Datura Blues / Mindless Thuggs – “Untitled”

OK, I’m not even sure this album has an actual name.  Not only are the jacket and spine untitled, but both labels on the record are just black with no writing.  No album name… no track lists… no nothing.  So basically I had to make one up, and Untitled seemed as good as any.  Fortunately the etchings in the runout indicate which side is which, otherwise it would always be a coin flip.

Initially I thought this entire album was by a band called the Mindless Thuggs.  What little I’ve found online about them indicates they were formed on the other side of the state from me, in lovely Spokane, Washington, back in 1994 before eventually moving to this side of the mountains.  It looks like they’re still active in the Seattle bar scene, but that their recorded output is supposedly limited to a couple of cassettes, which makes this record even harder to figure out.  There is an insert that indicates the recording was from a live show at the Blue Moon Tavern, a Seattle institution, in December 2006, but other than that I have little or nothing to go on.  Was this some kind of a sample?  Was it ever available for sale at shows?  I don’t know.  A second flyer inside the jacket that shows a burned out building and reads, “Factories don’t burn down by themselves… they need help from you.  Learn to Burn.”  The band has pages on MySpace and Facebook, but neither appears to have been updated in the last few years.  I emailed the address included on the insert but got a bounce-back… so this may remain a mystery for the foreseeable future.

But in doing some further research, I looked into another band mentioned on the Mindless Thuggs insert, the Datura Blues, and on their bandcamp site I found a reference to a split 12″ they recorded in 2007 with the Mindless Thuggs, and as an added bonus the site had one of the songs available for listening.  Lo and behold, it matches the opening track on side A!  So that explains a little about this album, as well as the flip side of the insert which has a trippy drawing and some poetry, but nothing that clearly indicates it is related to the Datura Blues unless you happen to recognize their logo at the bottom.  Datura Blues are a sort of psych band out of Portland, so at least there’s a sort of northwest link to these two groups, and there are certainly similarities in musical styles.  I’d be interested to learn how they ended up on an album together.

I guess if I was going to describe the sound of Untitled I’d probably have to go with something like ambient psych.  It’s mostly instrumental and sort of meanders all over the place, with some use of distortion here and there, including possibly some electronics… though my guess is it’s guitar effects.  There are some vocals on one song on side B (Mindless Thuggs), but for the most part this is sort of a slow paced musical stream of consciousness.

The recording quality is decent and it’s decent to have on in the background.  That being said, I don’t know that you could ever find a copy of this.  I’m almost positive the production run was small… I’d be surprised if there are more than a hundred copies out there, and quite possibly a lot less than that.  Kind of cool and different though, so if you’re in Seattle and ever hear that the Mindless Thuggs or Datura Blues are playing somewhere, they might be worth checking out.

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