I’ve been a big fan of Jello’s former band, Dead Kennedys, for about as long as I can remember, and followed his career through his various musical team-ups and spoken word albums. I’ve found the Melvins to be sort of hit and miss over the years (amazing the one time I saw them live, though!), but still hoped for great things from 2004’s first collaboration with Jello, Never Breathe What You Can’t See. I was not disappointed. I like this new release quite a bit, too, but it is strange. Sieg Howdy! features remixes of several tracks from Never Breathe… (“The Lighter Side of Global Terrorism,” “Dawn of the Locusts,” “Enchanted Thoughtfist,” and “Caped Crusader”), an Alice Cooper cover (“Halo of Flies”), an updated live version of the Kennedys’ classic “California Uber Alles,” retitled “Kali-fornia Uber Alles 21st Century,” and only four new songs. Be warned: the printed track list is wrong. Hopefully that will be fixed on subsequent pressings. The remixes aren’t really as strange as might be imagined, which makes me wonder why they bothered to include them. The new songs are great, and I’d have liked to hear more of them. But in any case the music is generally not far from the Melvins’ faster-yet-still-sludgy best moments, and Jello’s singing has changed little, so everything is at worst pretty cool and at best fairly awesome. And the lyrics are, as expected, interesting, even thought provoking (“Wholly Buy Bull” -seeing is no longer believing), reading. If JB and the boys are at a loss for new material, which sort of seems to be the case here (with the remixes, and so on…), then may I suggest a live album next time? These songs seem to almost demand being heard live anyway. I know that I’d certainly love to see that show.
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