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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Sludge - Weedeater


Entertaining any discussion on Sludge will likely lead to this band's praises. Not long ago, we at Heavy Planet highlighted just a smear of Weedeater's muddy resumé. This holiday weekend, we're showcasing (and celebrating) their entire scalding catalog. If you wanna call this band a side-project, I may wanna drive my four-wheeler through your record store picture window. Dixie Dave Collins paid his dues with Buzzov*en before forming Weedeater in 1997. Things don't often get this good, and this band has done it FOUR times.

I'd given thought to what could serve as a perfect patriotic sludge record, with ...And Justice for Y'all being the holiday's only suitable soundtrack, dragging along its three fat-assed sister albums. The sound on this 2001 debut is distinctly southern, evidenced on the smoky march of Tuesday Night and the plodding, buried Monkey Junction, on which Dixie sounds like an old smoker taking a long walk down a hot Georgia gravel road. Hungry Jack plays every time some asshole throws bricks from an overpass, while Shitfire melds soaring riffs, rumbling bass, and stop/start dynamics that Page Hamilton used to build a career.

The band released Sixteen Tons two years later. While the album proudly carried the impurest of torches, some of these tracks actually got thicker and slower. Bull contains every Weedeater bayou trademark, though Woe's Me sounds like a trucker cooing into a can over bouncy acoustics. And what all-American boy doesn't love a tribute to The Intimidator? Well, Weedeater have their heroes, and 3 is driven and laced with enough NASCAR flare to keep those city boys honest.

Unapologetic noise junkie and über-credited Steve Albini produced 2007's God Luck and Good Speed, with one track taking exception. Alone (produced by C.O.C. bassist Mike Dean) is, surprisingly, the most captivating track Weedeater ever laid to tape. It doesn't have to be loud to be heavy; you'll feel these vocals. You'll dig the banjo. Weed Monkey plugs through bass and cymbals to reach a leather-belt lashing. THIS is loud heavy. And Weedeater do it as well as anyone.

Between God Luck and Weedeater's 2011 release, Jason... the Dragon, Dixie must've smoked and drank more than Tom Waits. He also managed to blow off his own big toe with a shotgun. Any band that can excuse the delay of an album's release with a story like that certainly deserves your attention, as does the album. You won't hear any delay in the dirge, you'll just welcome back the warmth of swamp water tickling your knees.


There aren't enough bands like this. Weedeater is nothing more than three free-wheelin' mudslingers who operate on their own schedules and don't rely on your response to stroke their egos. I'll never run out of elements indicating why they should play at your July 4th backyard barbecue; Weedeater perfectly exemplify southern sludge metal. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate a muggy summer holiday than playing with guns, throwing in a lipper, and listening to these guys.












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