Nomeansno

The World's Only Canadian Power Trio
*special introductory paragraph!
*Look, Here Come The Wormies 7"
*Betrayal Fear Anger Hatred EP
*Mama
*You Kill Me EP
*Sex Mad
*The Day Everything Became Nothing EP
*Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed
*Wrong
*The Power Of Positive Thinking EP
*Oh Canaduh 7"
*The Sky Is Falling And I Want My Mommy (with Jello Biafra)
*Live + Cuddly
*0 + 2 = 1
*Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy?
*One Down And Two To Go (by Mr. Right & Mr. Wrong)
*The Worldhood Of The World (As Such)
*0 + 2 = 1 1/2
*In The Fishtank EP
*Would We Be Alive? EP
*Dance of the Headless Bourgeoisie
*No One
*Generic Shame EP
*All Roads Lead To Ausfahrt
*Tour EP 1
*Tour EP 2

When The Wright Brothers sat down to build an airplane of music way back in the early '80s, how could they have known that their flight of aggressive rock music would continue until this very day? Whether entering the recording cockpit with the added baggage of a guitar co-pilot or without, this intelligent, humorous and accomplished punk/prog/blues/jazz/pop/classical/metal rhythm section has managed to fly across the Transatlantic of Creative Songwriting time and time again for a quarter-century -- with no landing pattern in sight!

But what's the deal with the FOOD on their albums? I got some vinegar in my ear, and now I suffer from PICKLED HEARING!

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Had I not found these guys at the tender age of 15, I would not be the musician or music fan I am today. These guys are my favorite band of all time, ever.


Look, Here Come The Wormies 7" - self-released 1980
Rating = 3

The debut Nomeansno (pronounced "No Means No," not "No Me An Sno") single doesn't even hint at the melodic ingenuity and instrumental intensity that they would soon attain, so don't break your bank trying to purchase a copy. I suppose the A side isn't terrible, but who turns to British Columbia's Nomeansno for nerdy ball-less new wave keyboard music the likes of which you might hear on TV's Square Pegs starring Sarah Jessica Parker of TV's Sex & The City? Maybe Matthew Broderick but he's like 4'2 and can only play o

Dude sorry to interrupt that awesome thought process I was having, but check out this hilarious and sensible riddle I just made up --

Q. What did the archaeologist say to the series of Vietnam War operational offensives when he discovered permanent ink etchings on the mummified breasts of young King Tutankhamen?

A: Tet! Tut tot tit tats!

Side B is entitled "S.S. Social Service," but might as well be "SHIT.SHIT. SHITial SHITvice" for all its pleasing aural qualities. Essentially, Rob comes up with a good dubby PIL-esque bass line and then decimates it with tuneless buzzy racket and the gruff, jokey vocals of a 13-year-old loser. Sadly, he was already twice that age when they recorded this single.

Even sadlier, I was already twice AND A HALF that age when I finally learned what the Tet Offensive was, about ten minutes ago when I looked it up for the sake of my hilarious "Tut's tits" riddle. Sadlier indeed!

Good old Laetitia Sadlier. Where would Stereolab be without her guttural animal roar?

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Yeah, this one's rather goofy. I wouldn't call it bad, though. Hell, I even kinda like the "S.S. Social Service" song.

Add your thoughts?


Betrayal Fear Anger Hatred EP - self-released 1981
Rating = 7

Hey everyone, and welcome to the Dig Dug Cheats and Hints Forum. Today I'm going to teach you a powerful new strategy for making the rock fall on the thingy that's chasing you. But first I wanted to say a few words about the first Nomeansno EP. This 13-minute record features four songs. Okay, back to Dig Dug. First of all, when Pooka and Fygar turn into ghosts, dig up under a rock and shove the joystick up your ass for an incredible squ

Although their voices remain unrecognizably high, nerdy and amateurish, Nomeansno on this EP begin to display the artistry and range that would soon earn them kudos in the Underground Community -- particularly as the four tracks all fit into different musical subgenres! "Try Not To Stutter" starts things off with anxious, guitar-driven rockabilly; "I'm All Wet" sleazes it down a bit for a swinging semi-funky groove; "Approaching Zero" replaces the guitar with a bouncy high-speed cocktail piano riff that successfully obscures the fatalistic subject matter ("Zero" = "The State of Non-Being"); and "Forget Your Life" presents the first example of what would soon become a Nomeansno specialty: the impossibly emotional and hypnotic song of great import. (Later entries would include "What Slayde Says," "The River," "All Lies," others). Although not as powerful as its later re-recording would be, "Forget Your Life" is already one hell of a dark, accusatory bass-driven dirge, warning that if you spend your life cowering in fear and refusing to stand up for yourself, you'd might as well forget your life because it's NOTHING! Not that this explains the goofy happy bit at the end.

Although the first two tracks do indeed feature a brash, buzzy electric guitar, I'm fairly certain that Rob and John Wright recorded the EP by themselves, so that's presumably Rob on overdub (unless you know differently?). The real cream of the release is the latter two songs anyway. The first two are pretty jokey, light-hearted and bedroom-recordingy; it's "Approaching Zero" and "Forget Your Life" that will make you sit up and go, "Whoa. They're not just kidders doing some sort of kidding around thing! They have a raison d'etre!"

Mmm... I could go for a raisin d'etre right about now.

Just FYI, John Wright is a classically trained drummer who also spent some time drumming for a jazz band in his youth. Perhaps this explains how later records would find him maniacally filling every single bit of space in the mix with drums. And I don't mean blastbeats -- the dude just plays interesting parts very, very quickly -- and AGGRESSIVELY too! I'm not certain whether Rob Wright took bass lessons or taught himself, but he is not only an exceptionally talented player -- he also (as a result of starting the band without a guitarist) developed very early on an incredibly strong melodic sense, such that in most cases, it's the bass line that drives Nomeansno songs, not the guitar. He often (almost always?) uses some level of distortion -- sometimes he plays chord sequences, sometimes super-fast note runs, sometimes quirky repetitive riffs.... but his bass always sounds POWERFUL AS GODDAMNED POWER. Perhaps because he's a large man? Dorn't know. At any rate, I probably shouldn't be discussing the brothers' instrumental talents in the review of a record that doesn't demonstrate them very strongly. But from now ON, starting with Mama, that which I just said applies.

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
"Try Not To Stutter" is awesome. "I'm All Wet" sounds like a less spastic, more drawn out version of the same riff. "Approaching Zeror" is some fun juxtaposition, and "Forget Your Life" is... Hell, I don't know. It's one of those songs that's never sat too well with me.

Add your thoughts?


Mama - self-released 1982
Rating = 7

Its wit and promise drove top actor Ozzy Osborne to record "Mama I'm Coming Home (To Listen To You, Because You're An Album)." Popular record salesmen Three Dog Night quickly followed suit with "Mama Told Me Not To Come (On The Turntable While It Was Playing, Because The Sperm Could Create Problems For The Needle)." Even TV's television got into the act, with Vicky Lawrence portraying the album as the head of a hilarious Southern family of rednecks. This was when America realized, once and for all, that there was a band called Nomeansno but you could only buy their albums in Canada.

Although they still don't have a guitar player in the band, Nomeansno is whipping out the creative bass lines galore on this, their debut long-player. The key Nomeasho songwriting styles are already in place; only the intensity is missing (this would be remedied as early as the next EP!). The songs are mostly built around tight bass/drum interplay, and the vocals are already as playful and charismatic as they would remain throughout the band's career. That's something else you need to know: Nomeansno's vocalists are neither generic hardcore shouters nor tuneful birdsmiths. Instead, they sound like people with personality and confidence who take their work seriously but not TOO seriously, sometimes ranting, sometimes singing, sometimes screaming. But just normal guys -- you know, like you or me! Hey, way to go, us!

Some have pointed to the bass-prominent Minutemen as an early Nomeansno influence, but to my ears these early records seem more influenced by Devo, Gang Of Four, and The Simple Lack Of A Guitar Player. Actually there wasn't much Devo nerdiness left by this point, but Gang Of Four was a pretty obvious influence on the militant, awesome "We Are The Chopped" and terrible, funky "No Sex." Thankfully, the rest of the record isn't derivative of anybody, sounding essentially like Nomeansno without a guitarist! In fact, only one song contains a lead guitar, although a couple others profit immensely from the addition of piano -- specifically the dramatic, note-heavy opener "Living Is Free" and great Brubeck-jazzy closer "Living In Detente". But for the most part, you're looking at a drums/bass/vocal album here. If that only strikes you as half a band, Mama might not be the best place to start your Nomeansno collection. Not that an album is a "place" per se, but who am I to find fault with a long-accepted cliche?

Other highlights include the catchy swing groove and flanged cymbals of "Mama's Little Boy," the increasingly fast, punchy and aggressive playing in their debut punk rock song "No Rest For The Wicked," and the stereo tribal drumming and Jeffersons doorbell bass motif in "Red Devil." Lowlights include a few duff bass lines that don't belong on such a good record, a couple of repetitive epics that drag on for far too long, a few infuriating noise breaks, and aforementioned "No Sex," featuring the asinine, bitchy refrain "There's no sex - only fucking!"

Also, because I know somebody's going to email me complaining if I don't mention the dark simmering "My Roommate Is Turning Into A Monster," I hereby mention the dark simmering "(etc.)

It's seriously a good album! A bit calm and non-exploding by later Nomeansno standards, but certainly a fine display of Rob Wright's great-bass-line-coming-up-with skills. So if your choice is between Mama, Sister, Fatherfucker and The Best of the Doobie Brothers, ask yourself one question: "Do I want a shitty album, or do I want to listen to 'What A Fool Believes'?"

Then ask yourself another question whose answer could conceivably be "I'm going to buy Mama."

See, this is why I suck at Jeopardy -- I don't know questions; I'm an ANSWER MAN! Remember, you can't spell "Prindle" without "Pride"! I put the "Pride" back in "Prindle"! I then put the remaining "n" and "l" in "Ol' Nellie's 15-Foot Vagina"!

So if you want to play Scrabble, you're gonna have to dig 'em out.

Incidentally, if you're looking for the Nomeansno album with the lyrics "What's this? I don't have any tits/You can't treat me like this, I don't have any tits!," this would be the one.

By the way, if you're hunting for the Nomeansno album with the lyrics "Red devil bites your neck/Your tongue's sticking out, your cock is erect," this would be the one.

Say, a guy down at the lamp factory told me you were on a quest for the Nomeansno album with the lyrics "There's a door you can get through, the other is not meant for you/Little Dickie, use your eye: it means no penis need apply." This would be the one.

Hey! What's this bumblebee doing on my patootie? What's that, little bumblebee? You're trying to find the Nomeansno album with the lyrics "Rape the women, they're whores, Las Putas!/Everything they have is yours, Las Putas!"? Well, this would be the one.

A good record reviewer would at this point make some sort of analytical comment about Nomeansno's lyrics.

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
NOMEANSNO! One of the finest bands of our generation. Thanks so much for all these great reviews. Shit, you seem to like em even more than I do! I was a fan of them for 10 years before I even MET anyone who'd ever heard of them before, so my fandom pretty much grew in a vacuum. So it's interesting to hear another person's perspective, since I've read so little about them. I also never bothered to dig too deep into the lyrics (though I knew they were pretty heavy), so I appreciate your insight on what these neat tunes are about.

MAMA: Never was a huge fan of this one. Although one needs to appreciate repetitive drum/bass patterns in order to like NMN in the first place, this one relies a bit too much on that, without the emotional and dynamic changes that later made the band great. So in a sense, it's only inferior in retrospect.... I'm still glad they reissued it, but I don't really consider it an integral part of their catalog.

Songs: "Living is Free" is a nice tune with a good piano hook (any hook at all is certainly welcome on this release). "My Roommate is Turning into a Monster" has a good bass line with suitably funny/creepy lyrics - is his male roommate actually making sexual advances? And if so, does a lyric like "You can't treat me like this / I don't have any tits" adequately address the subject? Unfortunately, the remainder of the album just kind of trudges along in a nondistinct blur of good bass lines repeated ad infinitum, with muffled sound to boot.

(a few days later)

I just listened to this a couple of times today - I hadn't heard it in years and probably hadn't heard it at a decent volume hardly ever. It's a damn good listen, I'm glad to say! It sounds nothing like later Nomeansno, but the playing is crisp and clear, and the music is actually a lot more melodic than I remember, and not quite as repetitive as I remember. "We Are the Chopped" has really stood the test of time, as has "Red Devil". After hearing it, I was so ashamed at the ignorant and dismissive comments I'd made earlier that I had to write in this afterthought, because Mark's site is the primary repository for all musical knowledge and I have to behave responsibly if my reader comments are to be posted there.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Here's an interesting little record. It's hard to believe that the band would change so drastically with the later addition of a guitarist. But while this lacks future intensity, it has a darkly mellow feel to it, and the stoner in me gives it pointsorz for that.

Add your thoughts?


You Kill Me EP - Undergrowth 1985
Rating = 7

Oh alright, I'll give it a whirl. Nomeansno's lyrics focus in large part on the negative side of life -- the icky smells of the sexual body, the depraved urges of the lonely, the inevitability of mortality, and the ubiquitousness of serial killers, terrorists, nihilists, rapists, and others who would disturb the comfortable. The result of all this grotesqueness is that, as my friend Christian "C.B." "Chris" Smith once pointed out, when they sing a love song, it sounds like they actually mean it.

You Kill Me. Herein beginneths "Nomeansno: Canadian Power Trio." Andy "Mr. Guitar" Kerr has joined the band, and the intensity level has jumped up about 5,000 notches - particularly in the staggeringly relentless "Stop It," an aggressive noise assult that will have you reaching for the "Peace, my brother" knob on your hippy-era stereo. Funny thing about playing lead guitar for a band that already has a lead bassist and lead drummer: the only way to make yourself heard through the din is to set your amp tone at extremely loud and piercing. This tone would remain with Mr. Kerr throughout his career with the band, kept in check during palm-muted and clean passages but always ready to BLAST YOUR EARDRUMS OUT THE SIDES OF YOUR ASS with a burst of trebly high-volume racket when you least suspect me. I'm not exactly sure how one goes about creating such a seemingly benevolent yet painful-to-the-touch guitar tone, but it must have something to do with just pumping it up way too loud in the mix. Check out his first notes on the EP, for example -- why are those three notes so piercing? Sure, they're trebly, but I've heard treblier. Come on, you're the Recording Engineer -- clue us all in! Is it just all mid-range, no bass or something?

But enough about my complete lack of audio knowledge. Let's talk Turnkey! In addition to increased noisiness and anger, this new batch of songs also finds NMN (slang for "Nomeansno") experimenting with song structure and bringing greater complexity to their writing. Each song has several different parts, as well as minor variations of playing style within repeated sections, and John "Mr. Drums" Wright further cements his industry role as the 'classically-trained Keith Moon.'

Although each of the five songs have their strong points, "Body Bag" is the instant classic of the record, intertwining an unforgettable jittery bass hook with a clean-toned five-million-note guitar line that is nearly buried in the mix, and topping it all with a grotesque set of lyrics about the sacks of shit that our brains call home. Guitar virtuosos -- listen closely for an awesome "peeing in a toilet" solo in the middle.

One other thing I should note about this band is that, although they do have a defined sound (heavy prominent bass, stinging distorted guitar, busy expert percussion), their thirst for experimentation leads them to include at least one really bad song on each of their records. And I don't just mean in my opinion -- the range of crap they try is such that I can't imagine anybody liking every single song on most of their records. Opinions are going to vary about WHICH song is the icky one, but... well, at any rate, for me on this one it's "Some Bodies." Yes, it's vehement and violent, but it's also ugly, uncompelling and YUCKY! Plus, it has a corny funk break and that's not something a band I like needs to be doing.

Fans of cover tunes might enjoy the rigid lockstep take on Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression." Fans of fuckin' weird songs will definitely enjoy the warped, off-kilter "Paradise." And fans of Mark Prindle could conceivably not loathe this dick joke:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
A dick!
A dick who?
"A dick tid to Love" by the late Robert Palmer!

Ah man, that gave me the bug. The Knock-Knock Joke Bug! It may be feeble and weak, but when it gets you in its grasp, you'd might as well turn off the phone and close the window because you'll be makin' up Knock-Knock jokes til The Cows reform! (Not a complete impossibility since Shannon Selberg recently moved back to Minneapolis and Kevin Rutmanis is no longer a Melvin, but still unlikely).

So here's one more for you:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Sam and Janet!
Sam and Janet who?
Sam and Janet Jackson! And I understand that perhaps you've never heard of Sam, but -- Hey look! My TIT has fallen out of my shirt!
Ahhhh, it's brown! Like death!

Good old Knock-Knock Jokes and their six lines.

Reader Comments

joelbshields@yahoo.com
My guess from my days playing with my 4-track is that Mr. Kerr probably just ran a cheapo distortion pedal direct into the recorder -- no amp for the recording part of it. That's what it sounded like when I did it, anyway.

Maybe somebody said that already, but I didn't read all the comments. Bad me.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Their version of "Manic Depression" sound quite convincingly manic! I love it! Andy adds a rather abbrasive texture to the mix, and it's rather odd how well it goes with everything. Just what the the scientists ordered, I say!

Add your thoughts?


Sex Mad - Alternative Tentacles 1987
Rating = 9

The floodgates are open, Nomeansno is making rock happen, and there's no turning them around now. Confidence abounds both musically and vocally, with skinny-voiced punk Andy Kerr exchanging speak-sing lyrics with increasingly baritone jokester Rob Wright against a backdrop of (side 1) brightly constructed anxiety-prog-punk and (side 2) tightly constricted bass/drum minimalist repetition. And I realize that "prog-punk" sounds like a contradiction in terms, but I can't think of a better description for music that merges the driving aggression, catchy hooks and proletarian instrumental tones of North American punk rock with the tight playing, difficult changes, and tricky time-signatures of classic '70s progressive rock. Songs like "Sex Mad" and "Obsessed" are too ambitious to be "hardcore" but too melodic and repetitive to be "math-rock," so let's just call them "prog-punk" for now, until an expert tells us the correct category in which they should be pigeonholed.

So yes, side one will crash and burn all over you with its nonstop assault of nervous punk/metal, speedy bar chords, twisted carnival death prog, a capella hardcore, screaming psycho-rock, and noisy herky-jerk rhythm section rat-a-tat-tats -- culminating in the least expected, most pointless classic rock reference this side of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Trapped In The Drive-Thru." Make no please understand, mistake -- this is noisy, shouty music. However, it is rigidly constructed and expertly performed noisy, shouty music. There is no amateurish random racket here (okay, maybe a little bit near the end of "Dead Bob," but that's a joke); the fuzzthump bass, screaming guitar and artillery drumming fit together like a glove fits together, whether performing the easy Ramones punk of "Dad" or changing five hundred million times in "Dead Bob." But enough about side one! We're all sick to DEATH of hearing about side one!

Side two is an altogether different side, thankfully, as having two sides on one side of a record would result in some very poor playing performance. This is why 'Compact Disks' will never sell a single unit. People aren't dumb.

Side two begins with three lengthy and repetitive bass/drum "workouts" that will "push-up" against your brain with their emotional "weight" until you can't even "sit-up" or "pull-up" yourself off the ground -- so get "jumpin', Jack"! Also, "blow job."

Three bass riffs, three moods:

"Self Pity" = brooding blues grunge = lazy, negative narcissism

"Long Days" = content but static 10-note blues descent = regret at time wasted

"Metronome" = boring, predictable 3-note ugliness = desire to break free from the doldrums of predictability

Side two of Sex Mad is thus a more personal "Ennui Opera" concerning emotions that almost all young people can relate to, in contrast to side one's Parade of Sickness and Abnormal Behavior (encompassing Sexual Addiction, Child Abuse, Stalking/Attempted Murder, and Suicide), which hopefully has a smaller identifying audience (for its own sake!). Approached in this light, "Revenge" is a perfect closer, combining a dark, aggro-churning verse with simplistic anthemic chorus as the lyrics alternate confusedly between the fictional murderous rage of "THIS IS THE END - YOU DIE! YOU DIE!" and the all-too-familiar loneliness of "What I want most in the whole wide world is a girl. Just a girl - one who will keep me from losing my mind."

