Anna Minard, our city hall reporter, claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we're forcing her to listen to all the records that music nerds consider important.


Meat Puppets II


I'd like to invite you to a Never Heard of 'Em original event. See, when I get assigned music, I spend serious time with it. I want to understand it, feel it. If I love it, it often becomes my soundtrack for the week. If I hate it, I listen to it even harder, trying to understand why. I feel like I owe it to the music, since I have no other background or credentials, to give it a lot of attention.

Until now. I am about to write this column during the time it takes to listen to the Meat Puppets' Meat Puppets II one time, and then turn it right in. Why? It's simple: This page has to go to the printer in a couple hours, and I just found out I was writing it. I have a CD, decent headphones, and a tall iced tea. Let's see what happens, shall we? I present to you Never Heard of 'Em: Live and Unedited Edition!

Track one, "Split Myself in Two": It's loud and fast drums and guitars. Dude, slow down, I can't understand you! Something about his pocket, getting shoved, there's a girl named Mary Lou, and something about his shoe. He's gonna split himself in two. Distortion. This sounds like a normal rock song just turned up to twice the speed.

Next: "Magic Toy Missing" is like a country song, also at double speed. Genuinely wondering if my computer is playing these songs too fast. Also, is that the theme of this album? Just go through all the genres played at hyperspeed? I can't wait for classical and reggae!

Track three, "Lost," also sounds like a country song. He's singing about the freeway. What the fuck is going on? Who names their country band the "Meat Puppets"? Wanna know who doesn't like names like that? People who wear overalls on dates, that's who! Bandanna me this one, people. It's like a barn polka in these here headphones. This is the longest song on the album, at three and a half minutes, so we're just gonna blaze right on through! Running out of space, though, so I'm keeping each track real short.

"Plateau": Hey, NIRVANA! "Aurora Borealis": '90s instrumental slow dance. "We're Here": TV foreshadowing. "Climbing": Banjos + feelings. "New Gods": Punk screaming, burbling guitar, Mexican Coke. "Oh, Me": Slow, tickling sweetness, whiny infinity. "Lake of Fire": Nirvana again! Holy shit, did Nirvana just rip off their whole thing? "I'm a Mindless Idiot": Pickup-truck ride for your ears. "The Whistling Song": Um, whistling, duh.

And that's it! David Schmader just walked by and gave me a Meat Puppets lesson: "It's back from the time when punk meant doing whatever you wanted. The really scary punks didn't play by any punk rules, and that was the punkest thing of all. If you wanted to be a punk country band, you just did it."

Wait, I'm having a thought. Are we all just... meat puppets?!? Is that what that means? GROSS, DUDES.

I give this a "quickies are the best" out of 10. recommended