Pure punk energy, as expected
Jumpstarted Plowhards is the result of two longtime friends finally deciding to work together. Bassist Mike Watt is best known for his work in the early 1980s for the punk trio Minutemen, but after their singer’s death and the band’s subsequent break-up in 1985 he’s done a variety of different projects (Dos and fIREHOSE). Most notably, he became the bass player for Iggy Pop’s band The Stooges for around a decade starting in 2003. The other half of the duo, singer/guitarist Todd Congelliere, also cut his teeth in punk, both for his previous band F.Y.P and current one Toys That Kill, though his biggest claim to fame is being the owner of the independent record label Recess Records.
The two men first met when Watt’s bass duo toured with FYP in the early 1990s, and after continuously bumping into each other on various tours and projects over the next 25 years, they decided to collaborate and start a new band called Jumpstarted Plowhards. The group’s first album, the aptly named Round One, has just hit stores.
Right off the bat, one of the more fun aspects of Round One is that all eight tracks have different drummers playing on them. Most of them come from Watt’s and Congolliere’s previous projects, such as former Minutemen and fIREHOSE drummer George Hurley and current Toys that Kill drummer Jimmy Felix, but there’s also a surprise appearance by former Hole drummer Patty Schemel.
In true punk fashion, the album’s eight songs clock in at a grand total of 18 minutes, with many of them being shorter than the band’s name. It’s loud, angular, raw and chaotic, with shouted vocals and a gleeful lack of any sort of time feel. The album’s opener, “On the Counter” is probably the catchiest moment, while small openings of innovation appear on the Led Zeppelin-sprinkled “Makin’ It All Settle Down” and the Clash-style singalong “Commie Klara.” Besides those, the rest of the album is mostly noise with a few melodies here and there.
It’s obvious that Congelliere and Watt are having fun on Round One, but this album isn’t going to make any real dent beyond their niche market. At this point in their careers, they’re probably fine with that, so Round One effectively serves its purpose.