Melvins / Totimoshi - Suicide in Progess (live) / Waning Divine [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Melvins / Totimoshi

Suicide in Progess (live) / Waning Divine [7-inch] (2011)


The past two or three years have given birth to an interesting trend of product-based companies putting out records by semi-underground bands not for the purpose of turning a profit, but to gain some hipness in which to affix to their respective products. With releases by Nobunny, Vivian Girls and the Spits, Scion has been pushing this strategy fairly hard. Likewise, Volcom has entered the fray of limited-release 7-inches with releases by Best Coast, Cerebral Ballzy, and even the mighty Melvins. (Scion actually put out a Melvins record last year, too.)

But no matter the motive of the respective companies, fans of the associated bands do get some pretty neat collectors' items that might not otherwise be available in this dismal music market. As part of the Volcom single series, the clothing company has put out this limited split release between the Melvins and Totimsohi.

The Melvins side, a live cut of "Suicide in Progress", functions as a companion to their latest live album, Sugar Daddy. As with Sugar Daddy, the band rampages through one of their newer songs, loading up on both heaviness and energy. While the Melvins at times have been a straight-up punk band and a slow-burning drone band, this cut features the band combining the two elements, rumbling like a tank flying by at top speed. Between the thickness of the sound and the fact that they seem like they might fly off the handle at any moment, it might be the band's best incarnation yet.

The flipside features Totimoshi, who are both pals of the Melvins and influenced by the wacky quartet. Echoing back to the Bullhead days of the Melvins, Totimoshi's "Waning Divine" opens with quiet, floating strings and whispers until it builds into an undulating, deafening grind. But while early Melvins might be an influence, this isn't purely Melvins aping. Continuing the band's trend of paying homage to their Native American roots (I think), the band seems to describe a wizened shaman in both their lyrics and astral-reaching sound that clangs as much as it soars.

In this damaged economy, bands are doing almost anything they can to stay afloat without sacrificing their art. If it takes "hip" companies to sponsor bands in order to get weird, neat music like this, then maybe it's the lesser of many evils we have to pick if we want the modern experimental band to survive.