Mike Watt The Secondman’s Middle Stand

[Columbia; 2004]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles:  rock
Others: Minutemen, Secondmen, fIREHOSE, Porno for Pyros

After spending 38 days in a fever following a burst abscess in his perineum, Mike Watt of the legendary Minutemen re-emerged with a three-piece, the Secondmen, his first band since the breakup of fIREHOSE in 1994. Watt and the Secondmen are currently in the midst of an exhaustive tour to support his latest release on Columbia, The Secondman's Middle Stand. The album is a 9-track concept piece in three movements, detailing Watt's descent into the hellish agony of his sickness and his eventual emergence into health. The bass, organ, and drums setup, complimented by Watt's gruff voice (which fits perfectly his appearance, sporting flannel and a Fu-Manchu). One really has to root for Watt, who's been keeping it real since way back before most indie rockers were born. While musically similar to more en vogue hipster bands like the Apes, it's clear that someone of the older generation is behind this work. Less a piece of edgy post punk (less so, even, than the seminal Double Nickels on the Dime) than just a weird, likeable exorcism of the artist's personal demons, The Secondman's Middle Stand's biggest weakness is that it's fairly inscrutable without having a lot of depth. It's not anthemic and it's not dancy; it's not heavy and it's not melodic. So, while Watt has produced an interesting piece of music that defies any easy touchstones of influence, he has unfortunately failed to transcend the killer live show that will certainly follow. How could something based on the Inferno be anything less than, well, incendiary?

1. Boilin' Blazes
2. Puked to High Heaven
3. Burstedman
4. Tied a Reed 'Round My Waist
5. Pissbags and Tubing
6. Beltsandedman
7. The Angels Gate
8. Pluckin', Pedalin' and Paddlin'
9. Pelicanman

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