Covered With Mulch
The Mulchmen's cassette-only release featuring
cover versions of surf favorites and an entire side of Link Wray classics! Rooted Magazine
of Austin, Texas called these recordings "some of the finest Link Wray cover tunes
ever made, deftly conjuring up Link's instro-rockabilly style... Get this before it's
gone!". Proceeds from the cassette are being donated to the Tim Taylor Memorial Fund.
CRINGE (Columbus, OH)
GOOD COP BAD COP - Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet's "Good Cop Bad Cop" is delivered with intensity and drive. Edgie surf for the Comedy Central generation. The intro is more a progressional thing, but the main melody is excellent. Full round tones, and precise playing. Excellent work, boys!
BUSTIN' SURFBOARDS - The Hollywood Tornadoes had their lone minor hit with this song. The Mulchmen give it a lighter treatment, less mean and smoother. The whammy dips are replaced by a three note sequence. The break works really well. Nice arrangement.
SHAKE SOME EVIL - Another Shadowy men on a Shadowy Planet song, sad an detectivist, moody and skulking in the shadows. Big drama and minimal complexity. Very nice.
HARLEM BY THE SEA - Again from Shadowy men on a Shadowy Planet, this really a variation on an old standard called "I Cover The Water Front," covered so well by among others the Viscounts. Spirited and fun, but lacking the charm of the vibrato-induced Viscounts take. The Shadowy Men enhancements take this into a more rock territory.
CECILIA ANN - This is a pretty straight slight modernization of the original Surftones track, closer to that than the Pixies or Chachi Bobba Fett & the Wookiee covers. It's edgie and modern, but reverent.
RAWHIDE - Link Wray's classic cowboy onslaught, moderately paced with spunky intense guitar, ringing with slight distortion, and driven with lots of edge.
COMMANCHE - Grinding mid-tempo rendering of the Linkster's oft-covered chord progression rifforama. Big and well delivered.
SLINKY - Totally cool version of Link Wray's tune. This is a fine balance of tribal fun, Link Wray intensity, and throbbing intrigue. Excellent track. I've often wondered if "Slinky" was named after the toy or a slinky female. Certainly the tribal strip-walk drums say femme fatale, and I think it slightly predates the advent of the amazing Slinky I loved so as a child.
RUN CHICKEN RUN - Covered by more than a few (including Los Straitjackets), this is edgier than most, less barnyard and more back alley, mean and playful.
JACK THE RIPPER - Using a melody line from Led Zeppelin in some pretty cool places, this stellar version of Link's best (IMHO) instro composition drives with a clean stripped down feel, major energy, nice subtleties, solid percussion, and a relentless and well phrased bass. Some of the variations on the arrangement and melody line are really cool. Among the best 50 covers... ok, there are a lot, but I love 'em all. - Phil Dirt
ROOTED MAGAZINE (Austin, TX)
The album was put together in support of the Tim Taylor Memorial Fund, an organization founded to help out the family of a prominent Ohio musician Tim Taylor. Taylor died tragically in an auto accident some time back. Recently, the band, helped out by Big Beef producer Andy Valeri, went into the studio to cut an all-covers album that reflects the group's influences. The result is "Covered With Mulch"; an 11-song, cassette-only release worthy of attention. I usually shy away from albums chock full of covers because surf bands seem to record the same old 60s tunes over and over. I mean, Who wants to hear another version of "Baja" or "Miserlou" revisited? However, once you pop this in your tapedeck, you'll find that the Mulchmen's prowess and intensity provide a notable exemption.
"Covered With Mulch" starts off with the Shadowy Men classic "Good Cop, Bad Cop".; It's great to see that now after the breakup of the much loved Canadian trio that bands honor the Shadowy Men's repertoire. For the uninitiated, Shadowy On A Shadowy Planet started out in the mid-80s merging classic surf sounds to punk and new wave rhythms with their trademark sound (remember the "Kids In the Hall" theme, or as it's better known "Having An Average Weekend". The Mulchmen also do the Shadowy Men's take of "Harlem Nocturne" called "Harlem By the Sea" as well as the spooky slow grunge of "Shake Some Evil."Also the band gives new life to the Tornadoes' "Bustin' Surfboards" and the Surftones' "Cecilia Ann."
The B-side is dedicated to guitarist Link Wray. Covering classic tracks like "Jack the Ripper," "Comanche," "Rawhide" and others, the Mulchmen deftly conjure up Link's signature instro-rockabilly style. For purists, these are some of the finest Link Wray cover tunes ever made (note: the album "Louder Than Dirt" featured the theremin fury of Link's "Ramble". The highlight of the B-side is the Mulchmen's ripping version of "Jack the Ripper." "Jack" kicks of with a grinding guitar riff borrowed from Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" then rocks for four-plus minutes! During the track, Kizirnis lays waste to his guitar with shredding velocity and improvisational tricks. The new version pays tribute to Link's original in a way that I haven't heard before. My advice is to get this before its gone!
No word yet as to if these tracks will appear on any future Mulchmen releases. The word out is that these cassettes are in short supply. I believe that once surf fanatics get ahold of these they'll really sell. If the music isn't enough of a motivation to buy the tape, then thought that the proceeds of the album will be going to help out the family of a well respected Ohio musician should sway you. The Mulchmen have done it again. - Brian Parrish
EVERYBODY'S NEWS (Cincinnati, OH)
NEW GANDY DANCER (U.K.)
CORE KILL ZINE