Spanking Machine

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Spanking Machine
Babes in Toyland Spanking Machine.JPG
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 16, 1990
Recorded1989 at Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
GenreAlternative rock, punk rock
LabelTwin/Tone Records
ProducerJack Endino, Babes in Toyland
Babes in Toyland chronology
Spanking Machine
To Mother

Spanking Machine is the debut album by American punk rock band Babes in Toyland, released in 1990.

Background and production[edit]

The working title of the album was Swamp Pussy, which later ended up becoming the opening song on the album. The album title was later changed to Spanking Machine, after the "spanking machine" from an episode of Leave It to Beaver titled "The Price of Fame."[1]

The album was recorded and produced by Seattle musician/producer Jack Endino[2] at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle - where other bands such as Nirvana and Mudhoney recorded - and was released in April 1990 by Twin/Tone Records.

"Dust Cake Boy" was the first and only single from the album, released by Treehouse Records (Minneapolis) in 1989. It was recorded in 1988, before the band's sessions with Jack Endino, at Technisound Studio and produced by Brian Paulson. The single was backed with "Spit to See the Shine". A promotional video for the song "He's My Thing" was also recorded, though the song was never released as a single. Recorded during a live show at Minneapolis' First Avenue, the video was recorded on a 16mm camera by Mike Etoll.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[5]
The Village VoiceC+[6]

Spanking Machine received generally positive reviews from critics, with Mark Deming of AllMusic stating:

[Spanking Machine] sounds like the blueprint for the music [Courtney] Love would make during Hole's first incarnation [...] that Spanking Machine is a more compelling and emotionally powerful work [and] Kat Bjelland's songs pull no punches.

Other bands interested in the underground music scene - most notably Sonic Youth - were fans of the album, so much so that Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore invited the band to perform on Sonic Youth's 1990 European tour[7] to promote their latest album, Goo. The band also performed alongside Sonic Youth at 1991's Reading Festival,[8][9] which was documented by Dave Markey's music documentary, 1991: The Year Punk Broke.

Rolling Stone ranked Spanking Machine at #27 in their list of the 50 Greatest Grunge Albums in 2019, writing that Spanking Machine "was a perfect marriage of crunchy Midwestern punk and wry Northwestern malaise."[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Kat Bjelland, except where noted. [11]

1."Swamp Pussy" 2:24
2."He's My Thing" 2:56
3."Vomit Heart" 2:48
4."Never" 3:16
5."Boto (W) Rap"Bjelland, Lori Barbero2:31
7."Pain in My Heart" 3:59
8."Lashes" 3:46
9."You're Right" 3:07
10."Dust Cake Boy" 3:31
11."Fork Down Throat" 3:54
Total length:35:44

Musicians and personnel[edit]


  1. ^, Leave It to Beaver: The Price of Fame Summary, Cast and Crew Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  2. ^ Endino, Jack. Jack Endino Production Discography Retrieved from on June 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Deming, Mark. "Spanking Machine – Babes in Toyland". AllMusic. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  4. ^ "Notable music for the week of April 27, 1990". Entertainment Weekly. April 27, 1990. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Abowitz, Richard (2004). "Babes in Toyland". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 32. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 3, 1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Lawrence, Chris. sonic youth concert chronology - 1990 Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  8. ^, Reading Festival 1991 Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  9. ^ phespirit, The Reading Festival "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-06-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  10. ^, 50 Greatest Grunge Albums Retrieved on July 29, 2020.
  11. ^ ASCAP Entry