Most Valuable Play: Odonis Odonis

Odonis Odonis talk about their essential albums.

Most Valuable Play Odonis Odonis

MVP features artists and their favorite albums.

This week we cornered self-described “industrial surf-gaze” trio Odonis Odonis and were pleased to get words from two of the three band members. The guys are currently on tour with similarly raucous trio METZ, so we’re grateful that they found some spare time to dish on some of their favorite albums.

Make sure to also check out the guys’ blistering EP Better, which was recently released by Buzz Records.


By: Dean Tzenos

This is pretty much an impossible question for me to answer because I don’t have just one favorite album. So instead, I tried to think of what influenced me most when trying to form the idea of Odonis Odonis… Skinny Puppy became inescapable. This band didn’t just leave a mark on me—it was more like a bloody gaping wound. When I first heard Skinny Puppy, I was far too young to understand them on every level, but the music scared me enough to be strangely aroused by it all.

This is a band that wasn’t afraid to take risks, break the mold and be hard without needing guitars or hardcore clichés. While bands like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Ministry broke into the mainstream, Skinny Puppy never really got there despite having paved the way for all those bands. They had one of the craziest theatrical, horror inspired and controversial live shows that blended performance art with music. While Marilyn Manson played up the one-dimensional shock rock angle, there was a message behind Skinny Puppy’s madness: animal rights, politics, religion, drug abuse, disease and environmental degradation. Their on-stage theatrics included Ogre being suspended from racks and cables, playing with a hangman’s noose, raw meat, key cutting steel with an angle grinder, and mock executions of Ogre and George H.W. Bush.

Cleanse Fold Manipulate is a solid record front-to-back, but it also lacks a lot of big tunes. I almost picked ‘Bites’ because it’s a killer album that arguably had the band’s biggest hit, “Assimilate”. In my opinion, this is where Skinny Puppy started to really establish their signature sound. I also almost went with Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse as my Most Valuable Play. It has the most tracks that I still go back to even years later; “Dig It” takes the prize as my all-time favorite Skinny Puppy track. Trent Reznor admittedly took a few cues from this hard-hitting tune on “Down In It” from Pretty Hate Machine. While this might be a cop out, I ended up choosing Skinny Puppy’s The Singles Collection. It really is a great introduction to anyone even vaguely interested in the band’s catalogue. They aren’t the easiest band to digest in one listen, so the collection acts as a gateway drug of sorts.

You can go back and revisit Skinny Puppy records and they aren’t laden with ironic paste like so many other 80s acts. It might not be easy listening, but it’s definitely still a mind bending and inspiring experience.


By: Jarod Gibson

Splatt.

That’s how it starts.

The flattest, driest snare/floor tom sound ever recorded to tape. Then, for the next 2 minutes and 38 seconds you are dragged/marched through some sort of weird musical goo. By this time, most rock songs are finished. However, in “Hey King,” the opening track to U.S. Maple’s first album Long Hair in Three Stages, this is just the start of the jokes. If you haven’t been forced from the room yet, it’s at this point that a kinda rock song emerges. But damn, it’s so absurd and fun I grin every time. And it’s one fantastic, abstracted rock music piss take after another for the next nine tracks.

I sometimes read reviews of this album and a common reaction is that of confusion and skepticism. Fair enough. I still recall the first time I saw them live. Every expectation about what a rock band was supposed to be and sound like was not just thwarted—it was crumpled, cut up, slapped back together with lousy gum and spit, paraded around and mocked with such severity that I had no choice but to laugh out loud. Pat Samson with his faked cymbal hits and snare spazz outs, Mark Shippy teetering back and forth mechanically with one eye peeking out between his long, swept bangs, Todd Ritman and his unsettling, jeering grin turning around at a well-timed moment to reveal a HUGE grass stain on the back of his white suit, Al Johnson sulking off in the corner like a shitty tough guy wearing the fucking weirdest sweater…When it was over I didn’t know exactly what had just happened but I knew that SOMETHING had happened.

It basically changed everything.

The album was originally released in a special limited metal cover which, for those in the know, is now legendary. I scored one off eBay last year. I pull it off the shelf every now and again just to remind myself, “Oh yea. Fuck you rock music. I love you.”

P.S.—This album is set to be reissued (in the classic metal cover!!) on Skin Graft Records soon.

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