Toadies: Feeler

RIYL: The Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney, Meat Puppets

Feeler was supposed to be the Toadies’ follow-up to their debut Rubberneck. But Interscope, their label at the time, didn’t like the record and forced the band to re-record it. By the time they finally finished Feeler, it was called Hell Below/Stars Above, it was 2001, and no one gave a crap.

Since then, the Toadies broke up, got back together (with a slightly modified line-up) and even released a new album in 2008,No Deliverance, which was surprisingly really damn good. So they must have thought now was a better time than ever to revisit their “lost” album, going back into the studio to re-record nine of the tracks from Feeler that weren’t retooled for Hell Below/Stars Above.

Hearing the tracks now, it’s hard to understand why Interscope had a problem with the release. Sure, it’s not going to change the world, but it stands up just as well as anything on Hell Below/Stars Above. It’s trademark Toadies, a combination of the Pixies’ quiet-loud-quiet song structure; the urgency of Husker Du; and a general WTF vibe that can only come from Austin, Texas.

People seem to forget that the Toadies are a really weird band. Seriously weird. Which in itself is weird when you think about the fact that their one hit, 1994’s alt-rock classic “Possum Kingdom,” was a five-minute mini-epic about a vampire/serial killer who hangs out behind a boat house. On Feeler we have similar tales of love and happiness, like the obsessive stalker anthem “Mine” and the brutal “Suck Magic,” on which lead singer Todd Lewis seemingly makes threatening compliments about his lover’s oral abilities. Don’t play that one for your girlfriend, guys.

Like most other bands from the ’90s who are still trudging along with new music, the Toadies aren’t likely to increase their fanbase with Feeler, but the fans that remain are sure to love this “new” record. (Kirtland Records 2010)

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