This is a great album. "Metronome" is definitely a bit bland but, for better or worse, that's the POINT. Also, there somewhere exists a full band version of "No Fucking" that beats the living Hell out of enclosed a capella version, but that's only 30 seconds to complain about. Put it all together and Sex Mad sounds like a Ninny! (9)

Reader Comments

mikharras@hotmail.com (Mike Harras)
This was the first nomeansno i've heard & still remains my favourite, that's all I'll say about it cuz mark summed it all up....... going through my old canadian punk 45's and tapes and a new comp called "Only in Canada, Eh vol.1", there's way too much imitation of the English accent, kind of embarrassing. World wor Thraaaayyy!

steve.robey@mindspring.com
For most, this is the first "real" Nomeansno album. Not for me though. For me it's the first "real" Mandrill album.

I've always had the CD version of this paired with You Kill Me, so I was never entirely sure where one release stopped and the other began - a problem made even more complicated by the insertion of two songs in the middle that aren't on either release. I've recently figured it out, though, so it's neat to see how Sex Mad actually progresses as an album. Putting those 3 long bass pieces all on side two was a pretty neat idea. Like Mark, I'm not a big fan of "Metronome" (though the drumming is fantastic... but amazing drums do not a great song make), but "Self Pity" has always been a favorite, and "Long Days" has only improved with time. I used to like "Revenge" a lot better than I do now. It just seems to promise more than it can deliver. It's okay.

Side One is fantastic, too... although I can't really follow "Love Thang" even after all these years - just too chaotic to even tell what's going on most of the time. Good points? How about "Dad" (later covered by Blasphart!) and that great deceptively simple punk chord progression? Or the psychotic instrumental "Obsessed"? Or my favorite song on the album, the mighty "Dead Bob", which continues the grand tradition of Zappa's "Suicide Chump" by making fun of pitiful drama kings/queens who try to kill themselves? "Sex Mad", the title track, seems to be the perennial "classic" from the album, and it's pretty cool too - not my favorite though.

The CD I have has that full band version of "No Fukngic", which is great, but it also has "Hunt the She Beast" on it - I don't know where that's from, but it's kind of boring and predictable, albeit in that unique Nomeansno way. The CD also has the You Kill Me EP on it, but I'll comment on that elsewhere. In an Ann Landers column, prob'ly.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
These reviews inspired me to pull out my Andy-era NMN CD's out for a spin. Man, I forgot how much ass-kickery is held within the confines of these 10 songs. It's pretty much exactly as you say it is. "Obsessed" is one of the best instrumental passages I've ever heard from these guys. I even adore the two bonus tracks they included on the CD version that seperate the LP from the previous EP.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
It took me forever to get into this band, but it was worth the wait. While Sex Mad isn't perfect, it is one hell of a vicious, well-played and (especially) well-written album. Their chops are intimidatingly prodigious, even at this early stage, and their sound is kind of like the perfect combination of Husker Du and the Minutemen: trebly, raging, ear-piercing lead guitar (which sounds like a blend of D. Boon and Bob Mould's respective guitar tones, is fucking AWESOME and is courtesy of guitarist and singer Andy Kerr, who would help define the band almost as much as the Wright Bros.), "regular guy" vocals that either declaim sardonically or scream furiously a la Bob Mould, a massively chunky yet dauntingly agile bass sound, and drumming that takes equal amounts of inspiration from heavy hardcore pounding and more subtle, jazz-influenced styles. To me, this would initially seem to be the most perfect hardcore band that ever existed: however, that's not the case. Unlike the Minutemen and Husker Du, there is absolutely no sense whatsoever that these are guys who: A) you could hang out with, have a beer with, and commiserate with (e.g. Minutemen), or B) express their emotions as honestly, wrenchingly, and artfully as possible in extraordinarily catchy, well written songs (e.g. Husker Du). In contrast, I find that there is a sense of distance in Nomeansno's music, and that's what kept me away from them. They've got a great sense of humor ("dead as a...doorknob!!!"), and they know how to write technically proficient songs that strike a truly impressive balance between catchiness and technical ability, and NEVER just "show off" (even the Minutemen were occasionally guilty of this - not that I'm complaining, you understand); but, that sense of distance was hard for me to overcome. Maybe it's just the fact that Nomeansno, again unlike the other bands I compared them to, are consistent in emotional tone: they are corrosively and brutally sarcastic. If you're this cynical, then there really is no way to be as emotional or approachable as possible. Nomeansno doesn't come to you - you have to come to them.

The first side of "Sex Mad" is really flawless. The only complaint I have about the first side is that John Wright's drums are slightly gated, which automatically marks this as a late-80's product. There is not one bad song here, or even one average song. It's one relentless, pounding assault after another. From the lacerating, self-loathing title track, to the intentionally overdone but still extremely uncomfortable domestic-abuse anthem "Dad," to the ridiculously complicated but songful instrumental "Obsessed" (watch for John's little keyboard lines going up right alongside Rob Wright's bass), to the 30-second comic relief a capella version of "Sex Mad" ("No Fcgniuk," which is just Rob and Andy reciting some lyrics in semi-chipmunk voices), to the great, albeit confusing "Love Thang," to the hilarious, brilliant "Dead Bob," which features the most humor out of any of the songs and the most purposefully absurd and idiotic interpolation of "Sunshine of Your Love" into a song ever outside of a Residents album, this is an advanced and extended lesson in intelligent and intense ass-kicking.

Side two falters. To be fair, "Self Pity" starts things off at the same level as the others: an intricately put-together rhythm section tom-and-bass groove pounds away while Kerr goes nuts on guitar and Rob diagnoses adolescent self-pity so perfectly that it's kind of scary. The repetition works really well here. "Long Days" and "Metronome", in contrast, don't do much for me at all. There's no guitar! None at all! Where the fuck is Andy Kerr? I understand that these are probably holdovers from their bass-and-drum-only days, but shit, couldn't they have written new parts for Kerr to play? I know I'm probably a little biased (since I play guitar), but goddamn - if you've got a guitarist who is as obviously and plainly great as Kerr is, surely you could have let the guy write and play a couple more slicing guitar parts to spice things up a bit. I have nothing against repetition - I am a Fall and early PiL fanatic - but even I generally need a little more than one fucking bassline repeating over and over and over and over again for four to six minutes at a time, no matter how good it is. "Revenge," in contrast, brings it all back home again with more great Kerr guitaring and a really effective contrast between a splendid, catchy chorus and complicated, thorny verses.

Nomeansno can take a while to get used to, but put the effort in, because it is worth it.

One more thing: I'm pretty sure that Andy Kerr was using a bass head as an amp.

Bizarre, isn't it?

Add your thoughts?


The Day Everything Became Nothing EP - Alternative Tentacles 1988
Rating = 6

The Day Everything Became Nothing - I couldn't put my finger on what had gone wrong. The riffs were still dirty - but garbage! They SMELLED! I hereby voice my ears' disapproval of the following compositional decisions:

(a) the title track bounces along just fine on its minimalist, pre-"Scentless Apprentice" two-note bass line - even effectively feeling like an audio representation of 'nothing' - until the songwriters introduce an unnecessary 'ScArY!' third chord. This gesture is too large and obvious, and makes the song feel like a Walt Disney cartoon.

(b) I love hardcore punk, but there's something... wrong... with "Dead Souls." It's not the energy level or the vocals - those are both intense and effective. The drumming is also typically expert. Still, there's something about the song that just doesn't -- Oh, I know! The riff stinks.

(c) "Beauty And The Beast"

Taking a larger, further away view, this EP finds NMN again showcasing the diversity of their musical interests by tackling another collection of non-similar material. Looking more closely though, the songwriting isn't exactly of super high-calibre. Once you get past the failed Broadway bunk, iffy hardcore punk and vomitous fratboy funk, you're left with a mere two NMN classics -- one of which is a re-recording of "Forget Your Life." The real star here is "Brother Rat/What Slayde Says," a 9-minute study of human evil (or at least nihilism) that builds from a rhythmic call-and-response to an honestly creepy hypnotic drone created by intertwining guitar, bass and what I swear is somebody going "Ohhhmmmmmmmmm" every couple of lines -- before erupting into an intense distorted guitar/drum attack of HATRED HATRED HATRED!!!! Then it switches to to an innocent, hopeful lil' bass riff and the pattern repeats itself. This arrangement mirrors the protagonist's determination to retain a pure heart in spite of the daily influence of evil Slayde, who is either his brother, his friend, or a darker side of himself (probably the latter, but I'm not exactly 'Bob Interpret' so who knows).

Also of note is a layer of reverb on the drums that makes the record sound all mid-80'sy.

Also of note is "Forget Your Life" ruling even more ass now that it has a guitar in it. The circular riff is so harrowing! Who's with me? Anyone else harrowed by it?

Oh, I nearly forgot -- Happy Harroween everybody! Don't dress up like a ghost or somebody might fuck you in the eyehole!

That's just something my parents always warned me about so I thought I'd forward it along.

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
OK, now that you put it in that light, I suppose the title track isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's a bit of a "cheap thrill" insomuch as it's got a good beat, but no real melodic substance and uses ugly chords gratuitously - maybe like what a "poor-man's Nomeansno" (wouldn't you like to see that phrase used by Greil Marcus?) might employ. But dammit, I still like it - the lyrics are dramatic and enjoyable, and the sheer ability of the players makes the song kick ass a lot more than some inferior wannabe.

Same thing with "Dead Souls" - you seem to think the riff stinks, but to me it's more of a "hardcore pastiche" as done by a group of musicians technically far above the hardcore realm. Not that it's a joke track, it's just that they chose to record a song in that particular style, and came out with something that sounds a lot like something from Government Issue's "Joy Ride" album. No problem there. I like hardcore.

I have mixed feelings about "Forget Your Life". I agree this version completely overshadows the original, but I dunno.... something's still wrong with this song. Maybe the keyboards are mixed too high. Maybe the lyrics are a little too minimalistic and repetitive. But it's still a fine song. The voicings of the chords in the main riff is fairly non-punk (i.e. thirds instead of fifths), and the emotional resonance of the song is undeniable.

"Beauty and the Beast" sucks. I agree there. I can't even remember how it goes cause I always skip over it.

"Brother Rat / What Slayde Says" - I agree this is a career highlight. This album (paired on CD with Small Parts) was my first Nomeansno CD (apart from the Jello one), and I've listened frequently to this song for over 15 years. But Mark pointed out a lyrical perspective which had never occurred to me.... All this time I figured the song was about friends whom you like on a superficial level, but who are actually poisonous assholes underneath. But now I see it clearly - Slayde is not a friend, Slayde is the "darker side" of the protagonist himself! This helps explain why the lyrics change somewhat haphazardly between the first and second person, and how the song climaxes with "And then I face the mirror / And he steps in between". This interpretation makes this song MUCH more intense. Kinda like the movie "Fight Club".

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
While it makes perfect sense that you'd review this EP sseperately from the Small Parts LP, it's kinda throwin' me off, a bit. But that's only because I'm a product of the CD age, where cramming multiple releases onto one disc is common practice. It worked rather well for their previous LP's and EP's. But listening to the CD entitled The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed was always a bit of a chore, because of how friggin' long it was. That, plus this EP -- which starts the CD off -- has some not-so-good tracks on it. The only song I'd go so far as to call "not good" is "Forget Your Life." You say "Dead Souls" is stinky, but I say "Forget Your Life" is ugly. Not in that NMN ugly-in-a-good-way deal. The title track, while not bad, does go on for too long for how empty it is inside. "Brother Rat" is the best use of two voices I've heard this band use, and "What Slayde Says" is a better use of the emotional hypnosis they try with that whole life forgetting thing. Also, "Beauty and the Beast" is a metric tonne o' fun.

Add your thoughts?


* Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed - Alternative Tentacles 1988 *
Rating = 10

My wife just sent me an email entitled "Cute Story" that reads as follows:

"One person here was reportedly sleeping over the weekend and dreaming she was petting a kitten… She woke up and realized there was a RAT in bed with her, snuggled up under her arm, and she was petting it!!!

(Then she ran screaming out of the house and made her dad kill it with a shovel. That part’s not so cute.)"

In 1978, 24-year-old Canadian Rob Wright said to his 16-year-old brother John Wright, "Hay, I wanna play some punk rock songs. Are you agreeing with me?" John were, so Rob moved back home and they began playing in a band called Nomeansno. Unfortunately they couldn't find a guitar player, but persisted anyway, figuring, "Hey, we like Public Image Ltd.'s Second Edition LP and that's mostly drums and bass so let's just go for it." The rest is history.

Then they convinced the drummer's friend and former bandmate Andy Kerr to join as a guitarist. And the rest is history.

Then for their third full-length LP, they decided to focus on progressive rock epics. LOUD, punk-informed progressive rock epics. And by "epics," I mean that Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed has eight songs, and only one of them is shorter than 3:38. Of the remaining seven, five are longer than 5:15; three are in fact longer than 7:15. The most ridiculously lengthy track, "Real Love," is just one second shy of 10:00.

KEEP ON PUNKIN'!!!

No but seriousish - This music is total prog-punk-hard-rock: intelligent, emotional, dramatic, and performed with full intensity. It actually sounds more like '70s hard prog than '80s post-punk, but without the Moogs. I've always felt that the killer opening track "Dark Ages" sounds like a really great moody Rush rocker from the late '70s (when I sing it in my head, I actually often replace Andy's voice with that of Mr. Geddy Lee!), and have recently come to the conclusion that track two, "Junk," is likely intended as some sort of King Crimson pastiche (mostly the doomy distorted bass grunge of the John Wetton era, with some light warbly Adrian Belew segments thrown in for flavour). The rest of the record isn't quite as artist-specific-reminiscent, but it is just as '70s prog-influenced.

But please understand -- I don't mean like Emerson Lake and Palmer wishy-washy Hobbit, UFO soft-tones spiritual prog. This stuff is very hard -- the drum, bass and guitar tones are all abrasive and aggressive, and as I said, there's no Moog for miles around (although I do hear a hint of keyboard wash right at the very end of "Dark Ages"). And lyrically, NMN are treating the ups and downs of everyday life itself as the epic rigours, odysseys and iliads that we must struggle to survive. Why sing about evil celestial visitors and battles between God and Satan when we actually have to live with the real-life evils of willful ignorance, sorrow, filth, alienation, defeat, loneliness and dishonesty? That's what I bet they're saying, probably, in my opinion.

And the lyrics? Oh my! Check out some of these awesome rhymes!

"We are living in the Dark Ages
Haven't seen some daylight in what seems ages"

"He thought he was putting his things in the right place
Everything had a name and everything had a place"

"When I set out on this journey, I thought it would never end
When I started down that road, I could not see the end"

Err... let's try something else.

The title track of this record is one of the most genius (and DEPRESSING) "life in rock and roll" anthems I've ever heard in my life, right up there with Bob Seger's "Turn The Page." In this lengthy piece, against an ever-changing backdrop of smash-smash headache noise, dopey funk rock, Spinal Tap metal licks, and gigantic stadium rock, Andy Kerr lays out what I guess I have to assume are his true feelings about the shallowness of the punk rock scene. Beginning with a pointed reference to Johnny Rotten's last spoken words as a member of the Sex Pistols ("It's been said before but I'll repeat it/Don't you feel like you've been cheated?"), he goes on to berate both himself and his fans for their gullibility, ignorance, narcissism and transparency. Why do they come to the shows? To get on the guest list, hang out with the popular bands, and try to get laid. Why does Andy continue to perform? To make a living. Check out some of these bile-ridden passages:

"It's been shoved down your throats - YOU EAT IT!
They say it's true -- YOU BELIEVE IT!?!"

"What's the deal, 50% of the door?
Well then, come on in, come on in for more!
What's that you say, we get a guarantee?
Then fuck right off, you mean nothing to me."

"I tired of being close and feeling abused
And all those 'deep discussions' make me want to puke!"

"There's liquor on your breath and magic in the air"

"You've been beaten up inside
That's the high point of your life."

....culminating with the one lyric that puts this song up there with any of the musician-rage Roger Waters vented in two albums worth of The Wall. Imagine a musician thinking THIS THOUGHT about his own fans:

"There is one thing that I will never do --

TRUST YOU."

GOD, WHAT A FUCKING GREAT SONG!!! Unless I'm misinterpreting it, but even if I am, GOD, WHAT A FUCKING GREAT SONG!!! It crudely bashes your skull in with trebly pounding racket, grooves your shake butt, and rocks your headbang spirit of lighters all in the same track, back and forth and forth and back. Good work, song!

That's not to say that the other seven songs aren't great too. They are, in fact, are. Hence my grade o' 10. "Victory" doesn't just sing of self-determination in the face of defeat; it literally feels like a journey from failure to victory. "Real Love" bends back and forth between the eeriest verse in NMN history and a GIGANTICALLY anthemic and emotionally cathartic chorus, shadowing the blissful feelings ('gentle murmur that calls from the heart') and obsession, pain and jealousy ('great wind that will blow you apart') that co-exist in so many relationships. "Lonely" uses a quiet but difficult bass/guitar note motif to back the near-whispered words of a sad, bitter man who has too little faith in the human spirit to interact with his fellow creatures. Others.

It's possible that (aside from the brief hardcore "Teresa, Give Me That Knife"), these songs may be too melodramatic and lengthy for fans of the quick punk rock fix -- but if you have broad musical tastes that encompass both hardcore intensity and classic prog rock (not the sissy-boned Dream Theater crap, but good old Rush/Yes/King Crimson guitar-oriented stuff), you gots to put Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed on your "To Buy" list today. Heck, I noticed 5/8, 6/8 AND 7/8 time signatures!

8/8? What is that? I've never heard of that! Is it pretty?

Reader Comments

Henry The Dog
Just my two cents worth -- I've spent the last 6 years tuning out most of Mark "Daddy" Prindle's records, but there's a part at the end of "Junk" that totally captures my attention every time he plays it. It's a bunch of squeaky toy noises! I LOVE squeaky toys! Whenever this part of the song comes on, my ears perk up and I look over at the stereo at the squeaky toy noises coming out of the speakers. They're GRRRREAT! I recently learned a new command, actually -- "Make it squeak!" Whenever Mommy or Daddy says it, I'm supposed to step on a squeaky toy and make it squeak, but I'm usually so excited by the idea of getting a treat that I forget to make sure that what I'm stepping on has a squeaky inside. This has led to embarrassing moments of stepping on silent stuffed animals, Mommy's purse (several times in a row), and even Uncle Scott's knee! Imagine my surprise and chagrin when his knee didn't make a squeaky noise! Getting back to the topic at hand, I agree with Daddy that this is Nomeansno's best album, because it's the one with the squeaky toy noises.

Oh okay I can't actually type nor do I know this many words. But if I could and did, I'd TOTALLY write something this cute! Because I'm Henry The Dog!

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
For years, this albums has suffered at the hands of The Day Everything Became Nothing, but now that I've bothered to listen to the CD starting on track 6, I can finally see where you're coming from in awarding this one the coveted 10. I noticed that you forgot to mention "And That's Sad," which is fine, 'cause that's a song I sometimes like to forget. But everything here is top-notch in the various ways you pointed out. And "Theresa, Give Me That Knife" sounds like what an epic punk song should sound like, AND WITHOUT BEING OF EPIC LENGTH! Underrated record? Mayhaps. 10 worthy? I disagree.

Add your thoughts?


