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Saturday, May 08, 2010 

The land of pleasant living

On the one hand, after listening to it again last night I'm ready to say that Clutch's Robot Hive/Exodus is one of the best records I've ever heard, truly muscular and propulsive hard rock (or whatever you want to call it) with surprisingly deep reserves of humour and wisdom; but on the other, the version I listen to on my iPod is minus "Small Upsetters," "Tripping the Alarm" and "Gravel Road" (it does include "Slow Hole to China," though). Normally when I alter stuff for my own consumption (like, say, taking "Crew Filth" off of the end of the otherwise stellar Code: Selfish) it's to remove stuff I don't really consider essential and I still feel comfortable talking about the album, but do I really love Robot Hive/Exodus if I only love it with a little of the fat trimmed off?

You still love it - there are so very, very few perfect records that have neither fat nor flats; denying love to the ones with only a hiccup or two is a rationing of affection that just makes you a cold, cruel man, which you are not. Though I like Robot Hive, I think the follow-up, From Beale Street To Oblivion, is their true masterpiece. Less jammy, more ZZ Top.

Ha, thanks! That's a fair point. I just put Beale Street on my iPod, I do love "Power Player" and "Electric Worry" but am not used to the whole thing yet. What did you think of the newest one?

I have noted your new blog and plan to get caught up on it as soon as I can, sir...

[sorry 'bout the delete - some wonky formatting problems]

I liked the new one, but it seemed a bit of a holding ground record after the growth from Blast Tyrant -> Robot Hive -> Beale Street. The lose of keyboard player Mick Schauer, who featured prominently on the latter two of that sequence, is noticeable.

I'm kinda kicking myself for not seeing them when they came through a month or two ago; I just didn't have the funds. Everyone says if you like the records you'll love them live - they are reportedly quite a monster of a live band.

I seem to remember them on a bill back in the day, but nothing stood out enough to separate them from hundreds of bands I saw in the early to mid-90s.

I found out that they played the city I work (not live) in beginning of April... last week. I probably would have gone. I only know the recent stuff but the live show sounded pretty fun... shame they lost the organist, though, for sure.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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