Butthole Surfers
Independent Worm Saloon


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sean H. USER (128 Reviews)
March 3rd, 2019 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chapter 7: Selling out with style.

With the grunge revolution and Nirvana’s popularity now in full swing, it was the time for all of Kurt Cobain’s favorite artists to get their gross, shit-encrusted feet in the proverbial door. An important thing to note, though, is that making a record that landed on Cobain’s top 100 didn’t guarantee you chart crossover - after all, Daniel Johnston and Shonen Knife never got top 40 hits - so groups like the Surfers’ still had to make quite a few concessions to popular trends if they wanted to expand their horizons. And, while it’s not their peak in terms of popularity, Independent Worm Saloon’s success is nothing to sneeze at - Number 154 on the Billboard 200, Number 6 on the Billboard Heatseekers, and “Who Was In My Room Last Night?” was a minor hit on the Modern Rock charts. But what’s so impressive about Worm Saloon isn’t how popular it got, it’s how well the Surfers integrated their eccentricities into alternative rock without sacrificing quality. If anything, it reinvigorated their sound.

Worm Saloon finds the Surfers at their catchiest, most anthemic, and most presentable (it was produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones for Christ’s sake), but not quite out of their comfort zone. Anyone who bought this for “Who Was In My Room Last Night?” will surely be in for a surprise when they hear the sonic fuckery featured on the helium-vocaled “The Annoying Song,” the bizarrely groovy “Alcohol,” or the putrid, vomit soaked “Clean It Up.” But still, the general vibe of this album isn’t deranged, inbred noise rock; its punchy, overdrive-heavy rockers (“Strawberry,” “Dust Devil,“ “Dog Inside Your Body”) and the occasional acoustic song (“Naked Man,” most of “The Wooden Song”). But, unlike most attempts to cash in on popular trends in music, this record is incredibly and surprisingly tight, with fluid jock jams and bangers made for one’s driving playlist. But still, its weird after hearing all of the bullshit this band pulled before signing to Capitol, isn’t it? The guitar solos are technically proficient, the sonic effects play more to building strong songs, the band is co-operating in a traditionally rock ‘n’ roll way, these are all traditional concessions actively avoided in the past. Say what you will about the past Surfers’ records, the last descriptor to pop in your head would be “meat and potatoes.”

But this dish of meat and potatoes is one of the better plates this diner ever served. In other words: Independent Worm Saloon is easily one of the standouts in this very long discography, especially if you dig that dingy 90’s alt-rock sound. There’s something especially good about this one though, it’s alt-rock through the lense of Gibbytronix, years of drug (ab)use, and a band that seemed way too strange for anything close to crossover success. Even this album, seemingly carried by the MTV play and commercial use of “Who Was In My Room?,” feels like more of an underground hit, with its eclecticisms and the frantic-as-always vocals, but here it was, the Surfers as minor fluke rockstars. The mere fact that a band with a sodomy joke for a name was on the Billboard chart proves just how fertile that time period was for airplay.

But, no matter how much this seemed like a fluke, this wouldn’t be the end of the public’s glimpse into the Butthole…



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user ratings (187)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Pechorin (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
March 3rd 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream the album here: https://open.spotify.com/album/74xinIrhpnjl3XdynXAUOo?autoplay=true&v=L

Chapter 7...

Previous Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78999/Butthole-Surfers-Pioughd/

Next Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/79306/Butthole-Surfers-Electriclarryland/

100 reviews!! Here’s to 100 more!!

ArsMoriendi
March 3rd 2019


27938 Comments


Never got to this one...

have you re-checked Widowermaker?

Digging: Shuggie Otis - Freedom Flight

Bloon
March 3rd 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i sampled it and nothing really caught my ear, ill go back to it in full today tho

get on this one chief

AsleepInTheBack
March 3rd 2019


6066 Comments


happy 100th mate

ArsMoriendi
March 3rd 2019


27938 Comments


@Bloon: honestly "Booze, Tobacco, Dope, Pussy, Cars" is one of my faves by them

Bloon
March 3rd 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you asleep!

Kompys2000
March 3rd 2019


3392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice, it's the one Surfers album I actually own and have listened to in full! I found this at a thrift store for 75 cents back in 9th grade and it pretty much single-handedly got me into punk and noise rock.



Good review Bloonster, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Electriclarryland and Weird Revolution.

Digging: Your Infamous Harp - Prah Suomafni Ruoy

Bloon
March 3rd 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thank you! i look forward to writing 'em

Bloon
March 3rd 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ars, jammin widowermaker now, its better than i remember but i dont really have enough to say about it to review it

ArsMoriendi
March 4th 2019


27938 Comments


Damn, fair though

Maybe i'll review it heh

Bloon
March 4th 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

go for it

Allergist
March 4th 2019


586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is a classic for sure.

Kompys2000
March 4th 2019


3392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I always forget how long this album is. I feel like they had a full album's worth of really good left-field alt-rock/punk tunes and then felt the need to throw in an extra ~20 minutes of classic Surfers-style fuckery to appease the hardcore fans.

Bloon
March 4th 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This really doesn't feel as long as it is

Kompys2000
March 4th 2019


3392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It doesn't drag nearly as much as a lot of albums over an hour do (COUGHCOUGHswansCOUGHCOUGH), but it's not quite as airtight as, say, Locust Abortion Technician.

Bloon
March 4th 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Few records are

AcidCaravan
March 4th 2019


463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. Even if not reaching the levels of past insane milestones, "Psychic...Powerless..." and "Hairway To Steven" on top of them all.

Drifter
March 5th 2019


16293 Comments


Congrats on 100 reviews Bloon! For some reason I love reading every part of this series despite never listening to them.

granitenotebook
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2019


970 Comments


great review as always bloon

Bloon
March 6th 2019


3031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys !



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