Singles Going Single #24 - Menthol "USA Capable" 7" (1995, Capitol)
Urbana, IL's Menthol started out life as the otherwise non-descript and less than impressive, Mother, before changing their name and going for the gusto on a marvelous, self-titled album for Capitol Records in '95. "USA Capable," kicked that album off in style, in all it's assaulting and visceral glory. Prodigious in the classic rock sense, but none too impervious to the "alternative" dogma sweeping the nation, Menthol brought to mind Soul Asylum to this set of ears, although I believe that to be coincidence more than intention. Their album was one of the more unaffected major label offerings of the decade, and despite their off-kilter inclinations and frank songwriting, Menthol's conveyance of their tunes was nothing short of eminently powerful.
An anomaly to say the least, the album stiffed, and dedicated listeners were forced to wait some seven years for the tongue-in-cheek, digitally-glazed followup, Danger: Rock Science on Hidden Agenda Records. The b-side, "Crystal Keg People" is exclusive to this single. For further convincing, you check out some Menthol rarities here.
A. USA Capable
B. Crystal Keg People
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Menthol had spent a ton of Capitol's money recording Danger: Rock Science! before getting dropped, but they weren't able to get their masters, so they had to re-record the album. I've heard a few of the original versions and they were considerably better than what was released.
Menthol in 1998 at Central Tap was about the most head-turning thing I have ever heard. Pity they never really got their due.
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