Metal Flake Mother

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For a couple months in the early 90s I interned at my college’s radio station (KLA) and the guy running the place was this gent with long flowing locks named Ned Raggett. He asked what bands I liked and I said the Pixies and he said oh then you’ll probably like this and he gave me BEYOND THE JAVA SEA by a band called METAL FLAKE MOTHER.

I’m telling you this because it turned out to be one of my favorite albums of all time and yet, unlike my other favorite albums, it feels pretty slept on? Usually I’m like hey dudes have you heard Remain in Light or whatever and everyone’s uh yeah we’re familiar with it thanks for the newsflash.

From what I know, Metal Flake Mother was from Chapel Hill and put out just the one album and then the drummer went on to do something in the Squirrel Nut Zippers. MFM does not sound like SNZ (yay!) and the Pixies influence is definitely there (the opener “Tongue Long” is a pretty direct rip) but generally MFM is more surfy and reverby, the singing more croony than shouty.

You ask me, every single song has something going for it, either hooks upon hooks or an unexpected twist or a creepy turn of phrase. There’s raveups, ballads, a couple short instrumentals that somehow transcend being filler. The band was super tight and the guitarist (who I think is dead now RIP) was a miracle, always catchy and surprising.

Anyway just wanted to spread the good word and thank Ned for giving me a free copy ten million years ago. I don’t see it streaming anywhere but all the tracks are on YouTube if you want to give it a shot.

orifex, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 19:59 (two months ago) Permalink

Huh. I wish I could remember this conversation! Anyway, you're quite welcome.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:00 (two months ago) Permalink

(Also I was so not running the place. Just pitched in to help and/or hung around a lot regardless of my shifts.)

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:01 (two months ago) Permalink

Well you SEEMED very important! I think my intern job was to listen to, say, a Widespread Panic CD and pick which songs the DJ should play? I was also very important.

orifex, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:07 (two months ago) Permalink

Well one tries. And yes, that sounds like an intern job! Which is indeed very important.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:10 (two months ago) Permalink

Great record - they had Jim Malthus, one of the principal guys behind Squirrel Nut Zippers, though there's isn't much similarity.

bendy, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:26 (two months ago) Permalink

I know I bought this record way back when, I believe via mail order? I'm trying to figure out why I did it. Some Camper Van Beethoven connection? Or maybe just the presence of Lou Giordano?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:30 (two months ago) Permalink

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