MERCHANDISE / DESTRUCTION UNIT / MILK MUSIC: Split: LP

A musically diverse three-way split featuring some of underground music’s most intriguing and hardworking acts. First up is Florida’s Merchandise who, it seems, have been unrelentingly releasing records and touring the country since their inception. “No You and Me” glistens with Jesus And Mary Chain synth melodies while vocalist Carson Cox’s Moz-esque harmonies pull you in like the gravitational pull on the moon and keep you blissfully in place for the duration of their two songs. Destruction Unit from Arizona are new to me in the sense that I’ve seen and / or heard of these cats for some time but never got around to listening to anything by them. Two tracks of thundering, guitar-heavy, mid-paced punk with just a touch of rock’n’roll snarl. 400 Blows’ explosiveness collides with the darkness of the Damned or Sisters Of Mercy. Rhythmic, loud, and above average use of guitar effect pedals solidifies their two entries as winners. Washington’s Milk Music, I must say, seem to redefine themselves with every subsequent release, though I’m not quite sure it’s a good thing. The potential for an energetic and engaging listen on the opening track “Effigy” soon gives way to a listless, endless jam but, thankfully, the second track, “Thrashing in the Unknown,” is a little more like the Dinosaur Jr.-loving Milk Music I’m more familiar with. Their final offering is a cover of Johnny Thunder’s “You Can’t Put Your Arms around a Memory,” and I really hate to admit this but Guns N’ Roses probably did a better job with their version on The Spaghetti Incident? I’m on my second spin of this disc and even though the Milk Music tracks are destined to be not my favorite of theirs, I have to admit that the listening experience as a whole only seems to get better and better.

 –Juan Espinosa (540)