Acid Bath, When the Kite String Pops (1994)
I’ve been riding some ’90s regression pretty hard the last few weeks (months) or so. Not claiming I was cool enough to be down with Acid Bath‘s When the Kite String Pops when it came out on Rotten Records in 1994 — and neither were 95% of the people who’ll tell you they were, or the band would’ve been huge — but the vibe suits me pretty well now, its pre-genre take on sludge feels less hedged in by aesthetic than a lot of what came later, as it inevitably would. Formed a couple years after Eyehategod in Louisiana, Acid Bath were sort of lumped in the same scene, but there’s more going on than slowed-down hardcore on When the Kite String Pops and its 1996 follow-up, Paegan Terrorism Tactics, a heavier-edged post-grunge head-down malaise coming through in the vocals of frontman Dax Riggs on “Tranquilized” and any number of other cuts throughout the record’s overwhelming peak-CD-era 69-minute span. I’d call it unmanageable, but the album’s actually worth paying attention to across that time. You figure out a way to manage.
Whether it’s their Nola compatriots in Eyehategod, Soilent Green or even Crowbar, Acid Bath tapped into a vibe that no one else of their ilk and era quite captured in the same way. Eyehategod, more drugs. Soilent Green, more grind. Crowbar, slower. But it’s the fact that they found their own niche — clean vocals, flourish of keys, etc. — that I think has sustained Acid Bath‘s cult following more than two decades after the fact. Of course, guitarist Sammy Duet can now be found in Goatwhore with Soilent Green‘s Ben Falgoust, and Dax Riggs has garnered some measure of a following as a solo singer-songwriter, but after the death of bassist/backing vocalist Audie Pitre in 1997, Acid Bath went on for a while but would never get to putting out a third record. As such, their two offerings retain an individual mark on the fertile heaviness of New Orleans in sound and overall vibe, even if they’re something of a footnote commercially compared to later acts.
Hope you enjoy.
I’m in Maryland tonight and tomorrow for the Vultures of Volume fest, and it starts in less than an hour so I’ll keep it brief. It was a hell of a trip getting here between waiting three hours for AAA to come pick up The Patient Mrs.‘ car last night at a rest stop on the side of I-95 in Massachusetts that we found out later was named “Pickle Park” after all the dudes meeting there to have sex in the woods. It was not the Thursday evening I’d planned, to say the least, and well, if you’re meeting people at a rest stop to get it on and that’s your thing, okay, but it made for a weird three-hour feeling of intrusion on my part.
Got to Connecticut a little before midnight, crashed, and continued south this morning, stopping in Jersey to pick up a camera and lens I rented only to find out that I couldn’t afford the $2,000 hold they were apparently going to put on my credit card. I don’t have a $2,000 line of credit, and they couldn’t split up the sale over different cards, so I have my regular camera instead of a nice, fancy one for the fest. Felt great. Really. Really great. Really made that 80 minutes I drive each way to work every day — not today, obviously — feel worthwhile. Feels awesome to still be broke while I work to support someone else’s financial interests.
So needless to say I’m in the perfect headspace to go rock out for the next seven hours or so. Should be a blast. Gotta remember to hydrate. Gotta remember the ibuprofen in my bag. Sore feet I’m just gonna have to deal with — forgot to bring supportive footwear; sandals it is — but the rest I should be able to reasonably control, including the much-needed attitude adjustment.
Hold nose, dive in.
Reviews on Monday and Tuesday? Maybe Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on Labor Day celebration and how much I’m feeling like opening my laptop. We’ll see.
Wherever you’re at, please stay safe and have a great weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.