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- Bitch Magnet by Bitch Magnet
9/10 Mike Staff review, 01 December 2011
Wow! Temporary Residence is a long-time favourite label of mine and with releases like this I can't see that changing any time soon. Originally released between 1988 and 1990, the three albums neatly contained in this set helped turn rock music on its head in the early days of the grunge revolution. With a crunchy sound that's as visceral as it is cerebral, it's easy to hear their influence in countless bands of today - the likes of Harvey Milk, Shellac and Don Caballero are among the luminaries who have quite clearly supped from this particular vessel. While their influence persists to this day, their records were never quite so easy to get hold of, so this anthology is a very welcome update for those of us who were a little too young first time around (I was a mere seven years old when they called it a day). As if that wasn't enough, they'll be playing for the first time since 1990 at the Battles-curated day of next weekend's All Tomorrow's Parties festival, so this has dropped just in time for us to catch up on the tunes and be familiar enough with them to rock out properly when the time comes. They mix the basic neanderthal tone-worship aspects of the best '80s noise rock with a melodic focus and restrained sense of pace that has aged astonishingly gracefully. If I'm listening to Umber right now and even if this had come out yesterday it'd be rocking the shit out of me. I started off with Ben Hur, which had a more instrumental-heavy Harvey Milk-esque feel (astonishing considering when it was made), and now this one is coming across with more of a Tad-meets-Arcwelder vibe. The musicianship is great and the tones are so punchy and ragged. Brian and Phil both agree the original pressings were much tinnier than these so I guess they've really benefited from their remaster. There's some bonus unreleased cuts on here that have been mixed by the very competent John Congleton, too. Listening to Star Booty now and it's a bit poppier. I was wondering why they were being cited as an influence on Superchunk until I got to this. Now it all makes sense. All these albums are totally rad, like really wicked awesome, and their release is a timely reminder of how freaking brilliant these proto-grunge pioneers really were. Mega excited about seeing these guys now.
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