“What if Carcass and Gary Numan were locked in a studio and had to figure out how to make a record together?” — Jon Weisnewski, NUCLEAR DUDES
One could simply say that NUCLEAR DUDES is a solo project from Jon Weisnewski, front person of the heavy, noisy Seattle rock bands Sandrider and Akimbo. Or that its first full-length album Boss Blades, which features guest vocals from Botch’s Dave Verellen and Dust Moth’s Irene Barber, will be out July 7th via Modern Grievance Records. But lest those details give you the impression that you know what that could possibly sound like, you might want to get a helmet.
NUCLEAR DUDES is a manic mix of extreme metal, synth-prog, powerviolence, and industrial noise. Or, as Weisnewski puts it, the project is a wild-eyed response to the question, “What if Carcass and Gary Numan were locked in a studio and had to figure out how to make a record together?” If that description sounds completely unhinged – well, it is. Yet the anxious showdown of whirlwind riffs vs. mercurial synths makes for mesmerizingly fun drama, likely leaving you tongue-tied and resorting to a gif search for “face melting” to describe your feelings.
Initially, the project began as a way for Weisnewski to keep his mind and hands busy in the early days of lockdown. As a video game developer who has worked on major franchises like Halo and Destiny, as well as a musician who has consistently spent nights at band practice or playing shows as the guitarist/vocalist for the Seattle heavy rock institution Sandrider (and formerly the Alternative Tentacles/Neurot punk-hardcore group Akimbo), he knew he needed to find a way to keep being creative. So he did what many other musicians did at the time and began recording music by himself at home, using only guitars and a laptop. But rather than turning to slower, acoustic music like many others, he went in the other direction entirely, dialing up both the volume and tempo – and letting all of his seemingly opposing influences live freely in the same place. In 2022 he released two EPs, Bad At Sleep and Gin & Panic, with the idea that he’d eventually add more collaborators to the project – a vision that is now being realized on the forthcoming 2023 full-length album, Boss Blades.
With twelve tracks, Boss Blades is NUCLEAR DUDES’ longest and most complex release yet, beginning with the gargantuanly heavy title track showcasing the legendary roar of Dave Verellen (Botch), immediately followed by the sludgy, driving riffs of first single, “Manifest Piss Tape” – an intentional homage to Melvins’ early-2000s lineup and style.
While Weisnewski describes most of the album’s lyrics and song titles as “nonsense,” there are a handful of poignant moments buried deep within the silliness: “Lasers In The Jungle” sees him and Verellen avenging Carrie Fisher by skewering Paul Simon’s attempt to gaslight her in the lyrics of “Graceland.” The synthy, almost doom-like track “Many Knives” employs the crystalline voice of Irene Barber (Dust Moth), whose lyrical metaphors of floating knives beautifully describe the feeling of being stuck and seeing painful outcomes no matter what move you make. And the album’s most outwardly reflective track “Guitart” adds saturnine acoustic guitar under a sample of Grace Jones musing about gender and sexuality in an ‘80s interview – at least three decades before that topic reached mainstream culture. The album concludes with the slow-building, ambient turmoil of “A Special Torture,” gracefully reining in all the chaos of Boss Blades and giving it a solemn sendoff. [Words by Cat Jones]
Stream NUCLEAR DUDES’ “Manifest Piss Tape” at THIS LOCATION.
Boss Blades was written and recorded by Jon Weisnewski with the exception of the guest vocals by Dave Verellen and Irene Barber, which were recorded by Matt Bayles at Litho Studios in Seattle, Washington. The album was mixed by Matt Bayles and mastered by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering.
Boss Blades will be released on cassette and digitally. Find preorders at THIS LOCATION.
Boss Blades Track Listing:
- Boss Blades (Featuring Dave Verellen of Botch)
- Manifest Piss Tape
- Shark Grinder
- Obsolete Food
- Poorly Made Pots
- Many Knives (Featuring Irene Barber or Dust Moth)
- Lasers in the Jungle (Featuring Dave Verellen of Botch)
- Year 3
- Eat Meth
- Dads Eat Heels
- A Special Torture