Mekons - Heaven and Hell: The Very Best of the Mekons | RECORD STORE DAY

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Heaven and Hell: The Very Best of the Mekons
Artist: Mekons
Format: CD


Label: Cooking Vinyl Records (USA)
Catalog: 315
Rel. Date: 09/28/2004
UPC: 750078031528

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1. Hard to Be Human
2. Ghosts of American Astronauts
3. Where Were You
4. Hello Cruel World
5. Millionaire
6. Chivalry
7. Memphis Egypt
8. Oblivion
9. Work All Week
10. Olde Trip to Jerusalem, The
11. Fletcher Christian, (Sometimes I Feel Like)
12. Hate Is the New Love
13. Neglect
14. Last Dance
15. My Song at Night
16. Empire of the Senseless


1. Curse
2. Big Zombie
3. He Beat up His Boyfriend
4. One Horse Dub
5. Snow
6. Brutal
7. Building, The
8. Prince of Darkness
9. (A Dancing Master Such as) Mr. Confess
10. Poxy Lips
11. Out in the Night
12. Dancing in the Head
13. Johnny Miner
14. Insignificance
15. This Sporting Life
16. Never Been in a Riot


Art rock. How else to describe the Mekons? This ragtag band of trans-genred subversives commenced operations in the late '70s as punk provocateurs-tellingly, founding members Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh were art students-only to embrace everything from synth-rock to Celtic soul, ultimately transmogrifying into roots-rockin' twang-slingers well before the term "alt-country" was coined. Had the Mekons not been so willfully schizophrenic their commercial trajectory might've been different; the now-defunct Option magazine used to painstakingly detail the group's ongoing career misfortunes in its "Mekons Watch" column.

Aside from several rarities collections, this 2-CD set is the first systematic overview of the Mekons' oeuvre to date. Arranged non-chronologically, it reaches all the way back to their '78 debut EP ("Never Been in a Riot" is a crude, snarky punk sendup) and is as current as this year's punk rock ("Work All Week," whose folky, faux-island arrangement is about as unpunk as you can get). In between, the group's stylistic bloody-mindedness is on full display: atmospheric dub ("One Horse Dub," 1990), psychedelic reggae ("Dancing in the Head," 2002), fiddle-driven country-rock ("Last Dance," 1985), even anthemic pop that, in a parallel universe, Madonna might've covered (1993's "Millionaire," lusciously cooed by resident diva Sally Timms). Granted, this all-over-the-map quality didn't do the Mekons any financial favors. But it did endear them to underground music aficionados everywhere. Not for nothing was one of their albums titled I (Heart) Mekons.