Man, I’ll totally admit to liking grunge before it got a name, around ‘89/’90. The basic idea was take Black Sabbath and Black Flag, fuck around with it, and wocka wocka, new takes on what was mostly becoming stale hardcore or “maybe this Sunset Strip butt rock isn’t so great to jump onto right now” bands. (Fugazi and Big Drill Car being quick-to-remember exceptions.) It wasn’t punk rock’s proudest hour, to be sure. But, through a distillation process, Black Wine are celebrating the good stuff of what would come to be labeled as grunge. I imagine Jeff Schroeck’s brain to be like that vodka still in TV’s M.A.S.H., taking simple potatoes and making rocket fuel. For the precise, direct heat on the record, I imagine Miranda Taylor’s drumming like a Bunsen burner. It’s also far from ponderous shoegaze and that’s evident in the “Mmmm, delicious stew!” bubbling of J Nixon’s bass. Black Wine are somehow able to arrow through the bummerisms of early ‘90s “we’ll wear our hair down and put away our dude makeup” rock, shake out all the dubious shit, and reveal these shiny, glistening gems. It feels like I’m listening to Tad doing a duet with non-”Ouch! Hot stove of oppression!” Babes In Toyland. This is a sneaky record in a musical world rife with landmines. I look forward to future listens.
–todd (Don Giovanni)