I have raved a bit about the stuff coming out on PNKSLM lately and one can't hardly blame me for cranking up the hype machine when discussing this stuff. The material on Punk Slime Recordings seems genuinely transgressive and yet it's all simultaneously been fairly listenable indie-pop. The folks behind this Sweden-based label have been doing a remarkable job at scouting out this stuff and now one of their early signings is back to up the ante.
The new record from Black Mekon, One In The Hate, out Friday, is a blistering slab of bad vibes that swaggers between a Nuggets-inspired sense of fast-and-dirty garage rock and a whole lot of sinister intent dressed up as something approaching the kind of post-punk thrown up by The Birthday Party and The Boys Next Door in decades past. If opener "Janey Was A Klepto" soars with a nearly-conventional melodic roar, the unhinged bluster of "Natural Disaster" and the white boys-trying-to-be-Howlin' Wolf skonk of "Salt Liquor" are something else entirely. This is dangerous stuff, kids, and as Black Mekon burns down the world ("Rats Out") and then pens a love song to croon atop the rubble ("I Just Really Wanna Be Your Man"), one forgets bands that have trod this path before (The Gun Club, early Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) and gleefully grooves along with this lot instead. At their very best, Black Mekon modulate this attack so that certain cuts, like the nearly-lovely "Hold On To Your Hate", achieve the kind of mood that late-period Royal Trux mastered so well. And that is to say that this is worn, dirty stuff but it's played with a lot of youthful spark. And what's here that can be clearly traced back to earlier models of inspiration is still fresh and fiery, and the sort of music this world sorely needs more of.
If the other bands on PNKSLM have been pushing at the more expected edges of the alt-rock umbrella, leave it to the guys in Black Mekon to burrow underground to find out what the Devil is rockin' out to. Unsavory and unhinged, One In The Hate is a glorious racket throughout. Fans of early Led Zeppelin, anything associated with The Birthday Party, The Gun Club, and early X should love this record as much as I do. Dig it!
[Photos: Uncredited promotional pictures]