Wrong - Alternative Tentacles 1990
Rating = 9

This is where I hopped onto the Nomeansno choo choo train (toot! toot!) and began choo chooing along the tracks of anthemic bass-heavy rockin' roll. You see, when one is a young Dead Kennedys fan in 1989, there's only one place to turn for quality hardcore punk rock. "Barenaked Ladies?" you ask. NO! Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles record label! As such, I introduced my crisp, nascent ears to such fantastic post-hardcore artistes as Alice Donut, Tragic Mulatto, the Crucifucks, The Causey Way and Nomeansno, with the exception of The Causey Way. Wrong was Nomeansno's sexy new release at the time, so what kind of fool would I have been not to buy it? So I bought it! Or, at the very least, somebody bought it, and I made an illegal tape dub of it. Whichever the case, what an introduction I was to have to America's own Canadian Nomeansno! (also spelled NoMeansNo and No Means No)

Coming to NMN as I was, from the world of straightforward hardcore punk, something seemed immediately akilter with the band but I couldn't figure out what it was. Of course now it's obvious to me -- the bass and drums played lead musical roles alongside the guitar. This wasn't something I'd expected, so even the first track, "It's Catching Up," threw me for a loopty-loop. "Why is the bass playing the same fast, notey metallic lick as the guitar, rather than just laying on the root note like a good bass player would?" I wondered. "And why is the drummer playing increasingly aggressive snare rolls rather than a really fast 'doop-chick' beat like today's top hardcore punk rock bands of the day? I don't understand you and your ways, Canada's Nomeansno!"

But we all grow in life, and I'm no different. In those days, I was 1'2 and now I'm 5'11. And with that added height grew astounding brainpower, the likes of which this world has never known. Then it all went away and here we are.

In conclusion, get your DONG out of your SCHLONG and buy WRONG!

Oh yes, the review.

Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed was a serious, heartfelt pronouncement of epic pain, disgust and alienation. In contrast, Wrong invites you to put on a smile and get the lead out! Then after you've walked the dog, you can put the lead away and listen to the album. And the album ROCKS! For the first time, Andy Kerr's distorted guitar plays as prominent a role in the songwriting and presentation as the bass and drums (which is why I was so confused when I first heard the record -- having not heard its predecessors, I'd naturally assumed that, as in most punky bands, the guitar had ALWAYS been the lead instrument! So why were the bass and drums so busy and showing off at me?!). And the melodrama has (for the most part) been replaced by a more light-hearted and playful approach encompassing faster, more traditionally "rockin'" riffs and esoteric, perhaps meaningless lyrics. It's essentially a hard rock record, but with lots of different influences mixed into its stinky sock stew -- everything from punk, funk, blues and stadium rock to metal, swing jazz, surf-spy, hardcore, noise and rockabilly. The result is a spoken-word triple-CD by Jello Biafra! No hang o

The result is a diverse prog-free stomp-roarer of a loud, hard, and energetic record. There is a little bit too much stop-start STOMP STOMP STOMP rhythmic enunciation for my personal taste (rendering "Stocktaking" a difficult and unrewarding listen after the similarly brutalizing but funny "Tired Of Waiting"), but otherwise it's hard to find a thing to complain about. Blisteringly loud guitars, propulsive drumming, and thick heavy bass sail alongside the usual two-man speak-sing vocals for an 11-track trip through the musical minds of Canada's Most Talented.

Buy it for the evil metal licking of "It's Catching Up." For the brooding blues-rock of "The Tower." For the intrigue-dripping spy-surf-hardcore of "Brainless Wonder." For the speedcore/swing jazz hybrid of "Tired of Waiting." No no, buy it for the operatic guy/girl vocals and hypnotic ringing chorus of "The End Of All Things." And for the RHCP-plus funk of "Big Dick." Don't buy it for the - no wait, I changed my mind. DO in fact buy it for the high-speed punk, harmonized yelling, hilarious 'guitar solo' and rhythmically heartbuilding coda of "Two Lips, Two Lungs And One Tongue." And if you decide you're going to purchase a copy of the album, do so for the awesome blues-rock riff and anthemic chorus of "Rags And Bones." Or the out-of-tune rockabilly shit vocals of the otherwise pulse-racing punker "Oh No! Bruno." And at the end of the day, when all is said and done, buy it for the Exuberant Anthem Major Chord Stadium Rock, Beautiful God So Fucking Beautiful Vocal Melody and Emotional Ringing Chord Changes And pissed-off as shit 'back down to Earth' hard rock chorus of "All Lies," one of the most goosebumpingly gorgeous songs I've ever heard. It wants to take you into a fantasy heaven world of Religious Belief and Heroism and Real Love -- but then it admits that it's ALL A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT! (or, in its words, "All Lies"). God what a song. Did I mention the song "All Lies"? Christ! It's gorge-tastic-ous, fan!

That was a really clever way of describing every song on the album. Nobody noticed that.

The lyrics are much less concrete than previously, addressing what could be or appears to possibly be either a metaphor of, or indication of the at least imagined existence of, zombies and/or some sort of dark hidden secret coming home to roost (or, alternately, some sort of dark hidden rooster coming home to secrete), some sort of tower (?), artistic frustration or limited ability to express one's emotions through the medium, homelessness (possibly?), swingin' sex god men, and the old NMN standby concerns of dishonesty, wasted time, and armageddon. But in a whimsical, light-hearted way that will bring a tear to your eye and a beer to your toddler!

Oh okay, that's me bringing a beer to your toddler. But hey! How ELSE am I gonna get it to give me a BJ?

What's that? No no, I said "PB & J."

("Prepubescent Blow & Job," that is!!!!)

Oh hell, I didn't realize you could hear me inside the parenthese.

Reader Comments

astrawn@firstam.com
Ok, I gotta admit when I saw the NMN reviews were up I scrolled down to see if Wrong got the 10 stars, or dots or whatever the hell those are, since that’s usually the favorite. A little surprised that you went with Small Parts, anyway I guess I’ll actually read the review now. I just wanted to have the first comment under Wrong.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
This has got to be one of the most intense records I've ever heard in my life. This has also got to be one of the greates records I've ever heard in my life. And yet, as your old friend C.B. Smith once said, this isn't even my favorite. Calling this album "prog-free" seems incorrect. If the last album was "LOUD, punk-informed progressive rock epics," then this album LOUDER, prog-informed punk rock shit-storms. You say "Stocktaking" is "underwritten," I'd call it "adequately sparse," as well as the perfect follow-up for something so crazy-go-nuts as "Tired of Waiting." It starts with the only bit of breathing room you're ever going to find on this disc, and then proceeds to build the tension back up with all that instrumental business that we know and love. Awesome record of awesomeness.

Mcshane123321@aol.com
Well, this was majorly disappointing.

Add your thoughts?


The Power Of Positive Thinking EP - Alternative Tentacles 1990
Rating = 8

Did you think this EP would have more than two songs? Then you were on target because it has three. Unfortunately one of them is "Manic Depression" again. The other two are great though. "Life In Hell" uses a typically warped, disgusted bass line to tell you you're an idiot for letting men fuck you, and "I Am Wrong" uses incorrect vocal harmonies, two-note vomit and arrogant, snotty vocals to tell you... err... never mind. Something. At any rate, Rob Wright sings the former and Andy Kerr sings the latter. Have you ever sung a ladder? Goddamn it's

Dog keeps farintg. Drummer John has disdain for a backbeat. He'd prefer to play all and his hit like Heath Machers (but trainer, not messy). Here's -- it's very negative - sounding music! Bitter! Not complicated, but hard, drirving, bitter, hateful music. Here's my impression of some people: "Mark, You write too many drunken reviews. You need to go to AA." And here's my impression of me: "UP YOUR ALLEY!" I only drink to excess 2 or 33 times a week, and the only reason I write drunken reviews is because when it happens that I don't have time to write a review during the day. If my liver dies, it's my own fault. If my kidney explodes, it's the toilet's explanation. Three times twice, never times once. Here's what it is: Christians FUCK, Moslems SUCK, Religions are RIGHT and my buttock is TIGHT. That's for a reason - my lack of gaiety. Here's what I always sing to music of The Monkees' "Shades of Grey":

"But today there is no Larry Hag
Today there is no plastic bag
Tdoay there is no lesbo fag
Only shades of gay."

I actually like gay people though.

There's a hilarious happy part in "I Am Wrong" that must be believed to be heard. It's late, I'm high as a tree on Grape-Flavored Vodka, and life is great. So just know that the two great songs on here can be found on a certain CD reissue of Wrong so try to dig that down frapp darkle snip trikle-litomy.

Here are some insights for you, the reader:

- Mainstream entertainment is bad. Very, very, very, very generic and bad. If anything good sneaks through, it's an accident.

- Some Christians are so great, they create charity. Others are so awful, they tell their own children that they're going to Hell. Both examples can be found in the Nova Local.

- The more you can learn, the better. Particularly about how your body works, how the economy works, why politics and corporations are so corrupt (I know it sounds simplistic and childish when I phrase it like that; it's actually a much more involved system of reasons that might surprise and depress you), and why people you hate don't actually deserve to be hated (example: my mother thinks it's great that it's now impossible for people to declare bankruptcy, because she hates lazy people who overspend. Unfortunately, sources say that less than 5% of the bankrupt fall into this category. The rest are bankrupt due to divorce, lost job, or serious illness.)

- Naked women are awesome. Keep up the good work, as long as you don't have fake breasts, which look like you carried two medicine balls through that phone booth in The Fly.

- It is nearly horrifying what the theory of supply-and-demand economics says about the Untied States and its Americans. Apparently we have so many qualified teachers that we can get away with paying them $1.00 an hour (roughly). Yet apparently we so demand the existence of celebrities that we are willing to pay billions of dollars to see their movies, buy their CDs, and purchase weekly magazines detailing their exploits. Our demand for celebrities is so high that they are paid millions and millions of dollars, even though most of them really aren't very bright or talented. If we could just somehow all join together and RESIST THE URGE to see the new Tom Cruise movie, RESIST THE URGE to buy Us, People and all those other women's magazines you women read, and get really salivatingly excited about independent label records and low-budget films starring people you've never heard of -- we could rock that supply-and-demand scale so drastically that it simply wouldn't PAY to be a celebrity! Hopefully, movie studios would then stop making dumbed-down blockbusters and giving roles to Ben Affleck. The same thing applies to sports too, but nobody's going to stop watching sports. They bet on it, they live vicariously through it, they experience nostalgia through it -- these people will pay ticket prices no matter how high they go, and athletes will continue to earn more money than... well, me. Also, I wonder what would happen if Churches started charging $10.75 admission. Do you think people who are willing to pay $10.75 for 90 minutes of Hollywood entertainment every weekend would be willing to make the same sacrifice in order to save their souls? Or would that be all it took for them to realize, "Wait a minute -- this bullshit isn't even real!"? Hopefully we'll someday know. My point is that WE THE PEOPLE have created this society. Supply-and-demand is dependent on what WE have expressed as OUR NEEDS, and prices are set by what WE show that WE are willing to pay. Don't blame the companies for setting their prices accordingly; blame yourself and your fellow citizens. (Except in the case of overpriced insurance, medicine and things like that that you actually NEED -- in that case, blame the companies. Or at least look into it and find out why the prices are so high)

- Buy as many Nomeansno records as you can, even though they're really expensive because Alternative Tentacles took them out of print because Jello Biafra is a douchebag.

Actually that's not true, as far as I know. But they certainly are out of print for whatever reason.

Reader Comments

nowheremang@excite.com
I just got back from seeing Nomeansno in concert (awesome live band), and it was really cool to see all of your reviews appear the same day.

Alternative Tentacles took Nomeansno's records out of print in 2002 at the band's own request, because they wanted to reissue their back catalogue themselves. The Wrights started to do this in 2004 by releasing a best-of ("The People''s Choice") and by reissuing a couple of the albums in the UK, but that's all that's happened so far. I hope they get around to doing this soon, because I'd rather see the money going to them than to the whores on Ebay.

Thanks again for the reviews. Here's hoping for a Victims Family page someday too.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Adding 2/3 of this EP as bonus tracks for Wrong was a brilliant idea.

Add your thoughts?


Oh Canaduh 7" - Allied 1991
Rating = 5

If you take the time to pronounce "Nomeansno" incorrectly, you get "No Miasma." While this may be a true statement, it doesn't necessarily refer to this particular release as such. For some reason, they got a hair up their ass (probably an ass hair) to perform straight, faithful cover versions of two old-timey Canadian punk rock songs. Side A is The Subhumans' "Oh Canaduh," which, though certainly angry, is basically "Holiday In Cambodia" without the lead guitar. Had the track been entitled "Oh Cambodiuh," that'd be one thing. Unfortunately it is, indeed, not one thing.

Side B is DOA's "New Age," which is happy, faux-British and not to my particular taste. In fact, the entire existence of that band is not to my taste. The Subhumans, while I personally prefer their British namesakes, at least had some catchy angry songs; "We Don't Care What You Think - Fuck You!" is a great song, for example. DOA on the other hand mostly churn out bad punk-metal, from what I've heard. Even their earliest, punkiest material is pretty uninvolving for such a well-known act. "Fucked Up Ronnie" and "America The Beautiful" are fun, but I have this really really long compilation of their early stuff and sitting through the whole thing is like pulling my own teeth out through my nose, but that might just be because I did that once while listening to it; memories are powerful indicators.

What's that? You want to read a verse of "The Ballad Of Paul," a single released in 1969 by a band called 'The Mystery Tour'? Sure, I'm here to oblige!

"Lyrics are important
In fact, they say it all
At the end of 'Strawberry Fields Forever,'
John says, 'I buried Paul.'"

Glad I could help! Any other requests, you just let your little sister Mark Prindle know!

To add insult to not terribly good songs, Nomeansno doesn't even bother bringing its own unique take to the table of these tracks. If you've heard their hilarious a capella rendition of Dead Kennedys' "Forward To Death," you know how capable they can be in the 'covering things innovatively' department. But tha' 'twas not to be here, so "New Age" and "Oh Canaduh" essentially sound like DOA's "New Age" and Subhumans' "Oh Canaduh," but recorded more recently with better equipment. For the love of God's sake, don't BUY it! Don't make the same mistake that somebody presumably did before sending me a tape dub of it! (unless they just stole it off the Internet!)

Did I mention I think I broke a bone in my foot? It happened two and a half weeks ago during a Tae Kwon Do "Flying Kicks" class. I landed on the side of my foot like an asshole, and now my toes are purple and I've been limping for near on 17 days. My instructor suggests that I get it X-rayed, but I fail to see how drawing graphic sex acts all over it will help.

Ha ha! Little "X-rayed/X-rated" humor for you there! Here's some more:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
X-Ray!
X-Ray who? X-Rayted Movie?
No, X-Ray Manzarek guitarist Robbie Krieger! Would you like to purchase a Doors song for your Sherwin-Williams Paint Store commercial?
Umm... could I get back to y
I've got a really great song in mind, but first let me ask you this -- do you happen to sell a shade called "Roadhouse Blue"?

Add your thoughts?

The Sky Is Falling And I Want My Mommy (with Jello Biafra) - Alternative Tentacles 1991
Rating = 9

As one of the finest singers the Dead Kennedys ever had, Jello Biafra naturally thrilled the world when he took a break from his then-defunct band to record an LP with Canadian power trio Nomeansrush. However, the ears of the planet were then taken rigidly aback by the horrific power-frashing and incorrigibly trebly screaming headache noise that came blasting out of the speakers the second the needle hit the damage done. Noisy? Yeah, if by 'noisy,' you mean 'noisy as SHIT'!!!

I unfortunately was unable to attend these particular recording sessions, as I wasn't invited and have never met any members of the band. Nevertheless, I can't help but stifle a giggle at the thought of Andy Kerr plugging his guitar into an effect pedal, carefully twisting the many delicate knobs to and fro, accidentally happening across the most abrasive, unpleasant and overdistorted guitar tone in the world, and announcing without hesitation, "Hey, let's use this!" Not to be undersold, the other band members by all indications then replied "Okay fine" before sneaking into the studio at session's end to make sure that their own contributions were mixed down as godforsakenly loud and ear-bleedingly noisy as his.

The result is a guitar tone that slices through your brainpan like a nickel dropped from the top of the Empire State Building onto the head of a man comprised of butter, married to a production style that shoves every instrument together and cranks them up WAY past the red zone so that every track (drums, bass, guitar, vocals and even a horn section on one song) erupts into screaming distortion that bleeds onto every OTHER track (horns, vocals, guitar, bass and even a drum section on one song). In short, The Sky Is Falling And I Want My Mommy With Jello Biafra is, as Nomeansno fan Christian Burns Smith once wrote earlier today, "a headache in a jar (if the jar is flat and waxy)."

But grab your Anacin and shut your ass because nearly every song on here is fantastic. The instrumentation is as insanely fast, complex, busy and exciting as the rest of NMN's work, and Jello's lyrics are as paranoid and bitter as always. First he shrieks about NASA plutonium showering the Earth, then he yowls about oppressive Christians, then he harps about Big Brother-style government surveillance, then he opines about dead end youth gang culture, then he sings a song about riding the flume.

"Then he sings a song about riding the flume."

On side B he warns of urban nonchalance towards rat attacks, screams about the potential misuses of DNA technology, and goes on a veritable rampage of words against the blind subservience of an ignorant culture that wants only to be entertained.

Meanwhile, back on side one he's singing a song about riding the flume.

Yes, it's not many sociopolitical commentators that can stand up without fear of recourse and sing a neutral song about late-nineteenth-century loggers carving boats out of lumber and riding them down the side of a mountain, but Jello Biafra has the GUTS, the BALLS, the very TITS to s

Musically, the LP could be categorized as a mixture of Dead Kennedys and Nomeansno playing styles and motifs. Biafra fans will notice stylistic similarities between the psycho-rock "Chew" and DKs' "Riot," bass-driven midtempo rocker "The Myth Is Real - Let's Eat" and DKs' "Goons Of Hazzard," surf-punk "Ride The Flume" and DKs' "Too Drunk To F*&#$(%%*$(@*#($*(@*$((%**%(!!*," and faceless hardcore "Jesus Was A Terrorist" and DKs' Bedtime For Democracy LP in its entirety. Likewise, Nomeansno fans will recognize that band's patented twists, turns and melodic sicknesses in the punishing noise-rock title track, ass-kicking-as-shit metallic "Sharks In The Gene Pool," and musically hilarious vomit-jazz "Bruce's Diary."

And Hanson Brothers fans will wonder how they managed to cover a Hanson Brothers song when the Hanson Brothers didn't even release their first album until 1992.

Say! Now would be a "GRATE =" time to "FRAME" a description "OF METAL"-punk "BARS" band Hanson Brothers! The Hanson Brothers is a Nomeansno side project band devoted to The Ramones and hockey (hence the nominal reference to the hilarious stars of the hilarious film Slap Shot starring the hilarious Paul Newman of Paul Newman's Hilarious Spaghetti Sauce). I own 2 of their 3 CDs, but won't review them here because that would be ridiculous. I also own a solo single that Rob Wright issued under the name "Mr. Wrong," but to review that here would be equally ridiculous. Similarly, if he were to put out a race-baiting single called "Take Your Shoes Off Before You Come Into The House (Rice)" under the name "Mr. Wong," I would review it here because it would comprise an integral segment of the Nomeansno discography.

This Jello/Nomeansno release is excellent, aggressive and exciting from beginning to finale (even if "Jesus Was A Terrorist" never really finds a stable riff). But be sure to take a glass of Tylenol and two drops of water before listening or YOUR HEAD WOULD FUCKING EXPLODE!

Good old references to Dead Milkmen dance remixes. Is there any situation in which they aren't deemed appropriate and/or satisfactory?

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Hot damn! Amazing album. This album introduced me to Nomeansno, who went on to become one of my favorite bands of all time. This album sounds a lot like "Wrong", one of their top 2 or 3 albums. Mark seems to think the mix is pretty horrible, but it doesn't bother me. It is pretty trebly though, they could have accented the bass a bit more.

I'm still pretty impressed with the message conveyed in "Jesus Was a Terrorist" - at first, it may seem like an utterly offensive title (if you're inclined to be offended by stuff like that), but the truth then hits you. Back in his day, from the point of view of the Romans, Jesus was "bad", "subversive", and a clear and present danger to their way of life (if you know why, let me know and win a free Frosty at Wendy's). "Right" and "Wrong" are only relative terms, dependent on the context of the times and the perspective of the beholder. The fact that we hold Jesus in such high regard today (go, dude!) is a good example of how one person's terrorist is another person's savior. Were the Romans evil? Are we? The answer is neither, perhaps both.

astrawn@firstam.com
Really good album. I think this and the Jello & DOA are just as good as any Dead Kennedys album. My only complaint is that the last two songs lyrics sound like a cliffnote version of Jello’s spoken word topics. But that’s not a big deal really, I’ve heard all of this stuff in his other releases, I spent more time wonder what the Flume song was really about. I guess its just a song about riding a log?

