It seems to be a thing in 2020 with no live shows to get excited over and everyone everywhere being on lockdown.  Some labels have been very busy trawling the archives for material to pull together box sets and nobody has been better at it recently than Cherry Red who have released a plethora of great box sets of the last few months many that we here at RPM have been very happy to get our teeth stuck into.  Today we tackle another of the better box sets that which belongs to Mudhoney easily one of the best bands ever to emerge out of the early 90s grunge explosion but those who know are well aware there was so much more going on with Mark Arm and his band of Brothers than being anther Grunge band because they never really fitted into the genre comfortably as much as the media wanted to paint them as just another Sub Pop band they were more closely belonging to the post Stooges garage scene than anything else and their music was so much better than 99% of the other bands coming out of the USA at the time.  showcasing Mudhoney’s major label period, 1992-1998.

What we have here is the three albums, some B-sides and live recordings, plus the promotional-only ‘On Tour Now’ live album that the band did during their major label period in the ’90s, 1992-1998 if you want to be precise.

Also includes are rare outtakes and sampler-only tracks. as well as the singles ‘Generation Spokesmodel’, ‘Suck You Dry’, ‘Blinding Sun’, ‘Five Dollar Bob’s Mock Cooter Stew’ and ‘Into Your Shtik’, plus the B-sides.  This was also loving put together in conjunction with Mudhoney. and to be fair the Sleevenotes includes new interview material with Mark Arm so a thorough trawl has been made.

Having emerged in 1989 and become a mainstay of the American alternative scene, Mudhoney moved from Sub Pop to Reprise Records and produced three albums during the 1990s for Reprise Records. Whilst not achieving the success enjoyed by the likes of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the band kept at it and even expanded their live following and always maintained the respect of their peers.

 

The live promo-only recording is unhinged and shows how damn good Mudhoney was/are live.  ‘Suck You Dry’ still sounds fantastic and ‘Piece Of Cake’ was and still is a cracking album. For me I loved ‘My Brother The Cow’ most of all and still consider it their finest album from that head fuck slide of ‘Judgement, Rage, Retribution And Thyme’.  The brooding menacing of ‘In My Finest Suit’. The wild ride of ‘F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers)’.  Some of the period B sides do leave a lot to be desired and were cutting room floor experiments to amuse the band and probably were better off staying uncovered. ‘Sissy Bar, ‘Carjack 94’ etc are fine examples of a band not taking themselves too seriously. but amongst the rough tracks are the diamonds that need a little spit and shine and songs like ‘Not Going Down That Road Again’ are gems.  HArdcore fans and completists will find a lot fo this as much needed nuggets from Arm and co.
‘Tomorrow Hit Today’ is one of those long-overlooked albums but when you have distance and clarity like maybe now, it’s a lot better than I remember.  Who knows if the band were tired or had hit a bit of a wall only they know that but songs like ‘I Had To Laugh’ and ‘Poisoned Water’.
Finally, disc 4 sees the first eight-track being commercially available for the first time but taken from the promo ‘On Tour Now’ recorded in Seattle in ’93 at the peak of the band’s powers and rightly so. They were the kings of the scene for me they embraced Garage Rock of the Stooges and MC5 as well as what was current in the alternative rock scene as Grunge they had it all but were perhaps too cool and hip to be regarded as Grunge frontrunners.  But those who know,  know.  Mudhoney fans and people with a hankering for some loud fuzzy Rock get a hold of this box set now.  Happy Christmas one and all!

Buy  Real Low Vibe Here

 

Author: Dom Daley

Yeah, he of Dinosaur Jr just sneaked out another solo album.  with no fanfare no bells or whistles it just came out at the tail end of 2018 but some artists just do that and when you eventually catch up with them you know it’s going to be good because they don’t really do bad records and J. Mascis is one of those artists.  Unassuming, quiet and notorious for being a man of very few words and that’s from his peers but his talking is most certainly done through the medium of music and ‘Elastic Days’ is another melancholy masterclass bu perhaps not as bleak as you might expect in fact I found it to be a really happy record its not the banana splits or Julie Andrews skipping through fields but quite warm and heartening and full of great melodies and song appropriate guitar breaks and not big dollops of distorted strat thrown in to melt your face as you listen.

sure he has his other outlet for the college rock power tunes so he can release his gentler side through the records carrying just his name and this the third in that list might just be the best carrying just his name.  This record begins with the warm and engaging ‘See You At The Movies’ which isn’t quite the insular cold one man and his acoustic you might have expected.  Its more like Jnr without Murph and Lou but its happy go lucky and to be fair a great understated opener. ‘Web So Dense’ is more of the bruised heart loner type song you might expect with a great arrangement  and the moment two thirds in where he raises from a whisper to the top of his range is wonderful and then to follow it up with one of his trademark solos will hit the spot for a legion of old-school fans playing catch up.

‘I Went Dust’ sees a duet with Zoe Randell that stripped back and warming there is an awkwardness to Mascis songs like a stranger is opening up to their innermost personal feelings and you don’t quite know how to react but ultimately it sounds fucking awesome so you keep listening anyway. and those outrageously loud guitar breaks always break through any awkward moment and make you smile sort of like the sun rising on a freezing cold morning – everything is gonna be alright. It’s not as bleak or limited as previous solo recordings there is a campfire warmth happening here and its possibly the perfect bridge between what he’s done before and what he does in Dinosaur Jr which for me is a great place to be and whilst he’s not hit the dizzy heights of ‘Bug’, ‘Start Choppin’ or ‘Green Mind’ this is right on track to being mentioned alongside such classic pieces of work at Mascis’ hands.

Spread out over twelve tracks there is a swing in variety and feel to these songs and whilst they are all undeniably the work of one man they flow really well and I’m happy that I’ve got my fix on ‘Elastic Days’ that is a most excellent record. I look forward to the next Dinosaur Jr album now when these kinda songs get turned up and fed through louder amps and wear a different pair of comfy shoes. His most accessible work to date if you’re a fan already you’ll love it and if your dipping your toes in then this won’t disappoint.

Buy Here

Author: Dom Daley