Mudhoney’s 2018 full length release, Digital Garbage, was a dark garage rock masterpiece. Lyrically imbued with the darkness of the times, it spoke to me on a visceral level. Hitting the sweet spot between The Stooges and Black Flag, it found the band firing on all cylinders. I also found myself playing a Pharisee type character as an extra in the band’s Kill Yourself Live video, just a few days after a good friend actually killed himself. It was strangely cathartic and I loved how the video turned out. It also helped that the song was a sarcastic, tongue in cheek anthem to the digital world of today. It was also catchy as fuck. Just about 1 year later the band is releasing Morning in America – a 7 song collection of outtakes from the Digital Garbage sessions. So how’s the collection hold up, coming hot on the heels of a late career highlight?
Morning in America holds up well as a mini album of sorts. Nothing in the songs belie their origins as outtakes or rare b-sides. It feels like a coherent continuation of last year’s tunes. In fact, an alternate version of Kill Yourself Live makes an appearance here called Let’s Kill Yourself Live Again. It is a welcome revisit, dropping the Devo inspired intro and offering up alternate lyrics. Elsewhere, the band covers Leather Nun on Ensam I Natt and finally makes One Bad Actor widely available (originally released on the hard to find Sub Pop 30 split single w/ Hot Snakes. I purchased mine at the Sub Pop Festival, of course). Vortex of Lies also is now available to hear by the masses, previously being only released on a limited edition European 7”. The last 30 seconds of the song has the band locking into such a deep groove, I’d love to hear that live. Creeps Are Everywhere is a classic garage rock workout with some classic screaming and grunge riffs. Morning in America is in the classic Iggy & the Stooges mold, mid-range dread permeating the song. “America / Hates Itself” is about as bold of an opening line as I can think of. It’s a bleak masterpiece. Snake Oil Charmer is easily my favorite song on the record. The band calls to task a politician – or religious leader – for telling people exactly what they want to hear. And of course, people eat that shit up. “The more he spoke / the more we heard / what wanted to hear”. And the song builds, drums pounding, guitars crashing, bass locked into a groove, Mark Arm’s vocals becoming increasingly exasperated. And suddenly the lyrics shift perspective and the vocals are multi-tracked, creating a cult like vibe “You will give us everything / You will give us everything”. Brilliant.
I can’t say enough great things about this new Mudhoney release – you owe it to yourself to pick up at your local record store or order it directly from Sub Pop. It is a nice addendum to last year’s full length and stands on its own as a great record.
Verdict: Another Mudhoney Masterpiece
For Fans of: Nirvana, Iggy & the Stooges, Black Flag, Soundgarden, Melvins
- Vortex of Lies
- Creeps Are Everywhere
- Ensam I Natt
- Morning in America
- Let’s Kill Yourself Live Again
- Snake Oil Charmer
- One Bad Actor