Vinyl Vlog 418

Vinyl Vlog 418

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Saturday, 29 February 2020
COLUMN

The Muffs
No Holiday

Right now I can’t think of a sadder story and a bigger regret in my life than the Muffs. That’s a lot for one sentence, I know, but thinking about this band is a lot for me. Musically, you’d be doing yourself a favor by checking them out. Start with Blonder and Blonder, both a nod to Bob Dylan (I think) and a perfect representation of their music. It’s punk rock, but not too offensive, but definitely weird, super catchy, cool as shit, harder than most, but perfectly at home on the radio. It’s like the Ramones where one thinks why they’re not on the radio all the time. The Ramones have had their due, but the Muffs? Maybe now we can start paying more attention.

The world lost one of the greats last year when it lost frontwoman Kim Shattuck. When I first heard about it, the first thing I thought was, “Oh, MAN, I never got to see them live.” Yes, I’m THAT selfish. But then I realized how the world had been robbed of some amazing music, because Kim Shattuck never stopped. When she was diagnosed with ALS years ago, her focus was to finish a record. Keep in mind, at this point, she couldn’t play chords on a guitar. There’s a haunting candid photo of Shattuck showing her hand to bassist Ronnie Barnett telling him how she couldn’t use her hand the same way. That haunting photo sticks in my head for some reason. Kim Shattuck was definitely a fighter, and she sure as hell was going to be remembered for that.

That’s what makes their latest album so bittersweet. It’s a testament to human determination, and it’s just SO good. Everything about No Holiday is beautiful. First off is the sound. No Holiday sounds like demos that have been reworked into completed songs. The end result is a nice crisp sound with raw elements all over. One can only imagine that these were Shattuck’s demos, recorded as single tracks, with the rest of the band accompaniment added later. The end results are full of personality. But then of course, there are the songs themselves. Eighteen songs full of that Muffs sound we love: short and sweet pop punk tracks, that distinctive Kim Shattuck scream, and melodies you can’t get out of your head. No Holiday is full of super strong numbers, like Down Down Down, a Lovely Day Boo Hoo, On My Own, and The Kids Have Gone Away, which I’m willing to bet will bring a tear to your eye. It’s all right there: prime Muffs.

No Holiday is a wonderful testament to a dedicated and talented artist, and proves that Kim Shattuck was full of the right stuff even in her final days. Long live the Muffs.

Owning this album on anything but vinyl would be an abomination. Omnivore as put out an elegant edition, on gatefold sleeve, pressed on a double LP with an etching on the D side. It’s the definitive way to own this album. Get it from Omnivore.

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