It's Always 1999

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The official, shiny silver disc debut for Mindflayer was 2003's Take Your Skin Off, but like a lot of underground groups bubbling up from their basement lairs (Wolf Eyes, Kites, et al.), there were more than a few tapes and CD-Rs in Mindflayer's subterranean past, and It's Always 1999 is one of them. It originally appeared in 2001 and it reappears here in 2004 thanks to Load and those fans of Lightning Bolt eager to hear more of drummer Brian Chippendale. Those who discover Mindflayer by way of Lightning Bolt won't be disappointed one speck by It's Always 1999; it's full of the nervous blastbeats and distorted vocal rallies that populate Wonderful Rainbow and Ride the Skies. So the beats are identifiable, but beyond that, Mindflayer is very much its own beast. The foil for Chippendale's dyspeptic percussion is Matt Brinkman, also heard under the moniker Meerk Puffy and with electronic cavemen Forcefield. Brinkman's electronics blend with the drums in a series of staccato triggers that sound like a laser shootout in a storage closet on "5 Minutes of Sporadic Beats," but can also wash over and around them in fuzzy sheets of noise, as they do on "Cyclone Ride to Animal Town." The two approaches meet in a very heavy middle on "Revenge of Whales/Whale War" and "1999 Animals Revenge," which turn out to be some of the best tracks on It's Always 1999. The fidelity? Eh, if that's a concern then Take Your Skin Off might be the place to start; this is a strictly lo-fi affair recorded by the band in its practice space. It might take a sonic step backwards in audio quality, but It's Always 1999 is still listenable, enjoyable even, and worthy of its reappearance.

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