The Upshot: Punk. Garage. Glam. Pop. Prog. The Yes Masters are in control. Any questions?
BY FRED MILLS
Kurt T. Bloch deserves better. I mean, he’s the Northwest equivalent of a fuggin’ Renaissance man, a constant presence on the Amerindie music scene since the ‘80s as a key member of groups like the Young Fresh Fellows, the Fastbacks, and assorted offshoots, plus a producer of everyone from the Presidents of the United States of America to Flop to the Minus 5/Venus 3 to Robyn Hitchcock—and an all-around bon vivant/raconteur type of inspiration to everyone who’s ever come into contact with him.
Yet his Wikipedia page—from which you can glean the same stats outlined above—is criminally lean, and if you do a search on his name and, say, “Pitchfork,” “Stereogum,” or “Spin” you’re likely to land on, at best, a notation of the Filthy Friends supergroup that he’s in with Pete Buck, Corin Tucker, Scott McCaughey, and Bill Rieflin (they recorded an anti-Trump anthem for Dave Eggers’ 30 Days, 30 Songs project last year). Well, as a teeshirt I used to own declared, fuck that trendy shit. (The music publications, not the Filthy Friends.)
The Yes Masters is Bloch, bassist Matt Scientist, and drummer Rick Foundation, and what we have with The Number 6 Is In Red is punk-and-garage extravaganza guaranteed to leave you with a sore throat and a sore wrist and a ringing in the ears indicative of looming tinnitus in your future. (The wrist part, in case you didn’t guess, would be from pumping your fist in the air for the duration of these 13 hi-nrg anthems.)
Things kick off with a lo-fi blast of an opener smartly titled “2nd Season Opener,” Bloch sweetly intoning such sentiments as, “This is where our time stood still/ Know full well most certainly it always will/ Picking up a signal from the past/ This connection definitely will not last.” That’s followed by the Ramones-a-fied “Faulty Wiring” (a mental-discombobulation title that Joey would surely salute), and that by glam-punk-power pop stomper “Fire Engine Green.” Whew. The gents are not gonna offer any moments to catch your breath, so best not drain your beer just yet, because soon enough you’re gonna get the brick-inna-face treatment via the shredder thrash of “Grave Digger Baby,” the straight-up snot-teen garage surliness of “Options 9,” and the itchy, arpeggiated rant that is “Dead End Street Sign.” Did I mention they also throw in their versions of two Prog suite (“I Love to Change My Mind” and the instrumental “Summer Theme”), complete with the best non-Brian May guitar solos you’ll hear all year?
Nobody fucking around here, by the way—but they are telling the general public to fuck off and shut up, because The Yes Masters are in control for the duration. Challenge their dominance at your own risk.
Consumer Note: Available digitally, of course, but why on earth would you take the wimp’s convenient way out when you could score this on sweet colored vinyl? Mine is on heavy-gram clear wax, and you have options of green and white as well (download included), so your course is clear.
DOWNLOAD: “Faulty Wiring,” “Every Time I Hear That Sound,” “Fire Engine Green”