March to Fuzz
I never cared much for Nirvana. The lyrics were too oblique and inscrutable and I never found the music that compelling. Soundgarden was all right but I never owned any of their albums or any by Pearl Jam. However, Mudhoney is another story. I fell in love with them in high school, two years before the “grunge” revolution began. To me, Mudhoney was the band that should have ridden the charts to success. At this date, though, I guess that sentiment is mere wishful thinking. Out of the whole lot of Seattle bands, Pearl Jam is the only one left. No remorse though, Mudhoney never really sought out mainstream success and, as this double disc indicates, they were probably too lazy and/or cynical to do anything to accomplish it. Several years before Pavement, Mudhoney had perfected the fine art of under-achieving.
The first disc contains twenty-two hits from their five albums and two EPs. The songs range from full on punk rock to… full on punk rock. Witness the power and glory of Mr. Mark Arm’s and Mr. Steve Turner’s fuzzed-out guitar interplay. Observe the thunder of Mr. Matt Lukin and Mr. Dan Peter’s rhythm section. Experience the power of Mr. Arm’s voice, a melange of nylon tearing, a blues singer and the sound a cat makes after receiving a broken-glass enema. However, like the Ramones before them, what they lack in skill they make up for with attitude. This disk contains the high points, like “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More,” “Judgment, Rage, Retribution, and Thyme,” and “Into Your Shtik.” Of course, what Mudhoney retrospective would be complete without their classic, “Touch Me I’m Sick”?
The second disk, a motley collection of B-sides and rarities, is an eye-opening primer for anyone new to alternative music. They blast through 30 tracks that include covers, soundtrack contributions, and leftovers from their albums. The bands they choose to cover range from Spacemen 3 (with their hilarious send up of junkie chic) to Black Flag and from the Crucifucks to Jimmie Dale Gilmore. The liner notes that accompany the album include Mark and Steve’s amusing commentary on each track. This is a great album. If you have never heard Mudhoney, I strongly encourage you to pick this set up. Annoy your parents, annoy the neighbors, piss off your girlfriend. Mudhoney did, and look where it got them!
Sub Pop, P.O. Box 20645, Seattle, WA 98102; http://www.subpop.com