Monsterland were a love at first listen proposition. Too bad so few had their ears perked when Danbury, CT's finest took their big collective dive with the woefully overlooked Destroy What You Love album, which all but sank without a trace in 1993, save for college radio. A lot of young hopefuls during Monsterland's era (specifically the early '90s) were serving up a similar scalding cocktail of crunchy, feedback-ridden guitar squalls with a keen melodic awareness, but not many brought it together quite as powerfully as they did. That album, a pair of just-as-convincing eps, and a clutch of singles bearing such classic sides as "Peanut Butter Karma," largely flesh out Monsterlands recorded legacy (outlined in thorough detail on this superb fanpage), but one piece of the puzzle that even many completists I'm sure are lacking is this rather scarce, cassette-only release. As the testimonial goes on the aforementioned Monsterland site, pretty much the only place to obtain this sweet miniature reel-to-reel was through Trash American Style (aka TPOS) in Danbury, a store that was featured front and center in the 2010 record store die-off documentary, I Need That Record!, but per usual, I digress. In any event, I was in luck, because Trash was kind enough to offer mailorder.
By no means the centerpiece of Monsterland's catalog (which, yes, I celebrate in it's entirety), Smile gives us a sneak peak into the trio's latent potential, that would blossom into some true moments of genius not far in the offing. And when I say trio, I'm speaking in terms of the none-too-dissimilar Husker Du and Dino Jr. Smile boasts a roughhewn, lo-fi aesthetic that frequently recalls Superdrag's early, indie attempts, such as The Fabulous 8-Track Sound of... I should note that the tape featured an array of in-between song samples of corny TV and movie dialogues. I decided to cut them out as they served no relevance to the music, nor would it have made my editing job any simpler. In short, if you've already heard Smile, that's why they're absent from my rip, and if you haven't, trust me when I say you aren't missing a damn thing. Incidentally, the write up on that Monsterland fanpage I mentioned indicates that Smile was apparently recorded at the wrong speed, and therein I suppose lies much of the magic.
01. Get Out of My Head
03. She Has a Gun
05. Twice at the End
06. I'm Telling You
The Mermen "The Mermen at the Haunted House" 1994 - It is raw, powerful and as sinister as a big wave at Maverick's point. Jim Thomas thrashes out churning, feedback rich lead guitar over the rock-steady, dr...
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