Vinyl LP pressing. 2013 album from the Seattle/Grunge legends. 25 years in, Vanishing Point affirms that, even in an age where only the newest of the new can survive, Mudhoney still have plenty to say and more to offer. These are songs written from the rare vantage point of a band who went through the rock n' roll meat-grinder and not only lived to tell such a tale, they came out full of the wisdom and dark humor such a journey provides. Vanishing Point is filled with dread, psychoanalysis and Nuggets-on-fire riffs; the sort of uninhibited rock music that is harder and harder to locate these days. With Vanishing Point, Mudhoney makes it easy.
For 18 years, Mudhoney has proved to be one of the most consistently electrifying acts to survive the grunge implosion, whatever that was. The wolfish howls of singer Mark Arm, soulful splatterings of guitarist Steve Turner, and frenzied fills of drummer Dan Peters have produced nine albums to date, most of which are considered neo-garage classics. Drummer Matt Lukin has been replaced by the inimitable Australian Guy Maddison. "Under A Billion Suns" is performed with the same amplified urgency of their previous work. Mudhoney has never swayed from their vision of making really loud rock, and this album is no exception. Produced by three notable knobsters, Phil Ek, Johnny Sangster, and Tucker Martine, and boasting a blaring horn section, this record exposes a more snidely political-fueled side of our shaggy heroes, but one revealed through the invariables of the Mudhoney recipe: thick, soggy punk riffs and underrated guitar dynamics, psychedelic tangents, and snot-nosed finger pointing. Loud and fierce.
Since the late '80s,Mudhoney– the Seattle-based foursome whose muck-crusted version of rock, shot through with caustic wit and battened down by a ferocious low end – has been a high-pH tonic against the ludicrous and the insipid. Thirty years later, the world is experiencing a particularly high-water moment for both those ideals. But just in time, vocalistMark Arm, guitaristSteve Turner, bassistGuy Maddison, and drummerDan Petersare back withDigital Garbage, a barbed-wire-trimmed collection of sonic brickbats. Arm's raw yawp and his bandmates' long-honed chemistry makeDigital Garbagean ideal release valve for the 2018 pressure cooker.
"My sense of humor is dark, and these are dark times," says Arm. "I suppose it's only getting darker."Digital Garbageopens with the swaggering "Nerve Attack," which can be heard as a nod both to modern-life anxiety and the ever-increasing threat of warfare. The album's title comes from the outro of "Kill Yourself Live," which segues from a revved-up Arm organ solo into a bleak look at the way notoriety goes viral. Appropriately enough, bits of recent news events float through the record: "Please Mr. Gunman," on which Arm bellows "We'd rather die in church!" over his bandmates' careening charge, was inspired by a TV-news bubblehead's response to a 2017 church shooting, while the ominous refrain that opens the submerged-blues of "Next Mass Extinction" calls back to the clashes in Charlottesville.
Mudhoney's core sound – steadily pounding drums, swamp-thing bass, squalling guitar wobble, Arm's hazardous-chemical voice – remains on Digital Garbage, which the band recorded with longtime collaborator (and contributing pianist) Johnny Sangster at the Seattle studio Litho. The anti-religiosity shimmy "21st Century Pharisees" builds its case with Maddison's woozy synths, which Arm says "add a really nice touch to the proceedings." Digital Garbage closes with "Oh Yeah," a brief celebration of skateboarding, surfing, biking, and the joy provided by these escape valves. In the end, the riffs and fury of Digital Garbage will stand the test of time, even if some of the particulars [hopefully] fade away.
Die-cut gatefold jacket with custom dust sleeve and accompanying download coupon.