The story of Spielgusher is one of death and delays (so it’s appropriate that this review is 9 months late! But hey, they just sent it to me now). In the 80s, groundbreaking music critic Richard Meltzer (who wrote The Aesthetics of Rock in 1970) and a young Mike Watt had planned an album of Meltzer poetry backed by the Minutemen’s music, but it never came to pass because of D. Boone’s death. Finally a year or so ago, Watt stumbled into some dudes from Cornelius’s band in Japan, and almost in the spirit of “let’s get this over with,” they spent a quick weekend recording over tapes of poems Richard had recited in 2004. Was it worth waiting 30 years for? Well, On the one hand, this does feel a bit thrown-together, not just musically but poetically, too—Meltzer has always been an honest late-comer to literature and the skill of writing, but I assume it was his stylistic choice here to stay simple, surface-y. Or maybe he wrote each poem the moment before he recorded it? A lot of them are about bodily fluids, like piss and menstruation, or gross sex stuff (e.g. “Fuck Awareness Week,” “Fuck My Sister”) that would make Charles Bukowski blush, and not just with moral indignation. But mortality is now catching up with Richard, too: in perhaps his most moving poem, Meltzer wonders about a ticketed car that hasn’t been moved in days: is the owner sick? Or dead? It’s an oddly disturbing work. Like reaching old age, it’s hard to know whether this album is a pinnacle achievement for Meltzer or a melancholy coda.
-D. M. Collins