Monday, July 27, 2015
MUDHONEY - TOMORROW HIT TODAY
The year was 1998, and this album by the Seattle rock band known as Mudhoney was released on the Warner subsidiary imprint, Reprise. I was not aware of its existence at the time. I didn't even know Mudhoney were still releasing records at the time. Did you? A band like Mudhoney at that stage of the game seemed, well, tres boring to this 20-something windbag, a relic from another era, a band who'd recorded and released a slew of cool sides approx. a decade prior but one who weren't even on the map regarding the Here and Now. And just what was the Here and Now ca. 1998? I dunno, probably some post-rock or glitchtronica nonsense I wouldn't listen to in a blue fit circa now, but then again, going into my time machine to 1998, I recall my taste in music in 1998 being unashamedly retro (lots of jazz, Byrds, pre-war blues and Hawkwind, if you must know). But whatever! The fact is this: a rock band by the name of Mudhoney, one whom possibly many had given up for dead by the end of the century, made a fantastic album for a major recording company: Tomorrow Hit Today, produced by the great Jim Dickinson (he shouldn't need explaining), and right now it remains completely out of print in all physical formats. I believe I've covered Mudhoney several times in this blog over the years: certainly there's been verbiage concerning their 2002 'comeback' record for Sub Pop, Since We Became Translucent (and what an excellent comeback that was), as well as the biography on the band published a couple of years ago (another fine thing).
I actually saw the band play live here in January of last year - the first time I'd seen the band live since 1990. I found them to be rather underwhelming and really don't like the current single-guitar format (w/ Mark Arm on vocals only) the band works with, as also evidenced on their last couple of recordings, which I also think have been weak, but what the hey, they're a heritage act these days and they can do what they want. Tomorrow Hit Today possesses an exemplary use of twin-guitar action as well as a sympathetic and full sound which never veers towards the mersh, compromised or slick. It's raw and powerful but with a real sense of clarity, and it also has some of the band's best songs: lordy, how I love 'Try To Be Kind' and 'This Is The Life', and their rendition of the Cheater Slicks' 'Ghost' works on several levels (conceptually, musically). The band hadn't 'progressed' musically much at all in the 10 years they'd been around - maybe less Blue Cheer in the mix with a bit more garage and Dickinson-style southern rock (but not 'Southern Rock') thrown in, but essentially they remained a post-hardcore rock and roll band. Got me? Over the past dozen years I have been reevaluating the musical legacy of Mudhoney: so far as rock bands go, they're better than most, and seriously one of the best. Don't ever dismiss them because they appear to be too damn obvious.