Category: The Meat Puppets

The Meat Puppets – Up on the Sun

ARTIST: The Meat Puppets  220px-MeatPuppets_-_UpOnTheSun

TITLE: Up on the Sun

YEAR RELEASED: 1985

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Swimming Ground

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not

LINEUP: Curt Kirkwood, Cris Kirkwood, Derrick Bostrom

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Meat Puppets’ release a laid-back, country-tinged record that’s psychedelic and weird while being normal at the same time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This album is bifurcated, in that the guitar and the playing are pretty darn straight up – tight and impressive with Curt Kirkwood’s guitar’s sounding very clean and interacting well with his brother Cris’ bass and Derrick Bostrom’s drums. Everything is solid and clean.

Then, the songs, and the lyrics. Curt’s vocals are mellow and still trying to find a note or five, and at times “Up on the Sun” sounded like the record was warped as he was singing. There’s a lazy vibe – like they’re baked out in the sun (and I don’t mean they’re sunbathing). Here’s also where Curt and Cris start singing together (at times here), which can smooth out the ‘oddities’.

This is a more stylistically together album, so there’s not an element of surprise. It’s a good, kinda mellow record with some excellent playing.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Curt Kirkwood did the cover painting, and Bostrom did the sleeve art.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few outtakes

 GRADE A-: A fine, mellow-ish, trip.

The Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II

ARTIST: The Meat Puppets 

TITLE: Meat Puppets II

YEAR RELEASED: 1984

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Lost, Plateau, Oh Me, Lake of Fire

LINEUP: Curt Kirkwood, Cris Kirkwood, Derrick Bostrom

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: An punk record? A psychedelic record? A country-rock record? All of them, for sure. It’s unique.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sure, you can quibble about Curt Kirkwood’s vocals (not really in any key known to mankind), and the stylistic diversions, and the uprooting of the punk norm (for those SST Records purists), but dang this is a fun record that’s, well, always keeping you guessing.

The opening track, “Split Myself in Two” is really punk rock with other overtones, but then as you move along to tracks like “Lost”, “Plateau”, and “Lake of Fire”, you’re in totally uncharted waters for an SST act. Acoustic guitars, country rhythms, jammy instrumentals, psychedelic overtones, mystical lyrics, and Lord knows what else. It’s like the Grateful Dead crossed with the Minutemen, or something.

If you can get past the vocals (I mean it, they’re surprisingly off-key, but earnest), and forget this was a punk band (was) on a punk rock label, then you’re in for an adventurous treat.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They played with Black Flag and Nig Heist on a tour, and the punkers in the audience didn’t get it. Long hair? Jams? Wow. Oh, and three of the tracks were on Nirvana’s unplugged record.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, outtakes and other tracks.

GRADE A+: Sod the vocals, and listen to “Plateau” on repeat, forever.