I never really thought about the production that much, most of the songs are fast, loud, hardcore songs so I think the harsh sound fits this album pretty well. “Chew” is an amazing song, very effective, very creepey.

Check the album credits on Bad, its listed as “The Hanson Brothers” its not Nomeansno, it IS the freaking Hansons! Cool. I saw NMN twice on the “Headless” tour and one night they played Bad and Ride the Flume (both with Tom singing) as part of the encore.

davepulaski@gmail.com
I noticed you mentioned Paul Newman's sauces. Something interesting to note: next time you're at the grocery store, look at the weight in grams of the sauce. 666 grams. No shit.

This album is pretty cool, for the sake of relevance.

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Live + Cuddly - Alternative Tentacles 1991
Rating = 7

Hi, I'm Leo Trotsky and Leon Tolstoy. Put us all together and that spells "rigmarole" which is the gangster machine the fish today tonight BAD! You can't serve me BGAD FISH and not expect me to notice when I pay my 17 dollars for it! C'mon, you asshole! If you don't have a good fish, just TELL me! Don't make me eat your BAD FISH! Goddamn you!

This live album features two songs from Sex Mad, four from Wrong, 2 from You Kill Me, four from The Day Everything Bcame Nothing and 3 from Small Parts Isolated and Destoryed. Nothing pre-Kerr is here. The mix is awesome, but some of the endings are dragged out too long, with the band "jamming" like the Grateful Dead or like another jam band like the Dave Matthews Band or Crotch Smelly or Phish. Also, what stupid asshole piece of shit jackass pile of dick-sucking cock wang prick pussy vagina cunt clit slit quim hairpie breast tit boob knocker knob ballsac testicle nut scumbag ass butt hole cock anus puckered starfish fuck shit ball poop crap piss pee urine feces mudflap slab glacier nether region labia casaba watermelon cantaloupe jug hooter pud wee-wee pee-pee fornicate jerk off masturbate cum squirt cream semen sperm beat off jack off scrotum decided it would be a good idea to perform live versions of the worst four songs in their catalog (to date -- which is why "Ghosts" isn't on here), "Some Bodies," "Dead Souls," "No Fckuing (A Capella)" and "Metronome"!? "The Day Everything Became Nothing" ain't too hot a hotty either! Plus, also, in addition, you put most of these bad songs all on side FOUR, ruining the previous album and a half!

They're great live though. In facxt, they feel that they're predominantly a live band, and that if you like their albums, you should see them live to 'hear the songs performed correctly.' I saw them live on the worldhood tour and they totally knocked my socks off my butt. Look, stop laughing about my butt socks; you never know when your feet will give out and you'll have to walk on your butt all the way home - socks are key; you don't want to get s scrape; also, .

"The Frank Sinatra par ot fhe set." "Person you'd sorta like to lick all over." "This is a song about mistrust. What is mistrute? Brotherhood." Hey, you've got to hide your love at bay. This gets a very low 7, but the band rules so who gives a good goddamn? It's not like you're recording BETTER albums than they are!!! (unless you're a member of the Cows, the Fall, the Ramones or whatever band you, the reader, like a lot."

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
I'vw got a Tommy-era live version of "Body Bag" that puts this version to shame.

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0 + 2 = 1 - Alternative Tentacles 1991
Rating = 8

Q. What did the bully say to the man carrying a full trash bag?
A. "You wanna take it outside?"

Q. What did the Turd say to the Anus?
A. "You gotta be shittin' me!"

Q. What did the marketing VP say to the man who showed up at a brainstorming meeting with his head inside a vagina?
A. "I need you to think outside the box!"

Q. What did the dumb 8-year-old say before everyone laughed really hard at him and he cried and never had any friends and five years later hung himself in the garage?
A. "0+2=1!"

This turned out to be the last Nomeansno release for guitarist Andy Kerr, so at least appreciate it for that, even if you hate every song on it (in which case, nice job on the ears ASSHOLE). Although the surprisingly straightforward, accessible nature of the music felt like a disappointment at the time, 0+2=1 demonstrates that even without challenging time signatures, stop-start polyrhythms and breakneck bass lines, Nomeansno can still craft a full-length LP of smart, original and catchy rock music that literally rewards you with money on each listen.

Furthermore, the band is still working oodles of variety into its trademark sound, as evidenced by the fact that when I tried to group the songs into subgenres, I realized that no two are similar enough to be grouped together! I LOVE that in an album! Here's what I came up with, for all you folks who haven't heard the record and are curious about whether it's all death metal or not: (1) friendly, bouncy folk-pop, (2) angular new wave-inspired rock, (3) sick dark heavy bass vamp, (4) noisy pop-punk (or poppy noise-punk), (5) ugly trudge-funk (God, I could go for an ugly trudge-funk right now. Take that fuckin' cock, bitch!!!), (6) comedy funk, (7) Wire-inspired energy-less minimalism, (8) short underwhelming instrumental with lots of wrong notes, (9) confrontational math-metal, (10) failed melodrama, and (11) bombastic anthemic emotional catharsis. See that? Not a single one resembles any other. In fact, not a single one even sounds like itself. And this is the problem with quantum recording equipment; when you t

The lyrics are even more abstract than those of Wrong, but they seem to contain lots of references to death and Christianity. As my Bible knowledge is limited to JERKING OFF all over the 'begat' passages, I'll leave the interpreting to the experts (ie Christians, fiction readers). However, I'd be happy to interpret the vocals for you. Interpretation: they're GOOD! The richest vocal melody comes right at the beginning of the record, but nearly every track is sung/spoken with a charisma that sounds like it wants to bust through the speakers and hang out with you. And why WOULDN'T you want to hang out with Rob Wright and Andy Kerr? Hey, you should just be glad that Kerr's first name isn't "Wayne"! Ha ha! Yeah, I think we're all in agreeance on that one! Also, Rob's first name isn't "My Pud Hangs To The"

So yes, the arrangements do seem a bit more repetitive and less challenging than the last couple of records, but the guitar and bass lines are catchy as all hell's hell, and the mix remains as hard-edged as always. If you're looking for the noisy complications of NMN earlier-year, just set your needle down on "I Think You Know." This isn't just the most difficult song on the album -- it's one of the most insane compositions of their entire career! Following a fade-out of the preceding nervous instrumental, "I Think You Know" fades in sounding almost like the previous passage in reverse, with an aggressive, strangely-accented beat (enforced by all instruments and several voices at once) that sucks your head into the dirt like an aural vacuum cleaner before suddenly switching over to a head-banging double-pounded chorus (with fast, twisted guitar line), then switching back and forth and back and forth between the two parts until you get whiplash. AND NO, I DON'T MEAN THE METALLICA SONG!!!!

So hit the lights, jump in the fire, and seek & destroy with no remorse (anesthesia) because when the metal mili

At the beginning of side two, you will find a song entitled "Everyday I Start To Ooze." My wife loves this song so much, we played it at our wedding reception. Here, let me share a few of the lyrics with you:

"His mother was a secretary, I think; her father a RAPIST."

"I heard they were dismembering people down the street. Those Joneses - you gotta love 'em!"

"A bold plan drawn up by assholes to screw morons"

"If every fourth animal in the world is a beetle/Maybe every fourth person is a dumbfuck!"

"Those personal acts/Those suicide pacts/Those carelessly stored razorblades in the hands of small children"

"Unday!/Noneday!/Useday!/Buttugly!/Whoreday!/Painday!/SPLATTERSDAY!!!/SPLATTERSDAY!!!/YOU DUMB FUCK!!!"

On a lighter note, the wedding attendees seemed to enjoy our fudge wedding cake.

(Look, it was too late to order a real chef and GG Allin was just SITTING there so we figured, "W

Reader Comments

astrawn@firstam.com
This was my first NMN album, I still remember hearing Now in the record store, how it kept building up and breaking back down. The guitar solo which is more of a guitar solo parody (Greg Ginn influence maybe?), and the ending is just amazing. I had to get it, I think this one and Wrong are tied for my favorites. Just an amazing album start to finish. Name one other band that has this level of creativity, technical skill, and talent that can still play this hard. You can’t, even if you can, you’re wrong.

For years I thought that Rob and John were trading off on vocals, I wasn’t even sure if they had a guitar player or just overdubbed it themselves. There was no internet to research these things and crediting the guitar playing to “None of your fucking Business” didn’t help. I guess you can’t accuse Andy Kerr of being an egomaniac.

I have to point out that the songs on this album do have one thing in common: kickassedness

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
My first Nomeansno record. Found a used vinyl copy for $5, having only previously only heard the full band version of "No Fgnuick" on the Fat Wreck Chords compilation Short Music For Short People, a CD containing 101 short-ass punk rock songs, and there's maybe 5 that exceed 30 seconds. (Said compilation is also a good place to find hard-to-find songs by bands such as The Dwarves, Rancid, Green Day, and a shim-load of bands most people here wouldn't have heard of.) I brought this LP home not knowing what to expect, and I fell in love with its total weirdness. Your individual descriptions of the songs are pretty spot-on. "Mary (The Last)" may be ugly, but it's an ugliness that lends itself well to the song, and it bothers me how the songs is never given the respect it's due. A musical avalanche that perfectly captures that trapped underneath feeling, I say!

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Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy? - Alternative Tentacles 1993
Rating = 7

Hi, I'm Bob Vagina. You know, a lot of people make fun of my last name, because it sounds so much like 'Virginia.' But what these people don't realize about the 'Mountain State' (or 'The Birthplace of Country Music') is that it is 'The Father of Presidents'! Yes, the b

Hi, I'm Larry Ball. You know, when I'm fucking some whore's cunt in the ass, I always like to finish the job by ejecting jit from the head of my pud. It's just a little something extra I like to throw in there for the lady's enjoyment. So this one time I was ramming my pecker into this hairy muff's starfish pussy ass slit butt vagina when

Hi, I'm Mr. Happy. You may know me as 'what Fratboys call their penis.' And why do they call me Mr. Happy?

Because they're
NOT.
VERY.
SMART.

What the? Who let Redd Foxx in here? What's with all the blue humor!? Little kids read this site! LITTLE kids! 14, 15 years old!

Redd Foxx: "...you are no longer a little kid! You are a fucking ADULT!"

Yes, Redd Foxx and I had a lot of fun quoting Flipper stage patter to each other that warm summer's autumn day, but eventually we remembered that one of us had to review the Nomeansno CD. As he was dead, we decided it should be me. Here's what I came up with:

Hi, I'm Redd Foxx. You know, when I'm clutching my chest and hilariously shouting 'Elizabeth!,' most people don't realize that I'm actually suffering a heart a

Following 0+2=1 (more like 0+2=1=8, if you ask me!!!), Andy Kerr moved to the Netherlands, and the Wright Siblings made the strange decision to record their next album as a Mama-style duo. The result is hardly surprising: bass and drums out the galore. John plays keyboard on a couple of songs, and Rob adds a bit of decorative guitarwork here and there, but the emphasis is very much on bass riffs of all stripes -- friendly, intense, haunting, sarcastic, funky, poppy, bloozy, angry, beautiful, ugly.... who knew a four-stringed instrument could express so many different emotions?

Okay, most of us did. But only because we've been following the work of AC/DC's Cliff Williams all these years.

Nomeansno have stated in several interviews that they consider their live shows to be the real essence of the band. I read a quote recently that said something like, "If you like the songs on our records, come see us live to hear them played correctly." Having seen them on the Worldhood of the World tour, I can vouch for their monstrously asskicking concert skills. But hey, the albums are no slouch! What I'm getting to here is that Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy? was apparently the first NMN album to be entirely constructed in the studio, with none of the songs being tested live before recording and mixdown. I couldn't tell you what sort of effect this working manner actually had on the material, but I can tell you what I hear: a calmer, more repetitive, and less energetic Nomeansno. Some of the tracks hit loud screamy peaks, but the nervous energy of their other records is nowhere to be heard.

Essentially, the album sounds like the work of a duo, particularly with the guitar lines following the bass melodies so closely - almost as if they were both written and played by the same person! (for further research, please visit Black Flag's My War) However, this particular duo is comprised of two extremely talented and unpredictable songsmiths, so we're treated not only to the expected dark riffage of "Machine" and anthemic emote-rock (not emo-rock) of "The River" (whose churning rhythm so resembles an actual river that it's impossible not to mention it in a review), but also to some of the most optimistic-sounding melodies of their entire career! "The Land Of The Living" warns of conformist alienation against an unorthodox but warm, welcoming riff; "Happy Bridge" is exactly what it claims to be; "Slowly Melting" may be about the Earth burning as it nears the sun but you'd never know it by the catchy '70s pop/rock vibe and lovely gospel harmonies in the chorus; and "I Need You" pairs the most heavenly simple bass line you'll ever hear with a (gasp!) love lyric to a (choke!) woman that Rob evidently (hack!) loves and wants to spend his (*opens window; removes burnt popcorn from microwave*) life with.

That was hilarious, that bit about the popcorn. We're all really laughing about that over here at Comedy Central.

So what's up with the 7? What's up is that (a) "Machine" is a great song but not for eight redundant minutes, (b) most of "Madness And Death" consists of Rob speaking over a single note, and (c) the final two songs are among the worst Nomeansno compositions of all time. Okay, "Lullaby" is just pointless and boring, but "Cats, Sex and Nazis" is even rottener than "Ghosts" -- a painfully overlong tuneless funk-metal piece of jokey garbage shit with obvious 'I'm not a liar. Ha, that was a lie!' lyrics that sound like they were pulled from the back of a 10th grader's yearbook. There is absolutely no song in the entire Nomeansno catalog less deserving of the line "I'm so fucking smart." But there it is.

One last item -- do NOT purchase the LP version of this album. It's missing three songs, two of which are among the best tracks on the CD! Seriously, if you don't have "I Need You" and "Slowly Melting," you don't have Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy?. What on Earth were they thinking when they left them off the vinyl version!? Were they just trying to sink that format like a stone?

That simile was awesome.

Reader Comments

astrawn@firstam.com
I didn’t like this one at all at first, but it takes a few more listens to fully get it. The old NMN is there its just a little more subtle. But yes there are a few tracks that get skipped on this CD. Speaking of CD extra tracks NMN are tricky they like to keep you buying different formats. On this release there were CD only bonus tracks and then on Dance Of The Headless Bourgeoisie vinyl only bonus tracks, good ones too! Did you get the vinyl for Headless Mark? I haven’t read down that far yet….

v.babak@shaw.ca
Ha ! Very strange.... It's my favorite album of theirs. And you gave it quite a low rating. (was it on purpose to remain out of step with EVERYTHING?) Two people or three, but in my opinion Mr.Happy has some most catchiest/hypnotic and memorable songs No Means No has ever recorded : Machine, Kill Everyone Now, Cats, Sex & Nazis ( a song that you had the courage to call "rotten"...).

( and by the way : it's never too late, Mr. Prindle, - you actually gave Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed 10 (TEN!!!)points. I think it's another "on purpose thing". Just to irritate me and the other people. Make us see red. No way that album deserves 10. Deep in your subconscious you realize it. Let the truth come out. No Means No wasn't SO great at that time. I agree with the guy who wrote that he expected to see "Wrong" getting 10 points. It would be understandable.... I mean.... Small Parts could make about 6 or 7 points... but no more.

( as if he actually would listen to me :))) )

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
7? 7?! How dare you! In all seriousness, this is my favorite record of them all. With Andy's departure, they were able to recapture that dark mellowness from Mama and turn it into something more sinister, now that they're better at what they do. Instead of being about to fucking snap, they now sit in the shadows contently dwelling on past evil deeds and plotting new ones. And it flows so smoothly, moreso than any other NMN record. The songs themselves are all so chock-full of great melodies and harmonies that I don't know where to begin! But what sets this above the others for me is the overall tone of the record. So dark, but not necessarily gloomy. And the production makes Rob sound like and man older than he currently is (especially in "Machine"). It's hard for me to go through and pick out the individual greatnesses of the record, but that's because all those elements come together in total aural bliss.

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One Down And Two To Go (by Mr. Right & Mr. Wrong) - Wrong 1994
Rating = 7

"Mr. Right" is John Wright. "Mr. Wrong" is Rob Wright. Now that we're all clear on that, let's move on to the next record.

The Worldhood Of The World (As Such) found Nomeansno at a pivotal crossroad of OOF! (*is punched in the face with a shovel*)

In a bid to recapture the old punk spirit of OW! (*is knifed in the back with a vengeance*)

With a new guitarist fresh out of YAR! (*does hilarious pirate impression*)

See, even I don't find that amusing. This is what happens when you try to be funny even though you're depressed about the fact that you'll never have time to complete your fifth homemade CD-R. Synapses and pathways in my brain are currently DYING and BEING FILLED IN by my inability to work guitar playing into my busy American schedule. Did you know my Tae Kwon Do teacher has extended our two most mandatory classes (Sparring and Aerobic Kickboxing) from 55 minutes each to 2 and 2 1/2 hours respectively!? Who in God's Hell has that kind of time in their schedule after working their bones to the finger all day at the office just to bring my money home to you? Sorry baby.

But that's not all! I also made the healthy decision to take a day off from reviewing each weekend, in order to reduce my self-imposed obligation stress. But there's still this negative thought always swishling around in my bean - this thing that goes "Hay Mark, gotta update the site more often. People are gonna stop visiting if you don't update it once a week." But it already feels like nobody visits the site anymore anyway; I certainly only get a fraction of the daily reader comments I used to. Is anybody out there? I'm not trying to be self-pitying here; it's my own fault I chose a writing topic that automatically renders all my work irrelevant over the long run. But hey - in the short run it's all kinds of fung, right? SURE it is!

Back to my legendary unfinished fifth CD-R -- it's not even a matter of "Write fewer reviews and work on the CD-R instead" because I still wouldn't want to sacrifice my limited free time at night in order to figure out how to work this G-D- 16-track again and somehow complete all 50 half-songs I've got sitting on there. I don't even know if I'd continue to write record reviews if I had to do them at home every night like I used to. These days, I write almost all of my reviews at work! But I can't work on my CD-R at the office for Pete's ache; what would my boss think of my blue lyrics!?

Anyway, that's my story. Yeah, I tell stories and I'm made of cells. And they call me Cellman! I tell stories!

One Down And Two To Go is a collection of Rob and John solo-and-together material dating from three distinct periods: four of the songs are brand new; six date from the Mr. Happy time frame; and the remaining five pre-date Mama if you can believe THAT unexpectedness! Saving me the effort, the Wrights have kindly included a track listing 'by song type,' identifying four of the tracks as "White Boy Blues," three each "Pop Punk" and "Hardcore," two "Rock," and one each "Slow Ballad," "Prog Rock" and "Whatever."

Actually they didn't save me any effort at all, because I don't agree with hardly any of their 'song type' determinations! First of all, only one of the three 'Hardcore' tracks is in fact 'hardcore'; "Remember" is Ramones punk, and "Blinding Light" sounds like Motorhead! Since when is the clearly metallic Motorhead a 'hardcore' band? Ha ha! Come on, that's crazy! You'd have to be somebody unfamiliar with the tedious nuanced minutiae of punk/metal subgenre classification not to know that!

Secondly, 'White Boy Blues' is an awfully tight pigeonhole for four tracks that don't sound a bit like each other: "Sitting On Top Of The World" is Rob and his bass; "I'm Doing Well" is Rob, his acoustic guitar and a rain shower; "Who Fucked Who" is a fast, punky bass workout that happens to revolve around a basic blues progression; and "Pigs And Dogs" is the most exciting, crunchy and fuzzed-out take on the "I'm A Man" riff that I've ever heard! And that INCLUDES George Thoroughlygood's "Bad To The Bone"!

