I like music. We all like music here, right? That's cool, man, real cool.
» VIEW BLOG EthanSpielman's
AckAckAckAck on 10/11/2010 at 05:05PM
The Urinals are the embodiment of punk, assuming punk is about doing what you want (as opposed to, I don’t know, spray painting an anarchy symbol on your denim jacket and being impolite to cops). They began as a parody act making fun of punk (presumably the provocative-jean-jacket-wearing, cop-offending kind) at a UCLA talent show. They wrote short, simple songs (dubbed “punk haiku”) with no more than two chords and recorded them in glorious low fidelity, but out of necessity, not affectation. (While they embraced minimalism, they also couldn’t really play their instruments, and charmingly rough as their early recordings may be, it’s also a given, considering they were college students in 1979.) Their songs just happen to be some of the most wickedy intelligent, sardonic, bizarre, and plainly fun art-punk ever recorded. They display a surprising amount of range, too. They're often (goofily) aggressive, off-kilter, and primitive, but just as often display a knack for melody. For further evidence of this, look at some of the acts they've influenced--both the Minutemen and Yo La Tengo have covered them ("Ack Ack Ack Ack" and "Black Hole," respectively). Thankfully, they've reunited, so perhaps I can cheat being twenty years old and see them one day.
Enjoy this in-studio session from Terre T’s Cherry Blossom Clinic, which features several Urinals classics and along with a handful of songs from their later incarnations. (If you like "Strip Club," look into 100 Flowers, the less rudimentary, more melodic, but equally enjoyable version of the Urinals.) And while you’re at it, pick up the retrospective Negative Capability…Check It Out! Even if you don’t thank me later, I guarantee you’ll have a few songs stuck in your head.