Snailbones Tinnitus Alrightus LP

Three session musicians from Portland get together with vague ideas of forming a band. One dude is really keen on starting a NIRVANA tribute act. He’s “nailed” his Kurt impression and thinks it would be funny to name the band DUMB, but then put in much smaller letters “a NIRVANA Tribute Act.” The other two are considerate friends—they pretend to mull the idea over, but gently encourage everyone to keep thinking. Ultimately, they decide they should try their hand at doing originals. Stuff that sounds like a mix of their favorite bands—X, L7, MISFITS, DEVO, and, sure, even NIRVANA. It doesn’t matter that they’ve never written songs before, they’ll figure that out along the way and have a ton of fun in the process…or at least that’s how I imagine the SNAILBONES story goes. That would at least explain how this LP of slick-as-shit-sounding, cringe-inducing grunge-punk came to be. Does not explain how it ended up with this title, though. Yikes! To be fair, it does genuinely sound like they’re having a good time, and that’s not nothing. Still, this was a tough one to get through.

Snailbones Keelhaul ‘Em All LP

There is definitely noise here, though more punk than noise and more rock than punk. The guitars are a hard rock via grunge variety: blues riffs with the sensuality replaced by sludge. They’re supported by solid and occasionally very left-field drumming. The album seems cut down the middle to me. The first half features a few more awkward FLIPPER-style dirges, while the second spends a lot of time filtering pretty, saccharine tunes through a mesh of early ’90s Sub Pop angst. According to their Bandcamp page, Steve Albini will record their next album, which seems like a good fit.