Why I still like spanking machine

8 Apr

Combing through old vinyl I was more than pleased to see my copy of Spanking MAchine by Babes in Toyland is still in awesome condition. I gave it a quick play and it all came rushing back ( I have it electronically as well but somehow ..).
Anyway I wouldnt ever say its my favourite album ever but it is one of them. I must have listened to it 100s of times in my late teens. I had a t-shirt with the angel clown thing on which finally disintegrated hiking round Europe 4 years later.

But why do I like it , what does it give me other things dont.
Just putting the first track on ” Swamp Pussy ” theres a pulsating beat , the guitars drag you down , maybe your being sonically mugged , your not sure where your going and then this vocal kicks in. Is it a scream , a schriech , a growl. I dont know or care , it puts you on edge – you know where shes coming from. Then the chorus ” Cease to exist ” I get that message . You just dont mess with these guys( Girls ).

Dont take my word for it , by the end theres the raw guitar cuts that feel like a chop across the head

Then theres just track after track of attitude , raw vocals , emotion , cool drums and bass and mean guitar licks. Try ” Vomit Heart ” if you want to know what early 90s rock should have been all about.The theres Dogg , sung by the ever so cool drummer ( see below ) which should be awful but isnt .

Still not convinced try ” Dust Cake Boy ” if that was on In Utero everyone would have nodded sagely.Or if Jack White tried it everyone would clap . And thats the thing , music is still a bastion of sexism. It okay for women to do the pretty stuff , but not the boys stuff ..utter rot of course but as a band they never got the recognition they should have, or perhaps the breaks. Much of that ” grunge ” scene stuff was utterly sexist and dressed up as smart arse for being so ( hard to articulate but your with me )

So for me Spanking Machine just stands up to the test of time , and Babes in Toyland were a wonderful band live ..no theatrical performance just raw music. With a slight danger edge. I must have seen them far too many times over that short period. I once got some banter with one of their entourage about my hair at a gig , this turned into a running joke for the night with the wonderful drummer who abused me from the stage …I was on side for a short while ! Yes she actually liked my red mowhawk.

The latter albums though good never quite got the same electric feel as the first one , I drifted away but it still has a place in my heart. If my daughters were ever in a band Id want them to be in one as good as Babes in Toyland , ready to kick you hard with a big drum and guitar. That is a compliment !


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