Meat Puppets - Meat Puppets II (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Meat Puppets

Meat Puppets II (1984)


Between the years of 1984 and 1987 there were few record labels in the world releasing as many truly classic, essential albums as Greg Ginn's SST label. At this point in history, SST was quite possibly the most important influence on independent music in the United States. This is probably due in part to Ginn's tendency to sign bands that stray from the "norm" a bit, and succeed enormously in their experimentation. The legendary Meat Puppets were one of the many brilliantly unclassifiable bands on SST records.

For those of you not familiar with the Meat Puppets, they blend basic hardcore punk with everything from alternative country, folk, jazz, and blues, and the combination works much better than one could ever imagine. I myself am no fan of country in any form, but I adore the Meat Puppets, so don't let that description put you off. Their greatest and most legendary album is 1984's Meat Puppets II which is, obviously, the second Puppets album after their more straight up hardcore-orientated debut. This is the Meat Puppet's Zen Arcade; it's brilliant and groundbreaking from beginning to end.

Some of my personal favorites off this album are the quirky hardcore blast "Split Myself In Two," the amazing and grim "Lake Of Fire" (which gained much popularity in the mid-nineties when Nirvana covered it along with two other tracks from this album), "Magic Toy Missing" is a hyperactive, country-flavored instrumental, and "Plateau" has an almost "Fugazi-ish" sound to it (yes, I know this album was released 3 years before Fugazi's formation).

Everything on this album, from the tight musicianship to the deliciously off-key vocals (and huge influence on Kurt Cobain's vocal style), is a landmark. If you don't own it yet, go out and get it NOW. There's no excuse not to have this record, along with the rest of the records from SST's "glory days."