Thirdly, the two alleged 'Rock' songs aren't even part of the same musical universe. "Real Love" is a choppy-punk-funk take on the classic NMN epic, and "Burn" is a bombastic '70s Hard Rock God Dope-Smokin' Explosion. Whose idea was it to put these in the same category? A Chinese man named Sum Dum Asshole?

Fourthly, we've reached the three 'Pop Punk' tracks. (1) "More ICBMs" is NOT 'pop punk'. It rules complete ass, but since when does 'pop punk' sound like a jolly old-timey piano ball?? I'll tell you since when: since somebody foolishly handed Rob Wright the liner note typewriter! (2) "Canada Is Pissed" is somewhat poppy I suppose, but it seems much more imitative of '77-era British punk than Green Day or some SHIT. (3) "Victoria" is indeed 'pop punk,' but more importantly it's a hilarious rewrite of an old Kinks song! Have you heard The Fall? They're AWESOEM!

Fifthly, "Baldwang Must Die" is not 'Whatever.' -- it's 'Industrial.' More specifically, Throbbing Gristle industrial. With Residents vocals.

However, I wholeheartedly agree that "Widget," though noisy, definitely has a 'Prog Rock' feel to it. And 'This Wound Will Never Heal' is certainly a 'Slow Ballad' if that's what you're looking for.

(Yeah, more like a 'Slow BASS Ballad' if you ask me)

But the real question is of course "Is this fuck any assing good?" The answer is "Yes, much of the material is of surprisingly high quality." About half of the songs are in fact aggressive, melodic and novel enough to fit in perfectly on any 'real' Nomeansno album. And the other half aren't so much bad as just 'underwritten' or 'Rob playing his bass for six goddamned minutes.'

Unincluded tracks include "Ya Little Creep," "Getting Colder" and covers of "12XU," "Glad All Over," "I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement," "Surfin' Bird" and "The End Of The World." So don't look for those, because they're not on here.

Reader Comments

spiring@comhem.se
Hi Mark, I'm definitely out here - eagerly awaiting updates. And I was very pleased to see one of my favourite bands (together with maybe 75 others) being reviewed this time. Also, I mostly agree with your NMN ratings; I would give both "Dance of the headless bourgeoisie" and "Ausfahrt" an 8, but otherwise you're mostly spot on.

You haven't received many reader comments from me, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to write them - it's just that there's so much to comment on, so I don't know where to start. And mostly I don?t feel that I would add anything important. Still, I love your reviews (and interviews) - especially the ones you've written after your "return", starting with Zappa if I remember correctly. Hilariously funny, but without sacrificing the actual reviewing. I would be very disappointed if you suddenly stopped... (enough ass-kissing for now, don't you think?)

I really, really hope that you get to interview NMN.

narantxa
of course we're still here
we just don't feel like commenting everything

i generally agree with the ratings but i'm surprised by your dislike of "cats sex and nazis". how can anyone not like that song? or maybe that was a lie too? *plays deep purple riff*

astrawn@firstam.com
Nice review of the liner notes. Why isn’t “Ya Little Creep” on here? I never thought of that before. The Hanson Brothers track kicks serious buttocks. There are some really good songs on this compilation, there are some that I always skip too, but overall its really good.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
You forgot to include the lack of inclusion of the song "No Means No," a bass-and-drums pogo-funk song from their Mama days. Left-out songs aside, what we have here is a collections of songs (mostly good, a couple of duds) with no flow to them whatsoever. Ah well, shit like that tends to happen with loose-ends collections.

Add your thoughts?


The Worldhood Of The World (As Such) - Alternative Tentacles 1995
Rating = 9

You know that old philosophical question, "If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"? Well apparently, it literally doesn't make a sound. You probably learned this in first grade but I went to school in Georgia. See, apparently in literal reality truth, all a falling tree does is create vibrating waves. It's not until these waves hit a receiver that interprets and converts them into 'sound' that this 'sound' can be said to exist. Until that point, it's just these silent waves going "Whee!" all silently up and down the woods. In people, this 'wave interpreter into sound thingy' is these fuckin' hairs in your ear or some shit. They vibrate all willy-nilly and you're like, "Dude." A tape recorder does it a different way; I'm not sure what that's about unless they make tape recorders with hairy ears. At any rate, do you understand what I'm getting at here? I'm telling you that we are living in a physical reality where if Tori Amos records an album and nobody is around to hear it, it doesn't suck.

After the complete artistic failure of (the last two songs on) Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy?, The Wright Twins (not really) came to their senses and realized that nobody wants a power duo. Their inspired solution to this dilemma was to turn to the guy next to them in the Hanson Brothers and go, "Hey, you play the guitar, right?" And Mr. Tom Holliston has been their official axeman ever since!

Even more so than Wrong, The Worldhood Of The World (As Such) is Nomeansno's "ROCK" album. These songs are almost exclusively Hard, Loud, Punky, Hooky, Pissed, Energetic, Guitar-Driven NOMEANSNO ROCK. And I use that phrasing because Nomeansno Rock is not quite like the Rock you might hear from your Tom, Dick and Harry bands on the TV. Yes, it's loud, brash, orange and shouty, but it's also full of jarring rhythmic patterns, confusing stylistic juxtaposition, and.... bass solos. Almost every song consists of several different sections (usually in entirely different styles) that are spliced together in such a non-intuitive manner that I'd swear the band just had too many parts written and decided to slam them all together into 3-minute units rather than developing each one into a song that makes any structural sense at all. Luckily, they're still catchy!

A few quick examples: "Wiggly Worm" and "I've Got A Gun" both begin as exuberant, gleeful punk assaults before almost IMMEDIATELY switching to a whiplash-inducing "Every Instrument Plays At The Exact Same Rhythm As The Vocals" verse; "Humans" sounds like the greatest Cheap Trick song ever written until a couple minutes in when the entire timbre of the song switches to a goofy new wave section about monkeys; and best of all, "My Politics" in six short minutes transforms from a gorgeous hard rock anthem into an ugly two-chord trudge into a disco wah-wah guitar break into high speed hardcore punk into ska - for no reason!

Mr. Holliston has a radically different guitar style than his predecessor, which really helps this record pound your ass-kicking rock and roll butt in. In contrast to Kerr's piercing ear-needles of trebly punishment, Tom uses a more traditional fuzzed-out thick brash rock tone. Futhermore, although he's fine at adding little lead lines to Rob's bass melodies, he's also not adverse to just kicking out your jams with loud, speedy bar chords.

Let's get back to the word 'hooky' though. These songs - whether punk guitaring you speedily, bass melodicizin' you poppily, drum math-rocking you herkily-jerkily, or splattering metallic anger bile on your family - have gigantic melodic hooks (both musical and vocal) just waiting to pour some happy sugar into your mind and soul. Not only that, but they're also chockity-full of group harmony vocals! This will help you get over the fact that, with Andy's departure, Rob pretty much sings every song now. With his big barrel-chested friendly charismatic sing-speak voice.

Here, let me start yet another new paragraph without bothering to think up a segue. I would be remiss to not point out that two of these thirteen great tracks fall entirely outside of the 'rock' genre: "Predators" is hilarious, catchy swing jazz about how our modern food industry allows meat-eaters to deny their predatorial nature, even to themselves ("I have no blood on my hands; I have blood on my teeth"); and album-closer "The Jungle" is a lovely, relaxed tribal ceremony among the peaceful natives. Until Tom turns his amp up to like 5 billion about four minutes in.

Subject matter includes pain, failure, fear, desperation, boredom, hate, cowardice, resentment, denial, and the (possibly?) redemptive nature of artistic expression. Put more succinctly, subject matter includes life as a human being.

I suppose it's possible that the Hanson Brothers' drummer accompanies John on this release, but since the band credits read "NoMeansNo consists of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, strained larynxes and some guy," I guess we'll never know.

Say - you know what writing cliche I found myself annoyed by this morning? "For good measure." Like if I were to write "This album features 11 hot rock anthems, as well as 2 non-rock tunes for good measure." What is that even supposed to refer to? "For good measure"? You mean the record is "measured" "gooder" because it has 2 non-rock tunes on it? No, I'll tell you what it means -- it means the author COULDN'T THINK OF A WAY TO END HIS GODDAMNED SENTENCE!!!!

Not that all authors are male. But if I had written 'her' there, that'd be pretty misogynist, wouldn't it? See, nobody appreciates the sensitivity I put into every word I type.

Well, not "breathing sperm toilet that won't shut up." But all the others.

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Now here's an album that just jumps right out of your speakers and grabs you by the nuts and doesn't let go until the final track. I love the Hansons and the Show Biz Giants as well, so I was quite pleased to see Tom Holliston officially join the Nomeansno ranks - no slight intended to Andy Kerr though, it's just a different kind of rocking from here on out. A bit more "down to earth", or "mature", if you will. But LOUD and ROCKIN like no other release apart from "Wrong".

When pressed, I have to say that this is my favorite Nomeansno album. It really is the only one I absolutely love from start to finish. In fact, the only downer is "The Jungle", which is kind of a weak way to close the album, given the cathartic onslaught that comprises the preceding songs.

Other comments:
"Joy" - this short burst of positive sound is essentially "getting a boner" in song form

"Humans" - a prog-pop masterpiece, and John Wright gets a rare chance to show off his pipes

"Angel or Devil" - one of the most fun NMN songs ever. I love how the bass follows the fast vocal melody in the verses (or is it vice versa?). Try singing along OR playing along to this one! I dare you!

"He Learned How to Bleed" - Very abrasive, but all the better for it, with one of the more original chord progressions I've heard in a while.

"I've Got a Gun" - Every Nomeansno album should have at least one fast and simple punker, and this one has at least two, of which this is the best. Another example of rhythmic unison by the whole ensemble, but with a great payoff in the chorus.

"My Politics" - Typical NMN dense prog-punk, but a very fine example nonetheless. Rob growling "This is it! My Politics!" is just loaded with vim, bile, and sarcasm.

"Lost" - Wow. Is it true this was a CD-only track? Between this and "Slowly Melting", they sure have a warped idea of what constitutes "filler". This is a career highlight and probably the best song on the album.

"Predators" - one of the weaker tracks, but still damn good. The swinging rhythm lends it a "George of the Jungle" sort of feel which fits the animalistic subject matter well.

"Wiggly Worm" - what is making that wiggling sound? sounds almost like a bass playing Van Halen-esque hammer-ons, fed through a phaser. Maybe it really is a worm. This is another fun one to sing along to. Remember, they say "wiggly" nine times before they say "worm".

"Tuck it Away" - Basic Hanson Brothers style punk. John Wright on vocals again! Nothing amazing, but I never turn away the fast ones.

"Victim's Choice" - I still can't figure this one out, and that's a compliment. It looks like it's supposed to be another basic punk song at first, but then it goes through so many shifts and changes that you forget how it started. Baffling.

"State of Grace" - ANOTHER career highlight. Mark speaks of the Nomeansno tradition of the "impossibly emotional and hypnotic song of great import", and I think this song is the single finest example of that species. Gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

"The Jungle" - Whatever. I have all I need already.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
I have an anecdote attatched to this album. I live in a town where, despite it's thriving underground music scene, there are maybe 10 people who know Nomeansno. And long before I knew who these guys were, I remember seeing this one dude who'd always be seen around the local independent video store (employee? video store rat? who knows?) that would occaisionally wear a blue t-shirt with this album's cover on the front. That picture on his shirt always struck me as rather odd and slightly disturbing, and yet I was drawn to it, for some reason. Now that I know the truth behind the shirt, everything makes sense. When I first heard this record, I was a little put-off by how it wasn't as off-kilter as what I'd heard up to that point. But it eventually grew on me. I just didn't have enough of an understanding for power-pop to truly appreciate this record, and it was thanks to this that I now have a taste for the sub-genre. Still full of the musical cacophony and sharp left turns you'll find on any of their other records, their take on said style really was the most logical way for them to assimilate Tome Holliston into the band. And it's no surprise that these guys have the chops needed to pull something like this off without sounding boring. And "My Politics," for all it's epic twists and turns, and "Victim's Choice," for all it's spastic twists and turns, both show how amazing this band is at fusing riffs together and making them work.

Add your thoughts?


0 + 2 = 1 1/2 - Download 2010
Rating = 7

BOOK PROPOSAL

Paper Beats Rock:
A Confused, Profane, and Off-Topic Guide to Nomeansno's O + 2 = 1 1/2 Download

by
Beloved Online Rock Critic
Mark Prindle

PROPOSAL CONTENTS

Overview
Endorsements
About the Book
About the Market
Comparable Books
Table of Contents
Promotion and Marketing
About the Author
Production Specifications
Unsolicited Praise
Sample Chapter

OVERVIEW

The past few years have seen a significant interest in (and celebration of) the lifestyle and personality of the “gonzo” music journalist/record collector geek. At the box office, High Fidelity and Almost Famous grossed $27 million and $32 million respectively by appealing to teens and young adults who related perfectly to the rock-obsessed lead characters. In book stores, new compilations have introduced Generation Y’ers to classic unconventional rock critics from the ‘70s like Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer and Nick Tosches who introduced a previously-unheard-of charisma and attitude to the medium.

But one significant factor is missing: a new voice. Bangs passed away decades ago, Meltzer and Tosches both tired of music journalism around the same time, and the most prominent modern music writers are semi-fans like Neal Pollack and Chuck Klosterman who use music only as a secondary element in their narcissistic postmodern essays. Why are there no present-day writers that are able to combine witty, original writing with intelligent music critique?

Well, there is at least one, although he’s been operating mainly underground (and online) for the last eight years. Nevertheless, as thousands of regular readers can testify, Mark Prindle (www.markprindle.com) brings an idiosyncratic, off-kilter approach to music critique that delivers all the enthusiasm, insight and humor of “the greats” while maintaining an individual and inimitable style all its own. Ridiculous non sequiturs, unforgivably profane one-liners, drunken social commentary, strange anecdotes, complete lies – all of these find a place in Prindle’s technique, yet do so without interfering with the topic at hand: Is the album any good?

Paper Beats Rock brings crudeness, absurdity and a personal blog-style feel to a review of 1 obscure download by Nomeansno. The result is that rarest of creations: the reference book that buyers will read from beginning to end.

ENDORSEMENTS

I can secure endorsements from any of the following musicians, who have expressed enthusiasm for my writing:

Colin Abrahall (GBH)
"Metal Mike" Saunders (Angry Samoans)
Paul McLoone (The Undertones)
Mike Morasky (Steel Pole Bathtub)
Chris Anderson (40 Grit)
Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys)
Kevin Rutmanis (Nobody, anymore)
Henry Rollins (Famous Celebrity)
Attack Attack!! and its fan base

In addition, to give you a feel for the sort of “buzz” I have created for my writing over the past eight years, Attachment I features more than 50 rave reviews of www.markprindle.com that I found through a recent web engine search.

ABOUT THE BOOK

As helpful as they are, record guides issued by companies like Trouser Press, MusicHound, All Music Guide and Rolling Stone have two major drawbacks. The first is that they are presented as objective guides, yet are comprised of reviews by several different critics, each with their own subjective opinions on what constitutes “good music.” It is nearly impossible for a reader to say, “I like X, therefore I should like Y,” because the reviews of X and Y are so often penned by two reviewers with radically opposed viewpoints. After all, one man’s “exciting punk energy” is another man’s “tired Ramones retreads.”

Paper Beats Rock represents the subjective view of one person. Through my review of Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2, I will make it clear that I own tens of thousands of albums, am familiar with the many subgenres that make up the whole of rock music, and have developed my own musical tastes free of critical pressure. This approach will allow readers to make an educated decision about whether or not to spend 90 seconds downloading a free copy of Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 from their web site.

The second problem with traditional record review guides is that the straightforward and arguably bland critiques are not conducive to front-to-back reading enjoyment. This, I suspect, leads many prospective buyers to simply read the entries for their favorite bands while in the bookstore, rather than purchasing the book for a full perusal at home. In contrast, Paper Beats Rock will use a witty, stream-of-consciousness writing style to draw in the curious reader and hold his/her attention regardless of the band ostensibly being discussed (Nomeansno) (specifically their 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download).

The mechanics of the book are simple. The title of Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download is listed, along with the word 'Download' and year released. The record then receives a number grade between 1 (worthless) and 10 (perfect) -- specifically, a 7 (good). Most of the book is text-only, aside from the record album icons that make up my rating scale.

Possible Value Adds

- Mark Prindle’s Stop Drop And Roll: The History of Rock Music CD, featuring my own original parodies/interpretations of 55 different rock genres in chronological order

– CD featuring 15-second samples of every song on Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download

ABOUT THE MARKET

With Rolling Stone maintaining its whopping 1.25 million circulation and youth-oriented contenders like Spin, Blender and Alternative Press boasting readerships in the hundreds of thousands, it’s safe to assume that many rockers like to read, and vice versa. Moreover, record guides themselves have often proven to be strong sellers, as evidenced by the success of the Trouser Press Record Guide (currently in its fifth edition), All Music Guide (in its third edition) and Rough Guide to Rock (also in its third edition). With radio playlists now mostly controlled by corporations and driven by ad dollars, curious music fans must turn to guides like these if they hope to find alternatives to the interchangeable, lowest-common-denominator music that rules the airwaves.

By bringing an Onion-esque sense of humor to the world of rock music, Paper Beats Rock is the perfect vehicle to appeal to 18- to 36-year-old rock music fans. The success of my formula is demonstrated daily by the constant stream of positive feedback I receive through www.markprindle.com. For fourteen years, I have received an average of three emails a week from readers, either to comment on albums I have reviewed or to tell me how much they enjoy my writing. My readers appreciate both my impassioned music critique and the abstract humor that is strewn throughout. So I'm sure they'll like reading 800 pages about a download.

COMPARABLE BOOKS

Paper Beats Rock will appeal to readers of the following books:

A Whore Just Like the Rest: The Music Writings of Richard Meltzer and Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader. Though Paper Beats Rock will share the wit and off-the-cuff writing style of these anthologies, it will not be a random collection of unrelated music writing, but a practical record guide for the collector of the Nomeansno download 0 + 2 = 1 1/2.

Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe by Chuck Eddy and The Worst Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time by Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell. My book will share the ludicrously opinionated slant of these books, but on a much more specific scale than the absolute “best” or “worst” of any particular musical genre. Instead, it will be about a download.

The Trouser Press Guide to ‘90s Rock edited by Ira Robbins; Rock: The Rough Guide edited by Jonathan Buckley and Mark Ellingham; Music Hound’s Essential Rock Album Guide edited by Gary Graff; Rolling Stone Album Guide edited by Anthony DeCurtis and James Henke; Spin Alternative Record Guide edited by Eric Weisbard; and All Music Guide to Rock edited by Michael Erlewine. These traditional record guides are great reference sources, but all suffer from the two problems I expressed in the “About this Book” section above: reviews divided up between numerous critics with wildly differing tastes, and dull, straightforward writing. Also, they're not just about a download.

The Collectors’ Guide to Heavy Metal by Martin Popoff and Robert Christgau’s trilogy, Rock Albums of the ‘70s, The ‘80s and Albums of the ‘90s. These are the books that are most similar to mine, in that they all serve as functional record review guides that proudly feature the subjective views of only one critic. Paper Beats Rock will distinguish itself from Popoff’s book by studying a single download rather than an entire genre, and from Christgau’s trilogy by reviewing the entire download in one book, rather than forcing readers to buy multiple volumes to get the whole story. My writing is also, of course, quite a bit more bizarre and obscene than that of Popoff and Christgau.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Preface: About Mark Prindle and Markprindle.com

II. Review of Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 Download

III. Appendix: Post-Script About Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 Download

PROMOTION AND MARKETING

I could handle all media relations outreach for the book, provided the publisher makes review copies available for interested press. As I live in NYC, I could also easily arrange and conduct a press tour to interested music, literary and consumer press outlets.

I have appeared on Fox News' Red Eye program more than a dozen times, and am very comfortable on the air. I would be happy to take part in any speaking panels or broadcast/print interviews regarding the book or my attitude towards Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download.

Because of the subject matter, rock radio stations would likely be interested in receiving copies of the book for giveaways. I would be happy to contact the promotional departments of top radio stations in key markets to pitch the idea.

