Tad: 8-Way Santa

This re-review is generating a significant amount of cognitive dissonance for me. Not only did I recognize very few of the songs on here, I don’t know if I ever would have even guessed it was by Tad if you’d played it for me blind.

The biggest differences between what I’m hearing and what I have plugged into the Tad memory slot of my brain are (1) this isn’t blisteringly heavy all the time, and (2) that vocal is much higher pitched than I remember and than it is on the Salt Lick/God’s Balls compilation. There’s heavy in here (e.g., “Trash Truck,” “Stumblin’ Man”), but the best songs are the ones with a lighter touch and even, gasp, a singable vocal melody. “Candi,” with a strong minor shading, is my favorite. “Flame Tavern” and “3-D Witch Hunt” are more reminiscent of Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden’s side project Hater than anything I’ve heard from Tad.

You have to wade through a bunch of mediocrity at the top of this disc to get to the gold that runs pretty heavily from the very melodic “Flame Tavern” (track six) through “3-D Witch Hunt” (11), which prominently features acoustic guitar, which is pretty much enough cognitive dissonance right there to make my head explode.

Rating:
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Mix: “Flame Tavern,” “Trash Truck,” “Candi”
– “Jack Pepsi,” “3-D Witch Hunt”
– “Jinx,” “Giant Killer,” “Wired God,” “Delinquent,” “Stumblin’ Man,” “Crane’s Cafe,” “Plague Years”
– “Hedge Hog”
Filed Between: Tad’s Salt Lick/God’s Balls and Inhaler
Song Notes: After the jump
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Throneberry: Squinting Before The Dazzle

Make it stop. Make it go away. Bury this in a deep, dark place, and don’t let anybody find it ever. Alternately boring and annoying, Throneberry is a terrible amalgamation of brit pop, bluesy hair metal (think Cinderella or Aerosmith), and whatever genre hacky radio-friendly alt-country crap like Third Eye Blind is.

“Stolen” is the highlight of the record, a song I can legitimately enjoy and, if it weren’t completely surrounded by tripe, might engender some positive feelings in me. The four open hearts are either harmless or mix in a good riff with some annoyingly hackneyed tripe. And then there are the six broken hearts. God, this is awful.

Rating:
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– “Stolen”
– “Squint Before The Dazzle,” “Let’s Hear It For Decay,” “Shut Up,” “See Me Off”
– “Summerschool,” “Guerilla Skies,” “Shepherd Song,” “Down At The Foundry,” “Isn’t It A Pity,” “Quinnipiac”
Song Notes: After the jump
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Tad: Salt Lick/God’s Balls

A while ago, Tad singer and guitarist Tad Doyle tweeted something about how a snare drum should sound like an ominous thunder clap. I like my snare sound tight and fast, so I didn’t really get it even though Tad is one of my favorite bands. Now that I’ve gone back to listen to this collection of some of their earlier work I get it. A big part of Tad’s sound is the pummeling of a snare drum that sounds almost like an extra punchy tom.

Salt Lick/God’s Balls, as its name suggests, combines two earlier Tad releases on Sub Pop. The first six songs are the Salt Lick EP and the last seven are culled from the ten songs that made up the God’s Balls LP. In between the two you’ve got the “Loser” single. Yes, that’s the inspiration for the Sub Pop “LOSER” shirts.

Somewhat surprisingly, this mash up works really well as a whole. The sequencing isn’t quite right, for obvious reasons (you could probably have a superior experience just putting it on shuffle), but conceptually and sonically it all works together. One thing that doesn’t make sense about this release is how it’s missing three tracks from God’s Balls. This came out in 1990 on CD and cassette only, so it would have been no problem to fit those in.

Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, especially the former, are often held up as the metal sides of the grunge scene. Tad’s there, too, but in more of a dirty, grimy, Cookie Monster-vocal kind of way as opposed to the arena-friendly sustained chords and melodically hooky guitars of the other two. Tad’s kind of like Sex Pistols meets Melvins. This collection could use a few more hooks, but that’s asking something of them that they’re not. This is a fantastic set of music.

Rating:
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Mixers: “Wood Goblins,” “Potlach,” “Loser,” “Satan’s Chainsaw”
– “Axe To Grind,” “High On The Hog,” “Glue Machine,” “Behemoth,” “Pork Chop,” “Helot,” “Sex God Missy,” “Cyanide Bath,” “Boiler Room”
– “Hibernation”
Filed Between: T-Ride (T-Ride) and Tad’s 8-Way Santa
Song Notes: After the jump
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Programming Notes

1) The last album eligible for the 2013 Clownies and the 2013 mixes is Sweet Relief.

2) I ended up with 325 full-hearted songs from 2013. Which is way way way too many to sort through to create my mixes. So from here on out I’m adding back mixers as a category of songs where full-hearted songs go to be considered for the year-end mix.