with heavy marijuana allegiance (nothing new in the MP scheme of things for sure). Trouble is, these tunes demand an admissable lack of sobriety on the part of the listener to become tangent to the mentality of what's going on (the wavelength of the sending set!). 'S like watching a cheesy 3-D movie, you need the glasses; here, you need the pot. Turn on and tune in... or turn off, because honestly, unlike past vinyl outings, most of the songs aren't all the psychedelic in the cold light of reality. Singer Curt Kirkwood's nasal monotone's genuinely hard to handle— like a sick dog begging for food. And the material's not all that riveting. Opening side 1's title track groans and drones soporific save for some spirited gtr

The Meat Puppets: Gods, mere mortals or
alien mathematical concepts?

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