I would also obviously be able to promote the book through my own popular web site, promoting sales to those thousands of fans who are constantly sending me emails asking my opinion of Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rock and roll music has been the driving force of my life for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I’m not particularly proud of this fact. I realize that rock is basically a throwaway form of fluff entertainment rather than the live-or-die spiritual force to which Bruce Springsteen fans cling like a substitute Jesus. However, truth be told, I’d be bored to tears without my fifty bajillion albums.

I grew up in the ‘70s listening to my father’s old singles from the ‘60s – not just the Kinks, Rolling Stones and Beatles, but all sorts of one-hit wonders like the Hombres, the Choir and the Electric Prunes that were mostly ignored during their time but celebrated years later by young fans of Rhino’s Nuggets archaeological CD series. My record reviewing career began at age 15, when I started contributing unbearably average reviews to my high school newspaper The Pony Express. Years later, fair-weathered friends would laugh up a blue streak at the memory of early Prindle pen-stabbings like “David Gilmour shines in his blues-influenced solos” (from my rave review of Pink Floyd’s embarrassing latter-day live release The Delicate Sound of Thunder).

As much as I abhor the idea of people mistaking their personal musical tastes as important critical thought, I’ve always loved talking about music. As such, I naturally gravitated towards an irreverent reviewing approach that continues to drive my writing to this day: (a) describe the music as adequately as words will allow, (b) make a bunch of inscrutable, grotesque jokes and (c) allow for no separation between the music and whatever happens to be going on in my life at the time I write the review. This attitude has served me well, attracting a markprindle.com fan base of quite literally thousands of readers who visit my site on a weekly basis for musical insight and peculiar non sequiturs.

In an attempt to expand into the off-line world, I have recently begun contributing to a number of print magazines and punk zines across North America, including Spin, YRB, New York Waste, California Pop, L.A. Citizine, Caustic Truths, Spark, Rant and Dirt Culture. I have also written for several other web sites including Supertrash, Touching Cloth, Zentertainment, Punkhardcore.com, Rocks In The Head, Sound the Sirens, Prick, Waste Of Mind, Stylus, the Raptorial and Perfect Pitch Online. As a result, I am recognized as a professional critic in the annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop Survey, an honor bestowed upon a mere 500,000 individuals.

As further testament to my off-line crossover appeal, my work has appeared or been cited in the recent books Lost In The Grooves: Scram’s Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed (Routledge), Hey Ho Let’s Go: The Story of the Ramones (Omnibus Press), Hip Priest: The Story of Mark E. Smith and The Fall (Quartet), Melvins: Neither Here Nor There (Ipecac), Enter Naomi: SST, L.A. and All That… (Redoubt), Perfect Sound Forever: The Story of Pavement (Justin, Charles & Co), The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists (Jawbone), Heavy Metal Music in Britain (Ashgate), Studies in Language and Cognition (Cambridge Scholars), and Criticises: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases (ICON), as well as in liner notes of The Fall’s Box Set 1976-2007 (Castle) and Zip Code Rapists’ Sing and Play ‘The Three Doctors’ CD (Eabla).

Most importantly of all, I own Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download.

PRODUCTION SPECIFICATIONS

I envision Paper Beats Rock as an 800-page, $89.99 textbook with dimensions (in inches) 1.25 x 507.25 x 0.1. I would like to include 5-10 photographs of my dog if possible. Otherwise, just text and my “7” grading symbol. The book can be delivered within three to six months time.

UNSOLICITED PRAISE

[cold][wet][durham] - http://www.coldclimate.co.uk/blog/ - Mark Prindle is possibly the greatest music journalist ever, despite the fact that the two times that I have bought albums on his recommendation they have been shite.

100.7, The Fox - http://www.kkrq.com/brad.html - A no-holds-barred music critic.

Adrian’s Album Reviews - http://www.adriandenning.com/sites.html - Wanna have a laugh? Prindle will make you laugh. Ok, so the humour may not be to everybody’s taste, but then, I've yet to find somebody who didn't find something here entertaining. The reviews themselves as far as they discuss music can contain very astute observations, before they go off and make you laugh out loud. Writing about music and making it funny is a hard thing to do - Mark does it seemingly effortlessly, and as the sheer size of his site demonstrates - relentlessly as well. He does go off at tangents sometimes, but those tangents are why we love him so!

Agenbyte - http://agenbyte.com - Mark Prindle writes the most incisive album reviews ever. Well, the most entertaining anyway.

Alternative Rock Review - http://www.entertainment.inuk.com/music/links.html - Out of the numerous album review sites on the web, it's Prindle's in-depth page that is probably the most well known. And with good reason. The sheer content and frequent knob jokes will make you go back for more.

Andrew’s Anal Retentive Attention To Detail - http://comicartoon.50megs.com/links.html - Mark reviews records, but he definitely isn't what you're expecting. A lot of his reviews are littered with gratuitous, perverse humor, but his album-analyzing skills are often underrated. If you find the humor off-putting, that's a shame.

Art of the Mix - http://www.artofthemix.org/aotmcommunity/profileFav.asp?intMemberID=1695 - For the record, Mark Prindle is obviously an arrogant bastard but he's also occasionally funny as all hell.

Blastitude Winter 2002/2003 - http://www.blastitude.com/14/pg10.htm - See, this is why I don’t even bother writing about music most of the time on here. Prindle’s got shit under control. And he is funny as hell.

Blastitude Summer 2003 - http://www.blastitude.com/15/pg6.htm Queequeg gave you this link last ish but that was months ago so here it is again in case you didn't click on it. Mark Prindle rules. The interview archive is almost as good as the review archive.

Brad’s Completely Useless Record Reviews - http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~bholmes/links.html - I’m not ashamed to admit that I probably rip off roughly 99% of my writing style from this guy. This is a massive site, tons of bands reviewed, and his reviews are short, but utterly hilarious. Go here before anywhere else.

CapnMarvel - http://www.capnmusic.org/links.htm - Mark's site is not only one of the first, one of the biggest, it's by far the funniest and best rock 'n' roll record review site I've ever found. It's the site that inspired me to try to start up my own review page. And, Mark's OCD forces him to collect everything by an artist, while my extreme laziness and financial retarditude frequently leaves my artist reviews with a hole here and there. What are you waiting for? Get on over to Mark's page already! I'm just a shameful pretender to Mark's throne! I'm a fraud! AAAAGH!

Captain Asshole - http://wso.williams.edu:8000/~mking/reviews/indexframe2.html - A major, major influence and still the best rock reviews site on the internet.

CosmicBen - http://members.aol.com/cosmicben/page/links.htm - Mark Prindle is the best writer reviewing music on the internet. His reviews are zany stream-of-consciousness rants that sometimes even deal with the album at hand, and he has an incredibly easygoing, readable style, no matter how many semi-words and obscenities are sprinkled throughout. Prindle's critical facility has been underrated, mostly because he's seen as "the funny one." The truth is that there is a serious tone underneath all of his reviews, and he's really trying to figure out how good the albums are. The fully reviewed discographies for each band he reviews is just one indicator of his commitment to more than just being wacky. This is one of the best sites out there -- check it out.

Diary of a Popacalypse - http://gmslegion.00page.com/diary0501.html - His work is incredibly offensive, over-the-top, immature, and full of extreme statements. Depending on what side of the bed he awoke, Iggy Pop's "Turn Blue" is "the worst song that any human being has ever recorded," but that song shares the distinction with dozens of others. It's total anarchic freedom of expression and funnier than hell.

Diaryland - http://members.diaryland.com/edit/profile.phtml?user=doorag - My favorite authors: Louis-Ferdinand Celine Richard Meltzer P.G Wodehouse Donald Barthelme Mark Prindle

Disclaimer - http://www.disclaimerband.com/musiclinks.html - The most notoriously stylized review site on the Net, and also the funniest. Prindle reviews lots of hardcore, punk, and classic rock with some other stuff thrown in, and his reviews are well-written and very informed... when he actually writes about the bands. Writing in a stream-of-consciousness style that does not preclude sharing lengthy personal anecdotes, unleashing torrential streams of profanity, or descending into several paragraphs' worth of self-referential gibberish, Prindle gets a lot of flak for being somehow "offensive" or "vulgar," but don't fall for it. Like Beavis and Butt-Head, Ween, or South Park, Prindle does set out to offend, but it's never just for the sake of offensiveness; there's often some really sharp social commentary buried within his hilariously inappropriate rants. He's actually a very nice guy who loves puppies. Check him out.

Eclectric - http://www.eclectric.org/links.html - some ass-hole. /jk

Epinions - http://www.epinions.com/user-strango - One of the best resources on the 'net for album reviews of various genres. And it's funny, too.

Eraser - http://www.eraseronline.com/mlink.html – The Original Opinionated Reviewer

Freebase Accordion - http://www.manson88.freeserve.co.uk/Linksmusic.htm - Psychotically inclusive.

Funkulence - http://userpages.umbc.edu/~jodonn1/funklinks.htm - He writes record reviews that are hilarious, yet maintain their credibility.

Fyfeopedia - http://fyfe.fusion.net.nz/Links.htm - Mark Prindle likes to put lots of obnoxious jokes in his reviews, which often horrify me. Despite this, his reviews are comprehensive and balanced.

Genki-Web.net - http://www.genki-web.net/reviews/Shad/Awards.htm - I keep meaning to write some record reviews (maybe in the vein of Mark Prindle, my idol whose site [www.markprindle.com] I urge anyone to check out), but I've been pretty well-occupied.

Gonkulator Reviews Music - http://wso.williams.edu/~mking/reviews/dictator.html - I'm a lousy copy of the great Mark Prindle.

The Gline - http://www.thegline.com/dvd-of-the-week/2003/01-04-2003.htm - With love and respect to Mark Prindle and Lester Bangs.

Greg Mohler - http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~greggo/hotlist.html - By turns disturbing and hysterical writing style (often in the same sentence) that I will not attempt to imitate.

Guess Who Fans - http://www.guesswhofans.com/ - Colorful, funny, witty reviews. I really enjoy reading these reviews.

Insound - http://www.insound.com/regulars2/comments.cfm?rnews_id=45 - Obsessive/Compulsive reviewer who can piss you off and make you feel sorry for him in the same paragraph.

Instant Edification - http://edifyme.esmartweb.com/album_page.htm - If you are looking for a review of a particular album, www.markprindle.com should be your first port of call.

Jack Feeny’s CD Archive - http://jackfeeny.tripod.com/links.htm - Prindle's site is certainly the wittiest of the sites. I do admire the fact he gave Miles Ahead 2 out of 10.

John McFerrin’s Reviews of Music - http://www.angelfire.com/rock2/johntalksrock/credits.htm - Eeek. I don't think anybody can possibly overstate the importance this man and his site have had for me. Thank you for providing a one-stop introduction to so many artists I had heard of but hadn't the foggiest bit of knowledge about. Thank you for introducing me to the world of online interactive reviewing. Thank you for a humorous and candid writing style that brought me back again and again even when it got to the point that I started to have the reviews virtually memorized. Thank you for being able to write in such a way as to both stimulate others to chime in with intelligent thoughts and to simply entertain all at once.

Life Is Bonkers! - http://www.lifeisbonkers.com/main.html - Famous Internet music guru.

Loki 2.0- http://www.robinzing.com/loki/moozik.html - Simply put, Mark Prindle is The Man. Not only does he have an even MORE diverse taste in music than I do, his reviews are usually pretty fucking funny. It's obvious he loves rock n' roll in all forms, and that is very admirable. My hat's off to the man!

Madchester - http://www.fortunecity.co.uk/madchester/metal/548/links.html - One of the more well known sites that has been around for a while, and also one of the biggest.

Matador Records Bulletin Board - http://www.matadorrecords.com/forums/showthread.php?s=9601e27c8b05632182c9a55dfbe6f329&threadid=800 - The only music reviews on the internet that don't make me wanna go Amish are by Mark Prindle and Julian Cope.

Matt’s WebPage - http://www.duke.edu/~mcb9/Link%20Folder/ - Mark Prindle without a doubt writes the funniest rock reviews on the web. He's not always right, nor does he always even talk about the album he's reviewing...but always entertaining.

Ministry Board – http://www.prongs.org/minfiles/talk/viewthread.php3?TID=851 - My favorite asshole music critic.

Mr. Rench - http://home.xnet.com/~drench/enjoy.html - Mark Prindle has the most informative and entertaining record review site in existence, even if he does find merit in the musics of Bruce Springsteen and Bad Company.

Music Junkies Anonymous - http://www.geocities.com/mjareviews/ - In my opinion, the only web reviewer that is able to master brief reviewing while at the same time offering a good picture of the album and keeping you entertained is Mark Prindle. This is arguably the most notorious of all the personal web-reviewing sites out there, and for good reason. Prindle has an effortlessly hilarious over-the-top style (even if it can get a bit excessively offensive at points) that merges well with his descriptions of the music he reviews. In perhaps the most infamous portrait of interactive reviewing ever, Mark Prindle was verbally abused and even given a few death threats from 100 AC/DC fans for the heinous crime of (*GASP*) giving a low score to the band's Ballbreaker album. A must visit if you haven't already.

Nick’s Thrash Zone - http://www.bol.ucla.edu/~ndurazo/Links.html - Hilarious yet informative reviews of lots of types of music.

Nintendo Review Archive - http://nra.hypermart.net/links.htm - Yeah, I know it's a completely irrelevant site. Prindle's got the best music reviews around though, so I thought it was worth an inclusion.

Norfolk Windmills - http://www.norfolkwindmills.com/duanezarakov.html - "What sites do you visit?” ILM/ILE, Mark Prindle, not many "regular" attendances of things other than that

Obscurity! - http://jhendrix110.tripod.com/Scale.html - Entertaining above all else, but Prindle does go for an honest gut reaction to the music. Those offended by "dumb humor" and bad words should stay away. Entertaining is the key word here.

Official Fall Web Site - http://www.visi.com/fall/news/020920.html - There's an excellent, self-deprecating 1994 interview with MES on the brilliant Mark Prindle Reviews site.

Popshots Dot Org - http://www.popshots.org/archive/2002_07.html - I read writings by folks like Glenn McDonald and Mark Prindle, entertained and amazed by their passion and their literacy (a questionable conceit, in Prindle's case).

PowerPop! - http://home.clara.co.uk/fil/home.htm - Mark Prindle's irreverent album reviews are completely unlike any other on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter. He shows no regard for his audience or his subject - ergo totally refreshing reading.

Ramones Online - http://www.ramonesonline.com/links.htm - Highly recommended. It features well written, in-depth reviews.

Replicator - http://home.earthlink.net/~replicator5000/links.html - What can be said about Prindle, he's hilarious, sophomoric, and knows his music; Prindle is the real allmusic guide!

RmMistica - http://koti.mbnet.fi/~jadelor/link.html - This guy's a bit of a musician, and a hard bastard of a music reviewer. And pretty critical, obviously. But note that the reviews employ some kind of an entirely new technique for making them look like.. uh, well not like reviews. Don't bother if you're stupid.

Rock Is Dead – Long Live Rock - http://www.angelfire.com/ab/reviews/links.html - Mark Prindle is an insane genius. It doesn't matter whether he's reviewing one of your favourite bands or the Cows, Mark always entertains. It really doesn't matter that his opinions are somewhat questionable, all the seemingly senseless profanity and off-topic rants will keep you glued for hours.

Scoresheet - http://www.scoresheet.net/community/links.htm - Ahh, Mark Prindle. The most controversial phenomenon to ever hit Internet fan reviews. Readers decry his vulgar, fragmented style, his unabashed passion for punk rock, and his offensively opinionated views. But Prindle is unquestionably the most laugh-out-loud hilarious music critic the Net has ever known, and he usually gives sound purchasing advice on classic albums. In short, the best rock music site on the Internet.

Scott Floman Reviews - http://www.geocities.com/sfloman/links.html - One of the first review sites out there, and still one of the most entertaining. Mark's greatest attributes are his sense of humor (the guy's legitimately funny), his eclectic taste, and the fact that he's not generally swayed by popular opinion (i.e. these are truly his opinions, not Rolling Stone's). Mark's a true original, and his reviews are always worth reading.

Shek’s Music Journal - http://www.livejournal.com/users/shekb/2001/07/10/ - Everyone's favorite obsessive-compulsive internet rock critic

Sparkling River Community - http://community.sparklingriver.com/links.php - Mark Prindle is one of the most interesting and unique reviewers out on the internet today.

Steve and Abe’s Record Reviews - http://www.angelfire.com/mi4/steveandabe/links.html - Mark Prindle has two great things going for him: he's very thorough (almost every band he reviews is covered for its entire career) and he's comprehensive, covering all sorts of terrible music that I don't touch (hardcore punk especially) as well as more palatable stuff. What's more, he's very generous with his ratings, but can be relied on to separate the wheat from the chaff within his reviews; a generally reliable guide to the best and worst a particular artist has to offer. Be warned, though: curse words appear with alarming frequency.

Tangento - http://www.tangento.iwarp.com/linkpage.html - The Greatest Rock Critic on Planet Earth.

ToT - http://www.timothompson.com/archive/comments/2002_04_01_default.htm - The funniest and most honest music reviewer I've read in a while.

Turk’s Head Review - http://www.turksheadreview.com/threads/kitsch.html - Raunchy, funny reviews.

The Ultimate Insult - http://www.ultimateinsult.net/archives/week_2003_07_13.html - I've been having way too much fun browsing through Mark Prindle's music reviews. His interviews are good as well

Various Reviews By Bryan B. - http://starling.rinet.ru/music/bvarious.htm#Mark - I know I'm not as good as Mark...his reviews are the most entertaining that I have ever read. Mark is the real eclecticist. He digs everything from sissy folk to hardcore punk and is able to distinguish between good and bad in every genre, even if what's good to him may not always seem good to you, and vice versa. Needless to say, the reviews are mostly fascinating, funny and quite intelligent, even though the writing style is sometimes a bit obscene (you won't have any problem with that if you like Zappa's Joe's Garage, though). I've never laughed so much throughout all of my Web seances. He's a great writer! 10 stars out of 10.

Victims Family - http://www.victimsfamily.com/links.html - Mark Prindle uses 'vulva' as an adverb.

Vinnie Apicella - http://www.columbia.edu/~va85/links.html - Here's a guy with the guts to put out his own web site of extensive reviews, interviews, wise-cracks and a definite affinity for the underground. We could all learn something from this veteran authorial wunderkind who actually makes his own calls!

Webchat Newsletter - http://www.rje.com/newsletter/archives/may2001/InFrame/classifieds.html - Mark Prindle has taken the DIY ("do it yourself") aesthetic of the Web and used it to his advantage. His collection of record reviews is growing every day, as is the love/hate affair he's got going on with those who read his very opinionated ponderings.

Wisdom Goof - http://wisdomgoof.blogspot.com/2002_07_01_wisdomgoof_archive.html - I'll go on record and say this: I've been following Mark Prindle's Rock and Roll Record Review Site since late 1996 (!) and he’s never failed to provide knowledge and insight, as well as frequent digressions into immature foulmouthed off-topic ranting which frankly he should be ashamed of, but obviously isn't, and thank God for that. One of his most recent pieces, a review of David Bowie's recorded career, made me laugh out loud at least three times, which is a world record for me this week. But even when Mark's wrong he's entertaining and passionate, and I've read through long reviews of bands I have no interest in or I've never heard of because he is a fine writer and beneath all the compulsive punning, and stuff about poop and butts, he loves music. Some may view him with a tsk tsk, but I just go with the belly laugh.

Yahoo! - http://dir.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Reviews/Personal_Archives/ - PICK!

Please note that all of the above comments date from over eight years ago. Nobody has written a thing about me in the interim. Still, presumably interest remains high in my feelings towards Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 download.

