Music

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House: Put Here to Bleed

Adrien Begrand

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House

Put Here to Bleed

Label: In Music We Trust
US Release Date: 2003-06-25
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Nashville schtickmeister Toby Keith might sing about the Angry American, but he's got nothing on Portland, Oregon's Mike D. As the singer/chief songwriter/visionary for the band I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House (what a name for a band), he's not afraid of hiding his rage, and he doesn't let up for a second. He hates rock stars, the National Rifle Association, and most of all, he despises President George W. Bush and his cadre of cronies. A former member of the US Army's 101st Airborne Air Assault division, Mike D. says, "I would gladly give my life for a righteous cause. However, making Dick Cheney and Halliburton richer doesn't make me feel any freer or safer . . . It's time to be heroes and not fucking bullies." His band's music channels that rage into some absolutely ferocious, country-fried Southern rock, and their latest album, Put Here to Bleed is one of the angriest albums we've ever come across in the past couple of years.

Sounding like the Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood with a really bad throat infection, and coming across as stubbornly liberal as Steve Earle, Mike D. rasps his way through eleven songs, ably supported by his ace four-piece band, who deliver a pummeling blend of country, hard rock, and barroom blues. And man, is this dude pissed. When a guy writes a song entitled "American Fuck Machine", you know you're in for an interesting ride. On that track, with its '70s hard rock riffs and swampy harp playing by David Lipkind, Mike D. tears at the United States government, snarling, "Lies are getting told over and over again / I'll just pray to the white god on my TV / And I won't say a word or think for myself / Hell gets rationed out to unclean things like me". "Twerp" is aimed solely at Bush and what his arch-conservatism is doing to the world, as Mike D. snidely says, "I plan to spend the apocalypse drunk and passed out on the floor". On the vicious "Things That Fail", he takes aim at "Old bastards with a pro-war attitude and them same old bastards on Viagra", while the anti-war ballad "La" takes on more of a rough-edged, hymnal tone, while still choosing not to mince words one bit.

The real keeper is the tune "Dear Mr. Heston", a scathing attack on the NRA. You'd think it's just another left-wing anti-gun rant, but as it happens, Mike D.'s younger brother was killed by another brother who was playing around with a parent's gun at home, and when you listen to the song, it becomes a powerful indictment of American gun culture, easily one of the most emotionally charged songs of the year: "Josh said I know where mama keeps the gun / She won't even know that it's gone / I took a class and I got my license / Now my little brother will never know the love of a girl / And he'll never drink a cold one / And he'll never see another sunrise / And he'll never damn sure damn sure fire that gun / Dear Mr. Heston / If you ever saw a 12-year-old boy's brains splattered on a kitchen wall / Well you'd hang your head in shame / You rifle totin' whore / Cold blooded old blooded sick ass man".

Some comic relief comes in the form of "The Ballad of Courtney Taylor", a very funny attack on Mr. Dandy Warhol himself, as Mike D. not only lays into his fellow Portlander, but also all shallow rock stars everywhere, as he growls sarcastically, "What's that shit some salami on my deli tray? / I'm gonna leak it to the Willamette Week that I'm bisexual or gay / Cause I'm a rockstar". Drawing on his experience behind the scenes in the business, his lyrics are razor-sharp; as he admits in the band's press release, "You can really see into someone's soul by what's on his/her rider".

If the music on Put Here to Bleed has a fault, it's that Mike D.'s voice lacks any discernable range whatsoever, and the fact that his ragged voice can barely carry a melody makes the album wear thin the further it goes on, but thanks to his excellent lyrics and his band's superb performance, this is still an album that's definitely worth hearing. Listening to it, you're struck with the realization that I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House seem to love their country more than the people who govern it lead us all to believe. No matter how out of tune it might sound, Mike D.'s is a voice that you don't want to be silenced anytime soon.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image