In October 1988 Sub-Pop released a low-key E.P. by Mudhoney that sold poorly in America. It was the bands first record.
Glitterhouse gave the E.P. a European release and slowly but surely something started to unfold.
Mudhoney toured like rats and it was van, gig, van, city to city, country to country.
Watching Mudhoney perform at The Barrel Organ in 1989 you could feel and see a shift in music scenes happening right before your eyes.
The crowd rammed into the small venue looked different to the Britcore scene that had recently widened. Mudhoney looked the part too. Young (a few years older than myself) they had that college drop-out / fuck-it-be-in-a-band look. They wore the look well.
Superfuzz Bigmuff was selling in England. The Glitterhouse inclusion of one extra solitary track was enough to make it an essential record. I imagine, like myself, most in attendance had that E.P. spurned on by positive music press reviews.
Pre-dating Bleach by Nirvana by a good 6 months in the late 80’s Mudhoney were the real deal and Nirvana were just another Sub-Pop band. You really could say Mudhoney kick-started that whole new scene.
Touch Me I’m Sick is a rattling punk stab with dirty guitar effects. Rough around the edges yet somehow harking back to The Stooges with its pure rock n’ roll rattle. It is a classic that sums up grunge in two and a half minutes.
Need has less drive but burns quite deep for an ambling song. It does that quiet / noisy / quiet thing in a way The Pixies and Nirvana would take to another level.
Chain That Door is urgent and also very rough around the edges. Mudhoney were to appeal with this sound to the generation that had missed out on the first wave of Punk and had maybe had too much of the Hardcore 2nd waves.
Mudride then, really takes Superfuzz Bigmuff to another level. Slow, dirgy, yet quite achingly raw and beautiful. Mudhoney sound momentarily unique and 1988/89 is sounding like an important time for music. The song holds-off, builds, then holds-off again. You can sense the track could explode at any point as it builds with real raw quality. Guitar effects from the E.P. title are then used in gentle sonic blasts that are mirrored with that Mark Arm vocal. A great song.
No One Has whilst not up the standard of the previous track has some great lyrics and again that raw dirty sound clattering away.
If I Think has real structure and is lyrically quite touching. Again Mudhoney rattle through gears with passion and tease the listener pulling back sounds that again could erupt at any given moment. When the song does blow-up it would be a key for the Barrel Organ gig (and no doubt all other live shows in the late 80’s) for the band to dive into the crowd and vice-versa. Another classic.
In ‘n’ Out Of Grace captures everything about the explosion of this scene. Powerful drone heavy fuck-it-rock-n-roll from an alienated generation. On first listen to this song, be it on Vinyl or Live you just knew straight away this was the start of something special. Who cared if we’d been too young to see the Sex Pistols, it couldn’t have been any better than this? You seized the moment and venues blew apart with mayhem. The band seized the moment too, there was no divide, no divide between band and audience at all, we were all in this together.
For quite a while Mudhoney were the forerunners of this explosion. It was a great time for music. Tad, The Afghan Whigs, Babes In Toyland, Hole (well the first album) were doing something very special and a lot of ears pricked up. Only when Nirvana released Sliver in 1990 did everyones head turn a full 180 degrees and go “oh fuck, they just blew this whole thing off the scale”…