Rebellious Jukebox XXV: Cal & The Calories vs The Screamin’ Mee-Mees

IMG_20150605_151834Originally published November 2014

And sometimes it’s good to own the 45 because, frankly, sometimes you’d maybe not be able to make it through the full length release. Maybe that little 45-sized chunk of weirdness is all you need.

Cal & The Calories is the solo project of Martin from Lumpy & The Dumpers & they/he just released the vinyl version of what I guess was originally a demo cassette. The Lumpiness shines through in the scrawled lyrics, the disturbingly innocent/creepy child-like drawings, & the nonsensical/creepy subject matter. Musically, though, it’s less howling punk & more rough-edged basement-y power-pop. The vocals are what will make or break the experience, though, sounding like a long lost Warner Brothers cartoon character, nasally slurring words like “jackhamma” into something like “jee-yack-HE-amma.” And then getting that stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Bruce Cole & Jon Ashline, a.k.a. The Screamin’ Mee-Mees, started bashing out stupidly catchy & catchily stupid songs in the basement way back in the early 70’s, so when they first heard about punk rock, they figured “Pffft. We’ve been doing that for years.” The punks never really took to ’em, but enough fans of weirdo outsider rock exist in the world that the Mee-Mees kept putting out records until the untimely passing of drummer Ashline a few years ago. 1993’s “Pull My Finger/Family Tree” 45 finds the Mee-Mees at the top of their game, running one riff per side deep into the ground, piling tons of neo-psychedelic wah-wah guitar & stream of consciousness nonsense shouting over the top. I chose this particular record to pair with Cal & The Calories because the backing vocals on this one are sped-up chipmunk high & “Pull My Finger” ends with a bunch of fart noises.

Cal & The Calories-Jackhamma

Screamin’ Mee Mees-Answer Me (sorry, no Pull My Finger on the youtubes, but this is from the same era)

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