Album reviews: Graveola, Melvins, King Tuff 

A throwback sound, a cover album and a reissue, we review them all for your consideration

Graveola – Eu Preciso de um Liquidifacador
Mais um Discos
★★★
Pardon the reductionist RIYL, but here you go: If you wish that Os Mutantes were still making music that sounded like Os Mutantes, then you owe it to yourself to check out Graveola. Hailing from Belo Horizonte, a city best known to non-Brazilians for its once-thriving metal scene (it’s basically Tampa to Rio’s Miami), Graveola nonetheless digs deep into the experimental and whimsical pop sounds immortalized by Rio’s ’60s/’70s tropicalia movement and gives them a modern, indie-pop-influenced twist. The sophisticated melding of folk, pop, psychedelia and jazz that undergirded tropicalia is a defining ethos of this excellent debut album, but Graveola is most notable for sounding like a thoroughly contemporary band that successfully explores those core influences without sounding like a tribute act. There’s a timelessness (though definitely not a placelessness) to the band’s approach, and the gentle weirdness and loose glee of their sound makes for some prime summertime listening. – Jason Ferguson

Melvins – Everybody Loves Sausages
Ipecac Recordings
★★
I know cover albums are typically lazy – so lazy, in fact, that you’re really only supposed to award points for daring selections executed interestingly. And, as far as that goes, Everybody Loves Sausages is definitely not lazy; the band attacks a wide variety of songs with help from guests like Iggy Pop, J.G. Thirlwell and Mark Arm. And yeah, the spacious jam with Thirlwell on Bowie’s “Station to Station” and the expansive version of Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” (with Jello Biafra) (!) are not exactly typical Melvins material, and they’re certainly successful in their attempts to remake these chestnuts as something unique. But you know what? The other thing about cover albums is that they’re supposed to be fun and loose; Sausages heaves under the weight of its efforts to be interesting. (And, you know, the world has enough Melvins concept albums, yes?) If the whole disc were covers of Venom and the Scientists and “Black Betty” – you know, just the Melvins rocking out and having a blast on their formative faves – it would be much better. – JF

King Tuff – Was Dead
Burger Records
★★★
For all of the pearl-clutching about The Perilous State of Indie Rock Today, it’s worth noting that King Tuff, at times, is proof that things seem to still be working pretty well. The band self-released their first album, Was Dead, as a CD-R in 2007. The release got a bit of buzz in garage-punk circles and was picked up for reissue by the small indie label The Colonel in 2008. The reissue got a lot of attention, earning King Tuff a contract with the much-bigger-but-still-cool Sub Pop label, who released the band’s stunning 2012 self-titled album. Now, Was Dead is being reissued once again (by the smaller-but-cooler-than-Sub-Pop Burger label). Was Dead is (obviously) raw and unpolished, but it’s a bit unfocused; it’s the sound of a young band that’s yet to realize their true strengths. The electric potential of their stoned garage-rock sound is evident here, but it’s also clear that there were several different sonic paths the band could have pursued, making Was Dead interesting as both an artifact as well as a map of unexplored possibilities. – JF

Listen now to new Graveola and Melvins:

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