SAMPLE CHAPTER

This free download features a bunch of songs that Nomeansno recorded at the same time as 0 + 2 = 1 1/2. Five are completed tracks and four are demos. All feature Andy Kerr on guitar. Two of the tracks also appear (in these versions) on the Mr. Wrong and Mr. Right album. Three were re-recorded for Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy? and two were re-recorded for The Worldhood Of The World (As Such). Two were never released or re-recorded. One of these is a John-written instrumental that starts fun but gets stuck and dull halfway through. The other, "Now It's Dark," is an excellent hateful chugging thing with a happy chorus and big Ramones break in the middle. It's nice and pulsating, and there is absolutely no reason for them to have left it unreleased for all these years. But what's up with two versions of "Cats, Sex & Nazis"? That song stinks. All the others basically sound like the re-recorded versions except one is a combination of three different instrumentals that blah blah fuck you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr. Prindle,

We thank you for your proposal, but must insist that you cease and desist immediately. Paper Beats Rock is in clear legal conflict with our upcoming Spring release Stuff White People Like About Nomeansno's 0 + 2 = 1 1/2 Download. Thank you for your consideration.

Best,
Steve Doubleday
Doubleday Books

Reader Comments

jkmcd4@gmail.com
This review may very well be your magnum opus, though it sounds like the album definitely isn't NoMeansNo's.

billyb@gmail.com
Mark,

Assuming this is your last review for a while or, Xenu forbid, forever, it's an excellent final review and a nice stopping place.

Hope everything works itself out and take care

yodaono@yahoo.com
Dear Mark Prindle,

I fear your self awareness / aggrandizing attitude has reached a level where you cannot sustain the weight of your own mind testicles. Is it true that you are (or were? congratulations!) just another unemployed prat with too much free time on your hands trying to live out your fantasies of being some kind of quasi-genius / demi-god? To whom? 12 year olds who only know Justin Bieber? Is this really the end-all goal of your brief existence on Earth? For Gawd's sake mahn, please stand down and let some moss grow on the Rock. As a music form, at roughly 56 years old (give or take a few depending on your definitions) it has gone senile and impotent rather early in life, and society will need to self-correct for it to be possble to communicate anything meaningful in the medium. Whether that means Big Brother (or old age) wiping out our memories, putting us on the train to Neverland and hiding the truth from our children, or moving the whole game to a new playground, in the end it is either all owned and operated by The Man. Or it's going to be us common folk taking back the cow fields and planting spores and seeds Johnny Appleseed style across this great nation and world until the idiots can't possibly enforce its illegality? To heck with em! Park Mrindle, have you ever been to Electric Ladyland? Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful. Until you have run naked in the fields like the Neanderthals in our DNA, have you really done all you can?

Look at the case of Edward Jessup (Hurt): a university professor of abnormal psychology who, while studying schizophrenia, begins to think that "our other states of consciousness are as real as our waking states."[2] Jessup begins experimenting with sensory-deprivation using a flotation tank, and he travels to Mexico to participate in what is undoubtedly an Ayahuasca Ceremony. An indigenous elder was seen with Banisteriopsis caapi root in his hand prior to cutting Jessup's hand, adding the ingredient of blood. Immediately after consumption he experiences bizarre, intense, paradigm-shifting imagery. The professor then returns to the U.S. with a tincture and begins taking it orally before each session in the flotation tank where he undergoes a series of increasingly drastic psychological and physical transformations. Doctor Edward Jessup's mind experiments lead him down a path of actual, physical biological devolution. At one stage he emerges from the isolation tank as a feral and curiously small-statured, light-skinned Primitive Man. In a subsequent experiment he is regressed into a mostly amorphous mass of conscious, primordial matter. It is only the physical intervention of his wife Emily which brings him back from this latter, shocking transformation in which he seems poised on the brink of becoming a non-physical form of proto-consciousness and possibly disappearing from our version of reality altogether. The experiments go even further out of control in that Professor Jessup experiences episodes of involuntary spontaneous temporary partial de-evolution. This occurs outside of the isolation tank and without the intake of additional doses of the hallucinogenic tincture. His early reaction is more one of fascination than concern, but as his priorities gradually change via Emily's unwavering determination to keep from losing him to some unfathomable state of non-being, he finally begins to act like someone who values his humanity more than the vast, impersonal nothingness that underlies all of existence.

To wit: unless and until America can rebuild its manufacturing infrastructure and stop bleeding jobs and brains, and we all can consciously begin supporting companies that embody the "think globally act locally" policies that will bring utopia, and stop the aquifers from being polluted with radiation (like Oyster Creek evidently has done, thanks) and leaking oil all over the place (are there really 29,999 more well in the gulf alone?), and pay a little more to support our local mom & pop shops, we are going to be paying rent to the China Man and have our Google censored and be paying the Russkie mob for "protection" before long. Don't suck up to the man! Less is not more! Our schools are closing! Stop being shmucks and get back to the golden year of 1953. Have babies and work in local factories and go to night school to learn to read and don't buy anything unless it says Made in USA. We can rebuild this great country without having to resort to WW III which will be fought on the Internet by geeks hacking Web sites (Gawd willing in any case, that it is fought on an IT or economic level and not through some awful germ or sick technological horror). Make this a happy place, life is too short as it is.

Now look what your review has done, making my mind reel and my bowels ignite. Please keep your poison pen in your pocket until you have completed the training.

Yours,
Master Yoda

Add your thoughts?


In The Fishtank EP - Konkurrent 1997
Rating = 8

Konkurrent Onafhankelijk Muziekbedrijff is a (something) that invites bands to record EPs for them in Holland. Many bands have taken part in this "Fishtank" series, but Nomeansno was the very, very first! Since they recorded the disc while on their super-special double-drummer tour (featuring extra added bonus value drums by Ken Kempster), the line-up is IdEnTiCaL to that of the Hanson Brothers. But with two of them playing drums. You may be wondering, "Why on Earth would a drummer like John Wright require a double?" Well, he didn't. But it sounds neat! So strap on your drumshoes and walk on top of its ice!

The disc features one Residents cover, one new original, and three reworkings of previously recorded NMN material (one track each from Wrong, Mr. Happy and Worldhood. A Latin-styled rendition of "Joy" takes a bit of getting used to, and - HOLY GODDAMNED SHIT! DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED THERE??!??! THE VENTURES' RECORDS LATIN ALBUM AND JOY: THE VENTURES PLAY THE CLASSICS ARE ON THE SAME GODDAMNED "DOUBLE-PLAY" CD!!!!! WHO DID THIS!??!?!?! ARE NOMEANSNO INSIDE THE HEAD OF MY VENTURES ALBUMS, MAKING MUSICAL CHANGES AS RADICAL INSIDE JOKES TO TICKLE MY ELMO!!!?!? IT WORKED!!!! MY ELMO ITCHES LIKE SHIT NOW!!!

Also, I'm not sure that the percussion-and-voice-only version of "Big Dick" is quite as effective on disc as it would be live in concert, but the - JUMPING JACK FUCKLEBERRIES!!!! DID YOU SEE THAT!?!? THE VENTURES' RECORDS PERCUSSION AND VOICE ONLY ALBUM AND BIG DICK: THE VENTURES PLAY GAY PORNOGRAPHY ARE ON THE SAME G

For extra added value bonus fun, sing the chorus of The Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping" during the chorus of "The River." Same notes, but radically different mood!

Good Residents cover -- nice tribal rhythm, and the bass line proves that they could have performed "Forward To Death" on actual instruments had they wanted to.

Sole new original "You're Not One" is a fun piece of funky blues-rock that would have fit perfectly alongside "Rags And Bones" on Wrong.

My head and arms are itching like crazy right now. Do you think I have lice?

Say, that reminds me of a hilarious joke I just made up!

Me: God, my head and arms are itching like crazy.

Chinese Guy: Here, have some rice.

Me: Aaaaaah!

Reader Comments

astrawn@firstam.com
I guess technically it’s the same line up as the Hansons but John sings all the Hanson stuff so not really. But, kinda. This release just came out of nowhere, I was in Vintage Vinyl in St Louis one fine day in 1997 and I saw a new NMN cd. Did you notice that the back of the cd has the length of the songs listed but they are all completely wrong?!?

Man I wish they would have “played” Forward to Death, instead of just vocalizing it but that’s another story.

Add your thoughts?


Would We Be Alive? EP - Alternative Tentacles 1997
Rating = 6

If you already own In The Fishbowl, you don't need this. It features 3 of that EP's 5 tracks, and then replaces "Joy" and "The River" with a not-great new original called "Rise." The problem with "Rise" is that it is a "Weird Al" Yankovic-esque stylistic parody (homage? ripoff?) of Seattle's Grunge Music. The verse riff is a simplified version of Nirvana's "Sifting" and the chorus is one of those dark slithering Soundgardeny things. It's not a terrible song, by any means; it's just strange to hear Nomeansno so obviously trying to emulate the favored subgenre of a younger generation.

But at least they spelled the Residents song title correctly on this release -- In The Fishbird calls it "Would Be Alive?"! Hello??? Pronouns anyone????

Yeah, that certainly has a pronoun.... NOT!

Oh my god, that pronoun is all about me.

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
They do a good job at covering the Residents. By that, I mean they do it so convincingly that I almost forget it's a cover. "Rise" is the only NMN song I'd ever think to call bad, though.

Add your thoughts?


Dance Of The Headless Bourgeoisie - Alternative Tentacles 1998
Rating = 9

As my friend and fellow Nomeansno fan Christian "C. 'Chris' B." Burns Smith once stated, "Where Wrong was LOUD, this album is strong." And no, he wasn't talking about this album, but if I had been him, he certainly would have been! Granted, when he made his statement (about Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy?, if you must know), this album had not yet been recorded. But that's what foreshadowing is for, and if you completely lack the ability to sense and interpret obvious indicators of events yet to take place, then mister we've got a job for you here at the Weather Channel! Hi, I'm Bill Bu

Dance Of The Headless Bourgeoisie is the work of an older, maturer Nomeansno. The music is solid, confident, midtempo, bass-driven, blues-inspired hard rock -- sometimes dark, sometimes light, sometimes frightening, sometimes morbidly humorous, sometimes freakishly long. In fact, only ONE of these ten songs is shorter than 4:40! Only THREE are shorter than 5 and a half minutes! Only TEN are shorter than 4 hours and 35... oh.

Although the songs rarely kick hardcore ass with the anthemic punk rock glee of Worldhood, they are still plenty aggressive, with the added bonus that they actually flow naturally from beginning to end, whether comprised of one part or a million (Unacceptable!). (Okay, it's acceptable). John Wright's drumming is typically brilliant, Rob Wright's speedy, twisty bass riffs stick to your ears as if you had ribs on the side of your head instead of ears, and Tom Holliston... plays the guitar.

Music fans will enjoy such stylistical divergencies as funk/groove, pop-punk, goodtime boogie rock, nervous anxious energy rock, death threat aggro, hypnotic pop repetition, pitch black psycho-rock, warm optimistic laziness, and BLOOZE BLOOZE BLOOZE! Okay, not that much blooze. But some blooze!

And these lyrics honestly may be the finest set of words they have yet set to music. Extremely disturbing observations and turns-of-phrase paint a frightening portrait of a humankind at the end of its collective rope. Obsessive thoughts, confusion about the connections between people, lovers hurting lovers, friends hurting friends, terrorists hurting everybody -- all culminate in the stated desire to completely disappear from the human race. Say! You know what? Let's take a quick look at all ten songs, in terms of what I think they appear to be about, somewhat:

"This Story Must Be Told" - I'll be honest; I don't really understand this one. Symbols seem to be involved in the tale of a man who rapes a woman in an alley and winds up being haunted by her words and laughter for the rest of his life. At least, I'm pretty sure I hear symbols. Some snair and base drum too.

"Going Nowhere" - Past fame; current failure

"I'm An Asshole" - A grudgeful obsessive sets about destroying the life of a pompous associate

"Disappear" - Wanting no part of the human race

"The Dance Of The Headless Bourgeoisie" - Terrorists kidnap a man's family one-by-one and 'BLOW THEIR FUCKING HEADS UP!' When the family is dead, they do a happy dance.

"The World Wasn't Built In A Day" - A man struggles against a self-defeating dichotomy of misanthropy and loneliness - the simultaneous desire to both sever all human ties and establish a true spiritual connection with another person.

"I Can't Stop Talking" - He can't stop his mind from filling up with fear and self-loathing. Mere stress or the onset of a psychological disorder? I guess we'll never knob.

"The Rape" - Man meets woman; man wins woman; woman destroys man

"Give Me The Push" - Who knows, it only has like four words. He's requesting either a push of motivation to get him started, or a push off the side of a ledge. Say! Perhaps it's INTENDED to be open to interpretation!?

"One Fine Day" - The wish to escape the chains that bind us all to society - love, responsibility, fear, loneliness - and somehow find inner peace alone

Either that or they're all about hoopties and rims, what do you want I don't speak Canadian.

So park your Soul-Crushing Car in the Depression Lot, and stick this CD right up your Crankshaft of Cutting!

Is 'cutting' still popular among depressed young people? Back in my day, it was the shit. Slicing your arm with an exacto-blade to show how mopey you are, or to write "OZZY." Being a teenager is tough, with all that uncertain adult life ahead of you. Will you succeed or fail? Well, take it from me: just send $25 to 'Mark Prindle'$ $ecret$ to $ucce$$' and prepare to watch your life change right in front of your eyes!

Okay, here's a sample:

LESSON ONE: When dining at an expensive restaurant, eat your entire meal, then urinate all over both your plate and your waiter's nude penis, so people will think he did it.

LESSON FORTY-THREE: Whenever a person introduces him or herself to you, look all excited and say, "Wait, I know you! Oh man, your social security number, date of birth and mother's maiden name are on the tip of my tongue.... Okay, I give up! What are they again?"

LESSON SEVENTY BAJILLION AND TWO: Start up a 'Wallet Polishing' stand in a public place, then when you hand back a customer's wallet and he complains that it's empty, say, "It was empty when you gave it to me, asshole!" This one really doesn't work.

So you see, all you have to do is be a member of NOMEANSNO (North Ontario Men who Enjoy Anus, Nuts and Schlong of Nubile, Oh.... little boys) to order!

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Gotta love them vocal acrobatics in the title track. You also gotta love how that song, and "This Story Must Be Told" both break out into some form of jam much unlike the rest of their respective songs. If there's one problem I have with this record, it's that it's too rock solid to pick it apart, which is why I'm having a hard time finding a good way to comment on it. It's like they took the catchyness of Worldhood and combined it with the flow and epicness of Mr. Happy? and came up with a damn fine piece of work.

Add your thoughts?


No One - Alternative Tentacles 2001
Rating = 9

Another tour-de-forch for The United States Of America's Nomeansno! No One (entitled One) is a collection of epic-length, somber, sober, dark, bass-driven story-songs from the points-of-view of society's Average and Wildly Not-Average Joes, including (in chronological order by last name):

- a nightshift worker struggling with regret over things said and unsaid
- a citizen of a drowning city (New Orleans? Atlantis? Shitsville, New Guinea?) (Probably not Shitsville, New Guinea)
- a citizen of a nice average town simmering with an undercurrent of extreme violence
- a drugs-and-sex partier -- voiced in Rob's most hilariously over-the-top, smug delivery EVER!
- the leader of a brand new religious cult (Jesus Christ? David Koresh? Shitsville McNewGuinea?)
- an abusive ex calling his victim to apologize... and the police tapping his call
- a sexually violent drunk and Miles Davis fan
- a person who harbors a desire to beat on some sort of local brat, preferably with a baseball bat if one is available

To enjoy this record, you have to be able to enjoy repetition. These songs, even more so than past NMN writings, depend upon your mind adopting the eerie, menacing riffs as a soundtrack counterpoint to the pessimistic tales that flow from the mouth of the vocalist. At the same time, however, Nomeansno has grown into such a musically confident combo that they are now able to change playing styles and improvise in and around their basic riffs as effortlessly and tunefully as a jazz band. As such, even if you think you're just hearing a single riff for 9 minutes, there is a heck of a lot else going on around it -- strange noises, dozens of mini-guitar-licks, these odd little digital chimey notes that keep creeping in, amazing John Wright drumming that should blow your mind with its busy rhythmicality, unexpected full-band changes that seem to pop in out of nowhere, etc. Just don't freak out if you don't always get verse/chorus/verse/chorus/middle eight/verse/chorus. Especially since only one song is shorter than 5:59.

I love this album. For one thing, John Wright keeps getting better with every record; you could quite literally ignore every other aspect of these songs, and still be blown away by just the drum tracks. He's an improv jazz god -- who likes HARDCORE!?! Secondly, I love forboding bass lines and this motherfrigger's full of them. Thirdly, the lyrics are owrsome and unlike anything Rob has done before -- they're all like sleazy crime novels! And finally of all, they searched through the entire Miles Davis catalog, found the single greatest piece of music in there (the sick, brooding bass line of "Bitches Brew"), removed it from its source and created a genius piece of ill will around it.

Of course, they then ruin a Ramones song by singing the whole thing in one note, but you can't have everything. In fact, you can't have ANYTHING! GIMME THAT!!!!!

(*steals whatever you've got there*)

But come on - it's still a great gag, ending an album of epic songs with a hilariously slow, lengthy cover of a Ramones song -- "Beat On The Brat" for FOUR MINUTES! Yet it still seems really, really short compared to everything that came before it. I love you, you comedy gagsters in NMN! (pronounced "Eminem").

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Re: your lyrical interpretation of "Under the Sea" as being about a citizen of a drowning city: On a Nomeansno live DVD I have ("Would We Be...Live?" - highly recommended), John Wright dedicates the song "Under the Sea" to "our fine feathered friends in the Netherlands". If my high school geography knowledge serves me well, the Netherlands is actually located below sea level, so the song is probably a reference to that. I haven't studied the lyrics enough to dig any further than that. Is it an affectionate tribute or an apocalyptic warning? Sometimes it's hard to tell with these guys. They hold their cards pretty close to their chest sometimes.

"The Graveyard Shift" is among my favorite songs. Why? 1) I really like the counterpoint between the guitar and bass - both playing very simple patterns, but they combine to create something very colorful; 2) the instrumental break at the end, where the bass and guitar play repetitive patterns, but moving in opposite directions; 3) the lyrics - there's something so unbearably sad about the protagonist taking solace in his night time shift as a sort of escape from a reality of missed opportunities and bitter regret.

I gotta gripe about a couple of these songs though. Geez Louise, why do they have to be so long? And this is coming from a guy who LIKES Yes! "The Phone Call" , "Our Town", and "A Little Too High" just drag and drag. They do have a fair share of dynamics and emotion (especially "Phone Call"), but even that gets kind of wearing after a while. Nonetheless, another great album from Nomeansno, Spain's greatest punk band!

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
"The Graveyard Shift" is a fucking classic. Greatest song ever, I say. You're definitely correct on the repitition thing. And these guys have definitely found the right way in which to wind through these eight riffs. Especially the way "The Graveyard Shift" climaxes. I seriously can't get over how great that songs is. The ups, the downs, the ins, the outs -- an albums worth of flow contained in each song! Other highlights include: Rob shouting out "COCAINE PSYCHOSIS!" in "A Little Too High," the "Yooooooooouuu cannot follow meeeeeeeeeee!" chorus of "Hello/Goodbye," the churning musical breakdown of "The Phone Call," the overall Mr. Happy?-trumping sinister darkness that's just waiting to be attacked by some stupid D&D nerd who can't get enough of repeating passé internet jokes. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw the gag in the cover. Except I always interpreted as them saying "You kids think the Ramones sound slow by todays standards? Take a listen to this, you fucking whippersnapper!"

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Generic Shame EP - Southern 2001
Rating = 6

As all three of these songs share the producer, studio and release year of No One, I'm going to walk out in the backyard, climb a tree, go out on a limb and assume that they are outtakes from that album. And it's easy to see why! As diverse as Nomeansno has been over the years, their creative experiments have always retained that intelligent Nomeansno 'feel,' injecting unfamiliar subgenres with expectation-defying twists and unique, non-cliche'd riffs.

Such is not necessarily the case here.

