Tuesday, November 8, 2011

MOONCALF - s/t (1994)

A one time collaboration between John Huston (Smirnoffs, Citrus Boy, Delirium, etc) and Jake Allee (Gristle, Threeskin, Mantapus, etc). I'm not sure how this came about, actually. As I've said earlier, I didn't really know John back in the 90s (I don't know him now, either) and Jake didn't talk about this. I remember asking Jake about it when I found out about it, but I'm sure I was confrontational and Jake didn't say much about it. I didn't actually hear this until just a few years ago and was surprised by how much I liked it.

This is anything-goes, unhinged guitar and drums rock-n-roll from the very early stages of these two below-underground music visionaries of southeastern Iowa. The found-sound snippets pasted in between the recordings is a bit distracting, but then again it does accentuate the excited, pioneering, anything-could-happen DIY spirit evoked by so-much pre-digital, pre-internet social media, home recording of the late 80's to early 90's. Kurt Cobain and flippers's influence on the young John Huston's guitar and vocals is prevalent, but that's not a bad thing. The leads are already intriguing. Jake's balls-to-the-wall drumming style is full of ideas and potential here. This was recorded during the peak Gristle era, and much of the drumming belies Jake's interest in George Hurley finesse (fIREHOSE, minutemen), and other distinctive drumming Jake was interested in at the time (Tar Babies, Stooges, Dinosaur Jr., Primus, Melvins, etc...). Check out the cover graphics, done in the classic, cheapo photocopied Pirate Alley style with the graph paper background, and mysterious driver's license photo. This is 4-track rock-n-roll fun for a one-time listen for most underground music fans, and repeated listens for me. Jake went on to become a masterful potter and teacher. John is an award-winning journalist and inspiring union dude, both still play music.