Grunge. It’s a dirty word – but someone had to use it. Not me! – oh – I just did, Damn! When Mudhoney and Nirvana found themselves unwittingly at the fore of the grunge scene the music press started scratching for more (anti) heroes.
Mudhoney’s debut EP Supefuzz Bigmuff cited garage rock and punk in equal measure. The guitar effects of the title was essentially what was marking them apart from straight up punk acts and / or garage rock bands. When Mudhoney toured Supefuzz Bigmuff in them small sweaty venues you could feel that it was something new. A nod back to underground 60’s music but with the full on energy of post punk. Gaye Bykers On Acid had used wah guitar sounds but not to this extent or anywhere nearly as well.
Nirvana appeared too. To be honest not much marked them apart from Mudhoney. In truth I preferred the punk / garage Mudhoney were showcasing and Nirvana appeared to be just another Sub-Pop band, very good but nothing that special. Kurt had a great voice and the songs could be more mellow but they didn’t show any signs of how big they’d snowball to on there first U.K. shows. MTV and Geffen were to play their part in the Nirvana explosion and honestly, very sad, destruction.
Anyway. Just pre-dating Mudhoneys Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988) and Nirvana’s Bleach (1989) is the near hidden gem of an LP. Dinosaur Jr’s – Your Living All Over Me (1987). I’m sure this album made an impact on both Mudhoney and Nirvana. No proof – but it just must have.
J Mascis had a reputation for being outstandingly lazy. But lazy this LP is not and it sounds so noisy there can’t be a cobweb left in their studio even to this day.
Little Furry Things kicks off the album with rolling drums and effect driven wah guitar. Mascis hollars before the pace settles. Then the vocal slurs. You can make out the lyrics. Its new pace gathers. The guitar picks back up. How can 3 people make so much melodic noise? At the end of the track you begin to question how someone can play a guitar giving off so much noise and sound so vocally laboured at the same time? A great combination.
Kracked sounds like punk indie in it’s intro minute. It bustles along sounding mellow and happy. Then the song judders. Judders again. Then – that sound. Never has a wah guitar sounded so electric. Time to throw out your Gaye Bykers On Acid records!
Then. After the wah lessons you’ve just been treated to the band now up the stakes with Sludgefeast. Playing it’s part in the Noisey, Quiet, Noisy sound that Nirvana would use to such devastating world conquering effect Sludgefeast is a track ahead of its time. The track ambles along, falls into chaos, then… runs into a blistering guitar break. J Mascis quickly appears to transform into a post punk Neil Young.
The Lung features less vocal. The music comes to the fore. Mellow and electric it typifies the sound of the album. The noise, quiet, noise at the end of helps forge a new genre.
Raisans bounds in like a greyhound let out of a trap. Noise. Acoustic. Noise. Catchy. Rhythmic. Half way through Raisans threatens to stop – but it picks up and as it gathers you know that guitar is going to let rip at you any second. When J Mascis lets the solo fly it will make the hairs on your neck flex.
A punky intro for Tarpit before it calms to a near shoegazing hypnotic pace. The final minute sees Tarpit engulfed with increasing noise. The track cuts out very abruptly and you wonder what has happened.
In A Jar has affectionate sounding lyrics. It ambles along with melody. The guitar threatens but holds off.
Lose sees Lou Barlow pen his first track for the album. Mascis’s guitar is all over it. It sounds punk and hippy at the same time. Progressively more angular the track shows the yearning sound often displayed by Husker Du.
The final track of You’re Living All Over Me is Barlow’s second penned track (Mascis wrote all the others). The tone changes. Totally. Poledo sounds like Frank Zappa at his most experimental. An abrupt ending for a spooky final track and it’s over.
Of the genre i’d say You’re Living All Over me is my favourite LP. It has the longevity that Mudhoney and Nirvana don’t. I can’t listen to Nirvana at all now, as much as I loved them when they were around, not sure why, maybe in a decade I can revisit their output.
I think You’re Living All Over Me influenced that scene a lot more than it’s credited for. Give it a listen. More ear friendly than the Butthole Surfers it sits on it’s own fence between Noise and Grunge (shivers: I said it again)…