"Sex Is Philosophy" is dopey hard rock. Period. Okay, it's about a sex murderer, but I'm speaking musically here. The Wrights and Tom decided to record a simplistic two-chord midtempo headbanger, and that's what they did. Ted Nugent, Kiss, slower Motorhead, "Sex Is Philosophy." You'll hear some strange note lines here and there, but for the most part this is a leather-jacketed dumb guy hard rock song for long greasy hair to shake itself around in the air to. And it's great, but do you realize how awful Nomeansno would be if they actually SOUNDED like this? They'd have to change their name to W.A.S.P. Jr.! Or SuperAccept! Or NoGoodNo!

"No Big Surprise" continues the shitemare with 11 minutes of generic blues-rock. After 20 years of skewering blues-rock in wonderfully crooked ways, NMN apparently grew tired of 'changing anything at all' and decided to just play a long, boring dark electric blues-rock song. Or hard blues metal, or whatever Rollins Band played on The End Of Silence (with a lot more creativity than this). You will be astonished that Nomeansno bothered performing such a non-descript interminable drag of a song. Even the drum solo is boring! And that's usually the best part of ANY song! Aerosmith fans might notice Tom Holliston playing a very familiar guitar lick during the fade-out. They might then note how much more clever it would have been to play the guitar lick from the Aerosmith song called "No Surprize."

And the evening closes with an insanely bouncy, fun, singalongable SKA SONG from your checker-pantsed friends in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada's Nomeansno. If you knew how much I dislike ska music, you would want to beat my daylights in for the amount of affection I feel towards this dumbassed song.

And there you have it - dumb hard rock, standard blues-metal, and ska. By NoMeansNo.

Hence the words "Generic" and "Shame" in the CD title, I suppose?

On a different note altogether, if you've been following the drab trials and pathetic tribulations of my failure to complete the 59 half-written songs that have been resting on my 16-track digital recorder for the past three years, here's some very good news for me personally! I spent four hours yesterday going back through the tracks (something I haven't done, literally, in years), and discovered two very pleasing things: (a) The songs are much, much better than I'd remembered. My, did I come up with some strange chords! Some of the songs are pretty, others dissonant and strangely-rhythmed, still others just collections of looped noise - but all of them showcase a clear intention to create unique, original songs that don't sound like any I've heard before. Which doesn't necessarily mean they don't sound like songs YOU'VE heard before, but hey let's be fair. Actually, wouldn't it be awesome(ly depressing) if one day I find out that every single song I've ever recorded has a corresponding Dan Fogelberg song that sounds exactly like it? Aww that'd be the SHIT! By which I mean "Aww that'd be SHIT!" See, it's the article that makes the statement positive. I guess it's true what they say - "Any press is good press"!

Oh, I forgot (b). (b) most of the songs sound near-complete, aside from lyrics/vocals. In fact, the songs with 12-16 tracks in use sound much worse sonically than the ones with only 4-8 in use. So I'll probably just add some extra guitars and vocals and not worry about the remaining tracks. The only problem now is my weak voice, which even I find nasal and weak. I'll have to learn a new way to sing more like a MAN or something before I get down to the business of finalizing my fifth shitty solo CD-R that nobody will like.

Oh. And I also have to re-learn how to use the goddamned 16-track.

So way to go, Nomeansno!

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
It's been so very long since I've ehard this one. But from what I can remember, the only worthwhile track is "I Get Up In The Morning, I Go To Bed At Night," or whatever the fuck that John-sung ska song is called.

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All Roads Lead To Ausfahrt - AntAcidAudio 2006
Rating = 7

After a five-year vacation in the park sitting around on their duffs at the beach just having a good old time, Nomeansno is back in the fray with their least Nomeansno-y release yet. First things first, the energy level is incredibly high; John Wright in particular sounds like he's having an epileptic fit through the whole thing. Second things... umm, second: The mix is raw, loud and very drum-focused; Rob's bass tone appears to be even more distorted and less distinct than before, which makes it kinda hard to hear what he's playing some of the time. But third things always have to bring everybody down, and tonight is no exception: Ausfahrt is probably the least melodically innovative album they've ever released. Where other albums - especially the last three - brought the proverbial house metaphorically down with their unfamiliar, creative riffs and vocal melodies, this one mostly deals in assaultive non-riffs, Hanson Brothersy punk rock, and loud takes on various traditional musics.

And if you need a fourth thing, the CD is maybe a little TOO silly, supplementing their usual grim humor with goofy between-verse chit-chat, funny voices, and more dopey gag lyrics than they've ever put on a single album before. On one hand, this sense of light-hearted humor suggests that the Wrights have finally found peace in their lives and are no longer haunted by and obsessed with the false smiles and power games that form the structure of so many interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, why don't they just change their name to "Weird Al" Nomeansno and get it over with, the pricks?

As you could probably tell by that ass-kissing last sentence, I'm currently trying to "score" an interview with Nomeansno. Things are looking great so far, so with any luck I should have the dickheads on the phone in no time. And another thing - the word 'shit'!

Let's be honest here: I love Nomeansno. Anybody who doesn't has something wrong with the ear part of their brain. And like all their fans, I'm thrilled that they finally have a new album out after five long years. "Wake Up" is an exciting, cacaphonous shot in the eye, "In Her Eyes" a wonderfully anthemic punk classic, "The Hawk Killed The Punk" an interesting scraggly evil mess, and "Heaven Is The Dust Beneath My Shoes" a silly but nevertheless bombastically effective IMPORTANT DRAMATIC EXCLAMATION. These four tracks represent Nomeansno at their smartest, hardest, strangest and hookiest, and I could listen to them for near-on days. But the rest of the tunes just seem a bit lacking, or lazy - especially for a band as reliably tunesmithy as Nomeansno. Here, let me add detail to this thought.

- The bass line for "Ashes" is a slight rewrite of "Body Bag"
- "So Low" is built upon the standard '50s bass line you may have previously heard in the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock 'N Roll Radio"
- "Faith" is one of those Spanish (or is it Italian?) ballads whose name I don't know - but louder
- "Mondo Nihilissimo 2000," though not a perfect rewrite of "Amazing Grace," is nevertheless close enough to "Amazing Grace" for me to call it "'Amazing Grace' - but louder."
- "'Til I Die" is a folk song - but louder. The vocal melody is particularly reminiscent of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'."
- "Slugs Are Burning" is a standard early '60s girl group song - but louder. It sounds like something the New York Dolls would have covered.
- The bonus track is sung to the tune of that Golden Corral 'Happy Birthday' song ("Happy happy birthday/This is your happy day/Happy happy birthday/Is what we're here to say - HEY!"), which I'm told is actually sung to the tune of yet an even pre-existinger song, though I for some reason can't find that song in my vast head of worthless music trivia

It's not that any of these songs are bad (they're really not! John in particular tears 'em right on ass up); they're just strangely uninnovative for this most creative of post-punk bands. On the positive side, the lyrics are gross as shit! Here, have some:

"I want girls and boys/More noise/More three ways!"

"How many holes could a young buck fuck if a young buck could fuck holes?/There's more to see in the cunt of a flea than in the darkness of your soul"

"I've got the stiff stand straight up my ass/Smell the gas, smell the sewer gas"
"She's a bitch; she's my little bitch" (it's an adorable, loving song about his DOG!)
"Let's go to Guam and fuck a baby/I saw a tour on the Internet" When they're actually in context, these lyrics are still a bit difficult to completely understand. A few are clear: "The Hawk Killed The Punk" questions the 'non-conformist' conformity of the punk rock scene; "Mondo Nihilissimo 2000" mocks the fetid Nietzschian attitude that still stinks up certain segments of the underground scene; and "In Her Eyes" is a fun nonsensical 'love that girl' song. But most of the others are so clogged with symbolism, ambiguity and/or literary references that I don't get that I'd might as well be reading a Bakers' Manual and calling it a Sports Illustrated! Ha ha! Who's with me?

No, but seriously. Take "I'm Dreaming And I Can't Wake Up" for example. What is going on in this song? Is the narrator having nightmares due to our paranoia/fearmongering media? Or has something actually happened to her child? Take "'Til I Die" for example. Is it about perserverance, loneliness, both, or something else entirely? Take "Slugs Are Burning" for example. The fuck is THAT all about!?

In conclusion, All Roads Lead To Ausfahrt (German for "Exit") (Hilarious for "Ass Fart") is an excellently-performed, exuberantly-sung, energetic blast of a punk/post-punk/rock/everything CD, but kind of a low point in NMN-quality melodicism. Hopefully we won't have to wait FIVE MISERABLE YEARS for the next one.

One last word: I am not a drummer. I tried playing drums exactly one time and it was much, much more difficult than I'd imagined. I in fact usually don't even notice the drumwork in my rock music. But John Wright is just INCREDIBLE! He's like 44 now and still playing like some deranged mixture of Keith Moon, Buddy Rich and Eric Brecht.

There I go again, copying all the big-time record critics with their endless references to Eric Brecht. "Jon Wurster is the Eric Brecht of Indie Rock," they say. "Elton John is the Eric Brecht of the piano." Will it never end? "Arnold Schwarzenneger is the Governor of California." Enough with the Eric Brecht namedropping, Robert Christgau! That means you too, Lester Bangs!

And that pretty much sums up the world's 'big-time record critics.'

Oh hang on! Greil Marcus! You too, Greil Marcus!

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
I've been known to say something along the lines of "It's kind of sad when the highlight of the album is the drumming" when talking about such wastes of music as Blink-182. But when the highlight of a Nomeansno record is the drumming, then you *know* that John's pounding the skins at an inhuman rate, even for him. He's not the only one hopped up on meth, either! With energy levels so high and a performance so tight, the only thing one could ask for is... better songwriting. Don't get me wrong, though -- this album wouldn't be half as good if it were anyone else performing it. And it's also got some kick-ass non-standard originals ("Mr. In Between" being my favorite). I can even take (and enjoy) the characteristically uncharacteristic sillyness of it all. It's like that dark humor that's always in the back seat is now suddenly at the wheel and haulin' ass. Also, I think "Mondo Nihilissimo 2000" is, as Rob seemed to imply at a show they played in Sept. '06, is more a commentary on the hypicrisy often found among those who give the appearance of taking the moral high ground when they're really more sick and twisted than your average pot-head. Finally, is it just me, or does it seem like Rob isn't flexing his fingers on this record, like he usually does?

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Tour EP 1 - Wrong 2010
Rating = 6

You missed something spectacular the other night, unless you were there: the very final performance of Mark Prindle Trio, the sloppy half-assed novelty act featuring singer/guitarist Mark Prindle, drummer Jim Laakso and other person Brenda Prindle. Taking place at Brooklyn's Trash Bar in the august days of May 2010, the 30-minute set was highlighted by the following bullet points:

- The band showing up drunk, 20 minutes before they were scheduled to go onstage.
- The singer/guitarist not wanting to do the show at all, having scheduled it two months ago before he got a real job. His solution? Run to the bar to take a shot of vodka just seconds before starting the show.
- The singer/guitarist starting the show by shouting, "ARE YOU GUYS READY TO ROCK!????!?!!?" And then adding, "That's too bad, because we're a hip-hop group."
- The singer/guitarist forgetting to rewind the 'crowd noise' tape, so that just seconds after shouting, "Whoa! We've got a huge crowd tonight!" over a din of (fake) applause, he was greeted by complete silence. His reaction? "Oh no, you all left."
- The singer/guitarist deciding, just seconds into first song "Hot Rockin' Tonight," that he was in no mood to perform "Hot Rockin' Tonight." His reaction? Only sing a couple of words, then force drummer Jim Laakso to perform an early and extremely lengthy drum solo, spurring him on with endless shouts of "Yeah! Do it! Keep doing it! Yeah, go! Go some more! Alright! Do it!"
- The singer/guitarist deciding, just seconds into second song "Let's Put The 'X' Back In 'Vernal Equinox'," that the words were too gross to sing. His response? Perform it as an instrumental.
- The singer/guitarist drunkenly putting his delay pedal on the wrong setting during Jim Laakso's vocal spotlight "Who'da Thunk Billy Graham Was A Pedophile?" Horrified by the disgusting effect he'd created, he placed the guitar on the ground, walked to the drum set, and performed the drum solo from The Beatles' "The End." Jim Laakso's response? "And in the end, the love Billy Graham makes is the kind of love that an 8-year-old boy should not take."
- The singer/guitarist returning to his guitar after "Who'da Thunk Billy Graham Was A Pedophile," picking it up in his left hand, saying into the mic, "This song is called...." and then swatting at the strings with his right hand while screaming "AHHHH! AHHHHH! AHHHH! AHHHHHH!" into the mic. After about fifteen seconds of this, he stopped making noise and said, "That's just the name of the song though; it's actually a gentle ballad."
- The singer/guitarist twice launching into the riff of Aerosmith's "Same Old Song And Dance" for no reason at all. - Brenda performing the keyboard line of "Disco Jaws" with no mic on the keyboard. The singer/guitarist's response? (a) Pull a nearby mic down to the keyboard, (b) realize the mic isn't turned on, and (c) accidentally knock the mic off the keyboard so it crashes to the floor.
- The singer/guitarist playing "No Is Not Yes" completely wrong for about 45 seconds before realizing why it sounded so awful.
- The singer/guitarist at one point saying into the mic, "I'm sorry -- we forgot to write songs for tonight."
- The singer/guitarist ending an interminable blues song by exclaiming, "But enough of this math rock! What am I, Don Caballero? Ha ha! Hey Jim! They think I'm Don Caballero! Come on! I'm not Don Caballero! Okay, here's the next song by Don Caballero."
- The singer/guitarist telling terrible Yo La Tengo jokes until a woman in the crowd shouted, "Less talk, more rock!" His response? Ask incredulously, "Wait a minute - MORE rock!? That implies that there's been any rock to begin with!"
- Brenda shouting at the singer/guitarist, "Get the fuck off the stage!" His response? Make up a song called "Get The Fuck Off The Stage" set to the music of "Weekends Are Bonus," culminating with the suggestion that Brenda has a lengthy penis. Her reaction? Physically attack the singer/guitarist onstage. His reaction? Keep on rockin'!
- The singer/guitarist asking the crowd, "Any requests?" and the snotty bartender responding, "Stop playing!" The singer/guitarist's response? Improvise a song called "Stop Playing" that he and drummer Jim Laakso drag out longer than any other song in their set, complete with several false endings and shouts of "Second verse, same as the first!"
- After the show, a drunk Bible Freak chastising the singer/guitarist for telling his famous "Jesus On The Cross" joke onstage, then talking his ear off about the coming of Armageddon for like half a fucking hour.
- At the very same moment after the show, a drunk man at the bar informing Jim Laakso, "You guys were good! Not GREAT, but good."
- Outside the club, a schizophrenic drunk man vomiting onto the curb, as if to say, "Great show, Mark Prindle Trio!"

This Nomeansno EP features four simple, repetitive, bass-focused songs with Rob Wright's vocals so high in the mix that he sounds like he's in your ear. Three of the four songs are extremely bitter-sounding, the echoplex guitar might as well be sitting in a toilet bowl for all it contributes, and the energy level is slow to half-middling. But hell there's only four songs so I'll describe them for you:

"Faceless May" - One of the absolute worst Nomeansno songs of all time, this ugly brooding boring three-note spoken-word shit song is lazy, empty, simplistic, terrible, completely unappealing and six minutes long! It's still better than "Cats, Sex & Nazis" though.

"Slave" - This funky '70s blooze-cock song isn't very good, but the idea of Nomeansno playing funky '70s blooze-cock music is pretty funny.

"Old" - Finally a good song! This 8-minute epic is slow and rudimentary, but at least it's melodic and (for once) not so damned pissy-sounding. Instead, its three chords are emotional and dramatic.

"Something Dark Against Something Light" - Nomeansno? More like SUno meanCITY GIRLSno, if you ask me! This sandy Middle Eastern riff is TOTAL Sun City Girls and should be treated as such -- with respect and love.

The mix sure stinks though. Why on Earth are the vocals so fucking loud? So motherfucking loud? So loud that they literally jumped out of the speaker and fucked your mother? So loud that they're fucking her RIGHT NOW AS WE SPEAK, AND YOU CAN'T STOP PICTURING IT IN YOUR HEAD?????

LOOK! NOW SHE'S TAKING IT UP THE ASS WITH FIVE COCKS UP HER NOSE! CAN YOU SEE HER??? THAT'S YOUR MOTHER!!!!

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Tour EP 2 - Wrong 2010
Rating = 6

"Nothing left rubble and dust
See the towers fall
Nothing but a twisted mess of iron and rust
Nothin' left at all
All the heroes who were in demand
They're all dead!
And all the members of my favorite band
They're all dead!
Nothing left to hang onto in this whole damn world
That's liberation!
No more goals or stupid dreams - nothing in this world
That's jubilation!"

And so goes one of the greatest songs Nomeansno has penned in the past decade. Bass chords and an anthemic chorus to shout from the Heavens; what more could one ask for from an NMN EP?

Well... some other good songs, for one thing. Unfortunately what we get are a few more overlong and underwritten also-rans with ludicrously over-amped vocals. "One And The Same" is the epitome of effortless, with its tuneless vocals and repetitive underwhelming bass line. "All The Little Bourgeois Dreams" is lyrically intriguing, but the music is generic John Cougar-style classic rock with a brain-squishingly pointless TWO-MINUTE drum solo in the middle. And "Perambulate" is more musically adventurous than the others, even including a bit of unique instrumental interplay, but it drags on 'til morning and the vocals are again far too high in the mix. Seriously, if I can clearly make out every single lyric on a record the very first time I hear it, that means the vocals are WAY TOO FUCKING LOUD. And it's not like Rob Wright has the prettiest voice in the county; why on Earth did they feel the need to push him so high in the mix that it might as well be a solo album?

What does all this say about the future of Nomeansno? It doesn't matter. They've more than earned the right to record anything they want, even if it's as underwhelming and unnecessary as a Brett-less Bad Religion record. I just wish they'd challenge their composition skills a bit more, rather than (a) relaxing on a hammock in their comfort zone and/or (b) further streamlining their once-punky sound, which is really all they're doing here -- the rock'n'roll jam at the end of "Perambulate" more than qualifies them for the HORDE tour, for example, and I do NOT mean that in a good way.

Obviously. I mean, it had the words "HORDE tour" in it.

Now here are some punk rock song titles I just came up with, for you to share with your favorite punk rock band so they record them and have a big punk rock hit:

"If The Kids Are Untied (Then Their Shoes Will Get Stuck In The Escalator)"

That's all I came up with. I'm sorta having writer's block this week, so the others I came up with were pretty awful. Check this one out:

"Do They Owe Us A Living? (I'm A Corpse, They Do! I'm A Corpse, They Do!)"

Come on, that wasn't any good at all. And how about this 'classic':

"God Save The Queen Album"

???? I wrote that! And then I wisely erased it! And now here I've gone and written it again!

Oh, but don't think they were all parody titles, because I also came up with this fine piece of (ass) work:

"Thatcher Is My Anarchy"

THE FUCK IS THAT EVEN SUPPOSED TO MEAN!? I tried rewriting it as "I Expressed My Anarchy By Voting For Thatcher," but that's not funny either. Maybe this comedy game just isn't for me. Yes, from now on, I'll be the Sober Poet.

Now here's a bunch of sober poems I think that famous sober poets should write, so pass them along if you get the chance:

"Death Is Going To Get You"
"You Are Going To Die"
"Oh, Fair Maiden! You're Dead!"
"Weeping For The Dead Person Over There"
"Oh Fair Death! Why Hast Thou Made Thee Die So Fair?"
"Hey Death, We're Out Of Cheerios. Can You Pick Some Up On The Way Home?"
"Death Helped Me Get Gum Out Of My Hair By Smearing It With Peanut Butter. Thanks, Death!"
"Where's The Dog? Oh, Death Took Him Swimming. What A Sweet Gesture! Yes I Know, Death Is A Great Guy!"
"Oops! I Just Caught Death Masturbating And Now He's All Embarrassed And Won't Come Out Of His Room. It's Alright, Death! It's Perfectly Natural!"
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Really Draw It Out."
"My Cellphone Died. O Death!"
"Puds: Gettin' Big!"

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