Welcome to another edition of Sounds from the Cave. As I write this, a volcano in Iceland is spewing huge clouds of ash and disrupting air travel all over Europe. In honor of this glorious event, I have chosen an album by 80's Boston band, the Volcano Suns. These guys formed out of the ashes (ha!) of another great band, Mission of Burma. Like a lot of other indie groups of the era, the Volcano Suns combined catchy melodies with loud, distorted guitars. They did it better than most, though, and had a sense of humor to boot. But what really separated this band from the rest of the pack was the fact that they had a singing drummer. This is remarkable because singing drummers are almost always a huge liability; two examples that immediately come to mind are Night Ranger and Phil Collins-era Genesis. In both of these cases, the drummers were so busy singing that they were unable to fully rock out on the drums, thereby causing them to play limp-wristed power ballads. This was not the case with the Volcano Suns--these guys played kick-ass, balls-to-the-wall rock n' roll. (That's right, I said "balls-to-the-wall.") So they broke the mold, so to speak.
The other thing that distinguished this band was their propensity for butt-ugly album covers, as evidenced by the image above. Just look at that eyesore--you're likely to burn your retinas before you even get the record out of its jacket. With album art like that, it's no wonder these guys never made it big. And on that note, I'll leave you with a question: What is the ugliest cover you've ever seen on an otherwise great album? While you're pondering that, here's a selection from Bumper Crop: