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Album Review: Milk Duct Tape – Styrofoam Tombstone

Milk duct tape

Styrofoam Tombstone

KFMH (99 Plus!) out of Muscatine was the default radio station for a lot of Iowa blue-collar rockers back in the day; it was hippy-dippy enough for Deadheads, hard enough for headbangers and eclectic to a fault. Milk Duct Tape creates the kind of music that would have been in heavy rotation on KFMH — straight up rawk. Now that KFMH is streaming on the Internet, maybe they’ll get their chance.

Lead songwriter Dan Bobek’s roots are a bit more recent than pre-punk ‘classic’ rock; he wears his love for bands like Nirvana and the Screaming Trees on his flannel sleeve. But there’s always a place for every style of music if it’s well made and vital on it’s own terms. The grungy riffing on the opener “Black Stained Heart” from their new album Styrofoam Tombstone may be old enough to have a kid in college, but it’s not 1992 anymore. In the present context, it’s fresh. It isn’t sampled and it isn’t ironic. It just rocks.

They can really play too. Adam Clayton drums like he has anger issues and poor impulse control, and Bobek is a connoisseur of guitar fuzz tones. There’s even a multitracked star turn for Clayton on cowbell in “Land Locked Beach.” In a musical environment saturated with irony, quotations of imitations and over-compressed machine beats, Milk Duct Tape is keeping the dream of hard rock music alive. Even if it isn’t your thing, it’s too good (and too loud) to ignore.

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