Spanking Machine

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Spanking Machine
Babes in Toyland Spanking Machine.JPG
Studio album by Babes in Toyland
Released April 16, 1990
Recorded 1989 at Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Genre Riot grrrl, alternative rock, grunge, punk rock
Length 35:44
Label Twin/Tone Records
Producer Jack Endino, Babes in Toyland
Babes in Toyland chronology
Spanking Machine
To Mother
(1990)To Mother1990

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 Sub Pop Records' as part of their singles club. Released 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
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau C+[5]

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[6] to promote their latest album, Goo. The band also performed alongside Sonic Youth at 1991's Reading Festival,[7][8] which was documented by Dave Markey's music documentary, 1991: The Year Punk Broke.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Kat Bjelland, except where noted. [9]

No. Title Length
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 Barbero) 2:31
6. "Dogg" (Barbero) 3:53
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. "allmusic ((( Spanking Machine > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Babes in Toyland". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 32, cited March 17, 2010
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Babes in Toyland"., Retrieved on March 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Lawrence, Chris. sonic youth concert chronology - 1990 Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  7. ^, Reading Festival 1991 Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  8. ^ phespirit, The Reading Festival Retrieved on June 11, 2010.
  9. ^ ASCAP Entry