It was somewhere around 2005 when I happened to be listening to a random alt-rock internet radio station. I recall hearing a song start off with a simple, heavy bass lick and snare; followed in succession by guitar squeals, distortion-soaked riffing, and finally, the shrill lyric, "My love is bigger than your love. We take more drugs than a touring funk band, sing it!" It was noisy, it was heavy, it was full of attitude. I was hooked within seconds.
The song, "To Hell With Good Intentions," was from the album Mclusky Do Dallas. Once I heard the song, I was compelled to immediately buy the album, and I was blown away. It had an original sound—with driving, aggressive music and thoughtful, witty lyrics. It had so many qualities I find lacking in music I hear these days. It had passion.
The album had been released a few years earlier, and by the time I discovered it, Mclusky—a noise trio from Cardiff, Wales—had already recorded one more album and, sadly, called it quits. As short-lived as they were, Mclusky left a legacy of unique and inspired music.
The album was recorded by noise rock legend Steve Albini. Albini is famous for his own bands—Shellac, Rapeman, and Big Black—as well as recording many seminal alt-rock classics—including Nirvana's In Utero and Pixies' Surfer Rosa. Albini seems to have a way to help musicians express their true sound, stripping down all the production and filler. On Mclusky Do Dallas, the band sounds raw and so full of energy they might explode. With song titles like "Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues," "The World Loves Us and is Our Bitch," "Fuck This Band," and "Alan is a Cowboy Killer," Mclusky shows off a quirky wit that's peppered over the entire album.
I also have to mention that the album is full of great hooks; I have to believe that in some better alternate reality, people in 2002 listened to this instead of bands like Nickelback, Linkin Park, or Jimmy Eat World. I'd be willing to bet the alternate 2014 has better music as a result.
When you distill it down, this album is a collection of catchy, irreverent songs from a very powerful power trio. They have been a big influence on my band, as well as many other musicans I know. Sadly, they're not around anymore, although guitarist/vocalist Andy Falkous' current band, Future of the Left, continues the great musical tradition he set down on Mclusky Do Dallas. You owe it to yourself to check this out, it may very well be the best album you've never heard of.