Mudhoney – Digital Garbage

I first fell in love with Mudhoney in the summer of 2013. You could say I was about 25 years late to the party. I’d owned their records and liked them. But it wasn’t until I was at my first Mudhoney show at the Sub Pop Festival in Seattle that everything clicked for me. The perfect unholy alliance of garage rock, punk, and grunge. Fortunately, Mudhoney play a ton of local shows and I’ve had the opportunity to meet members of the band, catch their live show over a dozen times, and even appear in one of their music videos. Digital Garbage is the band’s first album in 5 years and reflects the uncertain times in which it was recorded.

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Mudhoney – You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)

YouGotIt

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

At some point I’d imagine this section of the site could turn into “Mudhoney Corner”. For 26 years now, the band has cranked out punk-garage-grunge rock at a healthy clip. Saturday the 15th of February I had a chance to see the band live for the 2nd time in 7 months. A certain benefit to living in the Seattle region is that Mudhoney plays local shows at a regularly, even when not touring the US. I missed out on their opening slot for the sold out Pearl Jam show, and I couldn’t make their small gig at Full Tilt Ice Cream a few months ago so you could say that I was determined not to miss this show at the Tractor Tavern. The show didn’t disappoint – Mudhoney displayed a youthful vigor that would put bands half their age to shame. What had me smiling the most was watching the band (late 40’s to early 50’s) spit out punk rock gems with absolute glee on their faces. “You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)” was originally released as a single in 1989 and appears on the extended SuperFuzz Bigmuff EP as well as the self titled debut full length. A catchy intro, with lyrics that initially seem positive, it builds to a chorus that is anthem for the ages. This song came out as grunge was exploding, but to these ears it sounds like garage rock with punk attitude. The band is on fire – Mark Arm’s vocals are menacing, Steve Turner’s guitar is melodic yet heavy, Matt Lukin’s bass is perfect, and Dan Peters lends an almost jazzy feel to the drums. What initially sounds like praise – “They say you’ve got it / I see you got it / You got it good” quickly turns to condemnation of the braggart stance “You got it / Damn right you got it / SO WHAT / KEEP IT OUTTA MY FACE”. This, my friends is punk and garage rock perfection. It was one of the highlights for me at the show last weekend, so I’ve embedded the studio version as well as a version from a relatively recent concert. It sounds just as incredible in 2014 as it did in 1989.

Mudhoney – I’m Now

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Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

2013 has proven to be a banner year for Mudhoney – jointly celebrating a 25th anniversary alongside their 1st and current record label, Sub Pop. I had the chance to see Mudhoney’s set at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee over the summer and have found myself revisiting, rediscovering, and in some cases discovering gems from every era of their career. Add in the amazing documentary I’m Now alongside the biography Mudhoney: The Sound & Fury From Seattle by Keith Cameron, and let’s just say…I’ve been losing a day or two here and there listening to Mudhoney. I’m Now is the song that lent its title to the documentary, and it is a quintessential slab of Pacific NW garage punk rock (or…grunge). Taken from the band’s 2008 record The Lucky Ones, it is one of the standout tracks from Mudhoney’s career. Mark Arm’s vocals recall Iggy Pop at his rawest, conveying angst with each nuance of pronunciation. Guy Maddison bounces along on bass and Steve Turner provides the garage rock guitar refrains. Lest we forget, that’s Dan Peters holding down the beat on drums, holding the shambolic, melodic track down. What happens when the students become the equal to their teachers? You’re left with Mudhoney, holding their own alongside The Stooges, MC5, and The Sonics. A band that just keeps going and keeps delivering on every level. I could honestly write about quite a few Mudhoney tracks that are amazing but for now let Mark Arm and the band pummel you with this classic, with these words:

The past makes no sense,
The future looks tense
I’m now!