Formed after Green River broke up and Mark Arm reunited with Steve Turner, Mudhoney were Sub Pop’s first big success story: the über-cool Sonic Youth, who were big fans, asked them to support on their 1989 European tour, and the band received much critical acclaim in the UK. They played an important part in the inexorable rise of Everett True. By drawing attention to the vibrant Seattle scene, and through Arm’s distinctive, nasal vocals and their distorted garage-rock sound and staggeringly chaotic live shows, the band made it possible for the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden to receive wider attention and for grunge to go global. Their contribution to the Singles soundtrack, ‘Overblown’, is one of its highlights: a classic collapsible Turner riff accompanied by Arm’s characteristically sharp lyrics about how media hype was taking their town away from them.
Mudhoney released their ninth album, Vanishing Point, back in April to respectable reviews. As a band, they have their sound and their style, which they’ve perfected and aren’t likely to develop. You know what you’re getting with a Mudhoney album (this is no bad thing).
As part of the Sub Pop silver anniversary this year,* Mudhoney broadcast a brief set for KEXP from the top of the Space Needle. It’s a good solid set, half the songs coming from Vanishing Point and merging nicely with classics like ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ and ‘Suck You Dry’. The band don’t hang around: just the 10 songs in about 28 minutes. Worth a watch. Setlist: Touch Me I’m Sick, I’m Now, The Final Course, Into the Drink, Chardonnay, Who You Drivin’ Now, What to do with the Neutral, I Don’t Remember You, Suck You Dry, The Only Son of the Widow of Nain PS On the subject of Pearl Jam’s current tour, singer Eddie Vedder got in a right huff with someone in the pit, making her leave and watch the rest of the set from the naughty step at the back. *2013 has seen the silver anniversary of Mudhoney (the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP came out in 1988), but not of Sub Pop: the label was actually founded in 1986. But this seems apt for the label.