DWARVES / ROYCE CRACKER: Split: 7”

First, I’d like to take a moment to comment on the artwork. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but it’s really kind of ugly. It looks like someone got a hold of a copy of Photoshop 3.0 and thought it would be neat to make Ozzie and Harriet look like they’ve got rotting teeth. More pictures of rotting teeth (and a meth lab, to boot) are found on back, as well as on the insert. Meth is the predominant theme here, with (by my count) four of the five songs on the two sides dedicated to meth in some way or another. The record starts off with a live version of the Dwarves song “Speed Demon,” which originally appeared as a Sub Pop single. This version, recorded in the U.K. in 1995, is kind of quiet and kind of muddy sounding. Aside from the audio quality, it’s not a bad song. For those not familiar with the original version, think of your favorite New Bomb Turks song given a little bit of a metal makeover. The second song kind of threw me for a loop. Titled “Tweek,” Blag here raps over beats created by 7” mate Royce Cracker and DJ Marz. The rap is meth-inspired paranoia and, frankly, it’s quite good. Sonically, it is reminiscent of nerd-core MC’s (MC Chris in particular) with Blag’s high-pitched, nasally rhymes and schizophrenic cadence, alternating from the spastic to the subdued. Royce Cracker picks up where Blag’s rap left off. First track, “Doin’ Watcha Say,” is a short burst of what sounds like samples taken from a campy war movie, marching band and flute included. The second track, “Meth Stop Calling,” is an angry phone call from what appears to be an ex-girlfriend, ranting and raving over unsettling beats. Blag returns on the last track, “Who Put the Methamphetamine in Mr. Everything?” which is more of a lazy, lounge-y rhyme and rhythm than “Tweek,” though, of course, still about their narcotic du jour. Pleasantly bizarre, this comes recommended for Dwarves completists, meth aficionados, and nerd-core devotees. –Jeff Proctor

 –guest (Zodiac Killer, www.zodiackillerrecords.com)