Today on Blogcritics
Home » Music » Music Review – The Dehumanizers/Deep Throat – A New World Odor; Various Artists – Retro As Hell: A Tribute To The Dehumanizers; The Dehumanizers – The First Five Years (Of Drug Use)

Music Review – The Dehumanizers/Deep Throat – A New World Odor; Various Artists – Retro As Hell: A Tribute To The Dehumanizers; The Dehumanizers – The First Five Years (Of Drug Use)

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook1Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

The Dehumanizers may not have been the first Seattle punk band, but they were the first to be labeled “infamous.” Back in the mid-eighties, Frank Zappa was battling the censorship-driven PMRC on the national stage. With their debut single “Kill Lou Guzzo,” The Dehumanizers brought the fight home. It was a glorious moment, one that more than earned the group a permanent spot in the Northwest Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame.

A little background: Lou Guzzo was the elderly curmudgeon who gave the editorials on Seattle’s CBS affiliate, KIRO TV. Guzzo had been a journalist for decades, and his voice carried a lot of weight at the time. So when he delivered his “Who Needs Punk Rock Anyway?” broadside, aimed at putting all the underage venues in town out of business, The Dehumanizers reacted with a vengeance.

“Kill Lou Guzzo” was a regional hit, and garnered the band a lot of attention. Unfortunately, their timing was just a bit off. By the time grunge and all things Seattle exploded a few years later, they were never really a part of it. To be honest, their music was never easily pigeonholed anyway. They were far too creative to be lumped into any category other than the (extremely) broad moniker of punk.

But what a glorious noise it was! For The Dehumanizers, everything was fair game: metal, bizarre spoken-word samples, concept albums, extraordinary drumming, even the occasional use of the theremin. Nothing was off-limits – which is one reason I have remained a fan all these years.

It has been quite a while since the last Dehumanizers’ album, and I thought they had finally called it a day. So it was a pleasant surprise to come across A New World Odor, a split affair between The Dehumanizers and Deep Throat.

The idea of splitting a record between two bands has been around for a long time. The first one I recall was a single featuring Motorhead on one side, and Girlschool on the other. In the eighties Beat Happening and Screaming Trees shared a four-song EP. A New World Odor is the first full-length CD I know of that has taken this approach. Featuring eight songs by The Dehumanizers, and seven from Deep Throat – P.I.G. Records have come up with a pretty nifty way to get new music from both bands out there.

The Dehumanizers cover a couple of tunes, besides their own originals. First is a smoking version of “Jazz Gone Bad” by eighties hardcore stalwarts Naked Raygun. The second is “Felony Girls” by P.I.G. label mates Potbelly. Both sound great, but for an old-school fan like myself – opening track “Spent” is essential. Utilizing the old megaphone through the microphone trick that Al Jourgenson stole from them, the guys plod through this dirty dirge with glee. As always, Infra-Ed’s drumming is spot on, it is as if he is the punk version of Charlie Watts.

“Pig Pharma” is much more typically punk, but the lads’ penchant for Zappa-esque asides is ever-present. Thank God these guys never got jaded; they may wind up as Seattle’s version of Anvil yet.

As for the lean, mean youngsters who call themselves Deep Throat – they do love their punk rock. There is a definite Cali-fornication to their brand of the genre, however. Specifically, the twin towers of Slash and Alternative Tentacles albums of the eighties. “Nothing To Believe,” and “No More Lies” are both prime examples of what this band do best. There is nothing wrong with emulating Fear and the Dead Kennedys in my book.

Deep Throat’s retro-vision fits oddly with The Dehumanizers’ continuous experimentation, but maybe that is the point. The newly released Retro As Hell: A Tribute To The Dehumanizers certainly brings a variety of approaches to classic Dehumanizers songs. Coven’s version of “Mow ‘Em Down,” next to Citizen Useless’ “Everybody Fight,” is a particularly enjoyable one-two punch.

I guess 25 years in the business is enough time to warrant a tribute album, but if you want the real thing, there is also The First Five Years (Of Drug Use). This is a double-disc set featuring the “best” of The Dehumanizers. Actually, one disc is devoted to their so-called hits, featuring such classics as “Guzzo,” and one of my personal favorites, “Grandma, I’m A Drug Fiend.” The second disc is devoted to their long out of print full LP debut, The End Of Time.

About Greg Barbrick