I must admit that I’m somewhat partial to the autobiographical sludge solo project. (Let’s just say that if I ever get my shit off the ground, you’ll hear it here first.) Music Blues is the nom de plume of Stephen Tanner, ex-bassist of Harvey Milk—who weren’t exactly a band of happy campers to begin with. Considering that this thing was recorded between bouts of depression and, well, I think sludge metal is perhaps the perfect medium to express one’s personal pain and suffering. Hey, it seemed to work for Eyehategod! 😉
Leadoff track “91771” was actually Tanner’s date of birth, and judging by this sludgy dirge, as well as its successor, “Premature Caesarean Removal Delivery,” it wasn’t a pleasant one. This tune lumbers and lingers like the slower parts of that Lumbar record—speaking of autobiographical sludge projects—before the birth brings with it some punishing drone sludge by way of The Body.
Suffice to say, Tanner didn’t have a happy childhood, either, judging by titles like “Hopelessness and Worthlessness,” “Trying and Giving Up” and “Great Depression,” which I don’t think has anything to do with the Dirty Thirties. That being said, this stuff’s all instrumental (aside from one weird interlude), so it conveys its message through riffs, not words.
And the album doesn’t end on a lighter note, with heavily-distorted blues number “It’s Not Going to Get Better” not sounding outta place on a more recent Harvey Milk record. “Tremendous Misery Sets In” is equally miserable, a slow-paced stomper that evokes unhappy thoughts with its ringing guitar notes. And let’s just say that album-closer “The Price is Wrong” is much more impactful than being punched in the face by Bob Barker…
Now where did I put my bass guitar?