Friday, December 03, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 209: Seaweed - Spanaway

By: March

Album - Spanaway
Artist - Seaweed
Key Players - Clint Werner - guitar. Aaron Stauffer - vocals. Bob Bulgrien - drums. Wade Neal - guitars and vocals. John Atkins - bass
Produced By - Adam Kasper and Seaweed

Release Date - August 22, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This was a band that I was made aware of via a CMJ New Music sampler. Over the last few years I've been slowly tracking down the full lengths from bands on those cds that struck a chord with me. I actually have 2 copies of this for some reason...both have a price sticker of 1.99 on them. Musta been a heck of a deal!

Overview - This is the fourth studio album and first on a major label for Tacoma Washington band Seaweed. The band had released independent records prior to this, including one on the seminal "Sub Pop" label before going to the majors. Signed towards the tail end of the grunge movement the band was put in a rough place, selling a style that was starting to fade from the public conscious. They'd disband, but reform a few years later.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album kicks off with a bang on "Free Drug Zone". Everyone is playing, there is no intro it just opens up. The vocals are raspy to fit with the music. Stauffer and Neal work in tandem on the verses and leading to the chorus. Bulgrien keeps the tempo in check, with a hard hitting, but simple back beat. The guitars are big, full of heavy chords that done over power the rest of the music. The bass could be up in the mix some, but when you are dealing with two guitars and drums it can fall by the way side. As we mention that everyone settles some and Atkins gets to run the bass down towards the guitar solo and final run at the chorus. A single guitar comes in with drums at the start of "Crush Us All". Bulgrien keeps a marching tempo before the full band hammers down. We hit full rock mode and the band takes off. Stauffer doesn't have this fancy voice but it fits the style of the music for sure. The guitars are cutting with the drums at times and we get some big cymbal crashes to put the accent on the tune. This is a pretty straight up rocker of a song. The single from the record comes in "Start With". This is one of those "pay off" songs. The guitars bass and drums at the intro are a little slow and sort of plodding. Then a single guitar goes with the same series of notes before the vocals start. The bass does a few notes here and there as the guitars begin to swell. The payoff? The chorus! When they shout "Start With!" the band fully comes in. You hear the punk/grunge sound the band was known for. The chorus is infectious, you'll sing until you are hoarse. The song has a good tempo change, reverting back to the feel of the intro before it swirls back around for another, sung at torrid pace, verse. It keeps the same formula, but it works. Great tune. "Common Mistake" keeps with the pop/punk sound. Atkins bass gets more a push on this track. The guitar line chugs along but the bass pushes the track. Easily the "fastest" song on the record up to this point. The guitar/bass and drums are working as one, a strong push on this track. The big guitars return, or continue on "Magic Mountainman". The guitars work in unison before Bulgrien hits down and Stauffer comes in. There is still a big sound, but its a little more laid back. There are really no flashy guitar solos, instead the band continues to work on an overall "big" sounds which is nice. Atkins works some bass harmonics on "Saturday Nitrous" as Stauffer jumps in. The song is a little slower at first, before it opens up. Werner strikes his guitar with a vengeance whole Neal and Bulgrien continue to be a tour de force, keeping a heavy and torrid pace. The band has a big, loud and chaotic run to close out the song. The bass and drums chug again at the start of "Undeniable Hate". The second guitar buzzes over, but the bass, guitar and drums from the first part hold things down. The band in in full rock mode per the norm. Again, steering clear of any flashy solos, the band just hammers as a collective unit. "Defender" begins with solo drum work and the bass comes up for a moment before the vocals kick off. Many of the songs really do feel and sound the same as the record passes. It is not a bad thing mind you, but there are moments when you will long for something a little unexpected. "Assistant (to the manager)" and " Punchy (the clown)" continue the same rock style. Punchy has more distorted vocals and seems less focused than Assistant resorting to heavy effects on the vocals, its also done in about a minute. The punk style guitar comes up strong again on "Not Saying Anything". You get to hear the good tandem of bass and guitar, with the bass having a good punch to it. Even though vocals have been in tandem for much of the record, it stands out on this track. The two gruff styles blend for a strong push and the track seems to gel based off the vocal delivery. The pace of "Last Humans" is right up there with the fastest on the records. The guitars are strong and once more the bass gets that cool punchy, yet "ring" to it. This is really the final song as "Peppy's Bingo" is a sort of an instrumental, guitar tone 50 second track that just winds you down.

Where are they now? - After two major label albums the band called it quits in 2000 to only reform in 2007. Not a lot has happened but on 2011 the band is slated to release a new record "Small Engine Repair". From what I have been able to find Bulgrien has left the band.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take - If you are looking for some great straight up rocking pop/punk with grunge tossed in there this is a band for you. The track "Start With" sets the tone. If you like that, you'll like the sound of the band. If not, well I missed out with you on this one.

The band on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed.

Magic Mountainman
Not Saying Anything
Start With

The album is out of print, but it is not too hard to find used. You can try here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

Great album and still one of my favorite t-shirts, even though it's looking a little tattered now.

Can't believe these guys weren't bigger!


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