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Slumlords of Sludge

Melvins don't rest on grunge laurels



Melvins: these slumlords of sludge are in fact the godfathers of grunge. Leader Buzz Osborne (aka King Buzzo), an Aberdeen, Wash., homie, is the true-life inspiration for fellow Aberdeener Kurt Cobain. In other words, Buzz is to Kurt as the Melvins are to Nirvana.

More to the point, these noisemeisters create a dense, slow-moving, propulsive, downwardly mobile sonic fuzz that ages well with time and familiarity.

Usually glacially paced, with irregular rhythms and thuds, the groups released dozens of recordings, some with majors but most as indie releases. Titles like its first, Gluey Porch Treatments, then Stoner Witch and Hostile Ambient Takeover, provide a glimpse of its dull wit and ominous sonic range. Listeners perceive a vague, uneasy dread of creeped-out humor and unsettling musical meltdowns.

Originally a trio, they're now morphed into an LA-based gang of four. The band consists of leading light Osborne doing vocals and guitar and long-lasting colleague Dale Crove on drums. As a trio, there's been a long changeable lineup of bass players highlighted by an appearance by Lori Black, Shirley Temple's punk rock daughter, and Matt Luken (ex-Mudhoney). Now, there are two new members: drummer Coady Willis and bass player Jared Warren. Osborne promises

"double drums, double everything." The new pair also performs as Big Business and, as such, support the Melvins throughout their current tour.

This tour is in support of its newest CD, (A) Senile Animal - a typical downbeat, dirge fest of ditties, rants and ravers among which "Avast Filthy Prison" and "A History of Drunks" are keepers. The group's also lately been performing 1993's "Houdini," from its recent Houdini Live: A Live History of Gluttony and Lust, released last May.

Ignore the fact that these sludgy-sounding ooze-meisters might appear to the unwary and uninformed as dull and repetitive. Despite their glacially paced slogs, they are not. The Melvins perform live with gusto, volume and energy. If going, prepare yourself for oozy throwdowns and loud, creeped out, crunked up music for post-metal/post-grunge survivors.

An Evening With The Melvins & Big Business w/Porn, Altamont & Surprise Guests at the Milestone; Oct. 25; 8 p.m.; $16. Visit

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