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Melvins: Chicken Switch (IPECAC)

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The Melvins did more to influence the whole U.S. sludge-metal-noise-punk scene than any other band. Sure, you could make a case for Black Flag or Swans as being the genre's true pioneers, but it really wasn't until 1987's Gluey Porch Treatments that it became cool to slow things way, way down, and revel in excruciating blasts of drone-y, feedback-laden guitar.

More than 20 years later, the Melvins still push boundaries, most recently with Chicken Switch, a remix record that breaks every rule.

First, none of the artists involved were given individual tracks; instead, each was asked to mutilate and rework an entire album. Second, there's the list of participants, which ranges from the Boredoms' Eye Yamatsuka to Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo to Björk's sampling guru Matmos. Third, there's almost no way of telling which Melvins music is being carved up, as many of the remix titles are themselves mash-ups of the Washington state-based band's oeuvre.

Still, Chicken Switch is ideal for Día de los Muertos with highlights such as Merzbow's "SNOW REM REM IBVZ," which starts out sounding like a midnight game of goblin croquet and ends up hissing in the manner of an Atari 2600 console dropped from a tall building then plugged into a broken Zenith. Void Manes' "Overgoat," meanwhile, sprinkled with chant loops and bursts of pounding drums, will get you in the mood for an all-night horror-movie marathon.

Listen at your own risk.

Chicken Switch - Melvins

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