Album Notes - Adrianne Lenker - Songs and Mr. Bungle - The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo
Take a little test and match your answers: Adrianne Lenker or Mr. Bungle?
A. During quarantine with an acoustic guitar on an 8-track
B. With the rhythm guitarist from Anthrax and drummer from Slayer
2) Recorded by:
A. The lead singer of indie darling Big Thief
B. A group releasing their first album since 1999; a re-recording of a 1986 demo
3) Song titles include:
A. "My Angel" and "Half Return"
B. "Anarchy Up Your Anus" and "Spreading the Thighs of Death"
A. Again, the lead singer of indie darling Big Thief
B. Mr. Bungle; all other music is basically silence
If you guessed that for all of the above "A" was Adrianne Lenker and "B" Mr. Bungle, congrats and pat yourself for either being in the "better to be lucky than good" category, or for having a modicum of reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.
On October 23, Adrianne Lenker dropped Songs, a pretty damn good collection of those things referred to in its title that sounds more akin to those once-a-decade gorgeous, heartfelt acoustic Neil Young records than any of the four from the group Lenker fronts, Big Thief, who despite their prolificness and moments of beauty, have never sold me completely. While "Two Hands" was one of my absolute favorite songs of 2019, and I thoroughly enjoy a number of others throughout Big Thief's catalog, overall I've been underwhelmed and occasionally bewildered as I read the continuous rave reviews from professional scribes. Yet here, Lenker strips it all down and lays bare, more so than usual, for the world to see, creating something captivatingly familiar.
And on the other end of the spectrum...Mr. Bungle. At this point a special shout out is in order to Sir Erik Johnson, without whom the words "Mr. Bungle" would mean nothing to me, other than perhaps mistakenly thinking it was a snarky nickname applicable to every general manager of a professional Minnesota sports team in my lifetime. Mr. Bungle is best described as "just listen to Mr. Bungle." Words like "eclectic," "metal," and "experimental" are likely to follow. The California collective put out three albums in the nineties, each spaced four years apart. They then seemingly disappeared, never to be bungled from again. That is until February 2020, when they reunited for a few live performances and to re-record their 1986 demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, released October 30. If this re-recording is your first exposure to the Bungle, please dive into those 90s records. They are one of the very few groups about which "one of a kind" actually applies. The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is also, by far, their most straightforward release. It is both outrageous and somehow "simplified" compared to everything they did before.
While these two diametrically opposed artists are unlikely to be for everyone, may you recognize something in both you can appreciate.
Adrianne Lenker - Songs
Mr. Bungle - Videos are few and far between