Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Superfuzz Bigmuff – Mudhoney


Album Review

Hear samples of the album HERE

I first came across Mudhoney when I saw them supporting Sonic Youth at the Kilburn National Ballroom on 23rd of March 1989 (See Daydream Nation). I had been told in advance that they were playing by a girl at work, stating that they were ‘pretty wild’, an understatement as it turned out!!

I arrived a little late so missed the start of the set. I worked my way through the Kilburn National foyer and headed to the bar on the right. I ordered a pint and then headed for the heavy black rubber doors of the auditorium. As I opened the door I was nearly thrown backwards by the shockwave of Mark Arm screaming  ‘I open my eyes, Watch the sky turn blue, I felt so good I almost forgot all about you’!!!!! (If I think). The sound was so powerful, it felt like I’d been smacked around the head by an invisible concrete slab!

I found the following set list from the gig;

3/23/89 Kilburn National Ballroom. London, England
Supporting: Sonic Youth
Supported By: Sperm Wails

Set: Mudride, Here Comes Sickness, No One Has, If I Think, Burn it Clean, Sweet Young Thing, This Gift, Touch Me I'm Sick (set incomplete and out of order after the first three songs)
With Sonic Youth: I Wanna Be Your Dog

Notes: For Sonic Youth's encore, Mudhoney comes out and plays I Wanna Be Your Dog with the group. The guys start throwing Kim Gordon and the rest of Sonic Youth around, and it turns into a big noisy mess, with people and instruments flying.

Mudhoney’s performance was wild, Mark Arm and Steve Turner either running into or jumping on each other while they played a heavy rhythm with a heavy dose of feedback overlaid! Bodies were flying, guitars were flying and hair!!!! So much hair!!!

Following this gig I went out and bought Superfuzz Bigmuff. The first track I already knew. Sonic Youth and Mudhoney had released a joint 12 inch single. Mudhoney performing the Sonic Youth track ‘Halloween’ and Sonic Youth performing the Mudhoney track ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’. I loved the Sonic Youth version with Kim Gordon on vocals however this version soon became second place to the Mudhoney version which was very gritty and dirty unlike the Sonic Youth version which was surprisingly clean!

Touch Me I'm Sick / Halloween - album cover

Stand out tracks are ‘If I Think’ and the awesome ‘In 'N' Out of Grace‘. A lightning speed rocker complete with duelling feedback guitar solos! The track started with the sample from the film ‘The Wild One’ staring Marlon Brando, later RIPPED OFF by Primal Scream on ‘Loaded’;

“We want to be free! We want to be free to do what we want to do! We want to be free to ride. And we want to be free to ride our machines without being hassled by man. And we want to get loaded!!!”

A truly wonderful album which lead on to so much…………

I was going to finish here, saving this story for later on, but what the heck!!!!

I was reading some record reviews in NME, the year was 1989. I came across a review which jumped out at me, within the first paragraph the review stated that ‘anyone that loved Mudhoney would love this band’.

That was enough for me, the next time I was in London I headed into Virgin Records and bought an album called ‘Bleach’ by a little known band named Nirvana!!!

Touch Me I’m Sick - 1991

In ‘N’ Out Of Grace

Sweet Young Thing/Chain That Door

Monday, 23 February 2009

Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth


Album Review – Rolling Stone Magazine – 12/01/1989

Hear the whole album HERE

Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation, the first ‘art’,’drone’, ‘grunge’ (call it what you will) album I bought after my earlier discovery of Pixies. A guitar driven album built upon discord, violence and beauty. Thurston Moore described this album as sounding ‘like the 1 train pulling out of Time Square’, such an accurate description as this album screeches and crashes and clashes as it hits your ear drum. A phenomenal album.

My memory is very sketchy as to why I bought this album. There are 3 different stories which may have lead me to the buy the album but 20 years on I can’t remember what came first. So I hope that by writing down all three stories they may jog my memory and make me a happy man for a day or two!!

1. In the 80’s NME, every few months, would give away a free 7 inch single. The single would have 3 or 4 artists on it, generally 2 on each side. The first single was released in 1985 and featured Bronski Beat (Hard Rain), Cocteau Twins (Ivo), The Smiths (What She Said (live)) and U2 (Wire). Very collectable now although I’d just found this single selling for 99p on Ebay!!!

In February 1987 NME added to the free EP series by releasing an single entitled NME’s Hat Trick. This single included Steinski & Mass Media (The Motorcade Sped On), Sonic Youth (White Cross Live In Tallahassee, Florida) and Sly & Robbie (When You're Hot You're Hot)

This was the first time that I’d heard Sonic Youth, the guitar was loud and very aggressive, clashing and battling with the rhythm section. I’d never heard guitar like this before, it wasn’t until I later saw them that I found out that they achieved these sound by de-tuning and jamming a screwdriver under the strings on the fret board! I still have the single, probably under my old bed at my Mum and Dad’s house, scratched to death and over played.

So did I buy Daydream Nation on the back of this single?? Possibly, I first heard Sonic Youth in February 1987 and Daydream Nation was released in October 1988.

2. Snub TV – BBC 2 once aired a music Series called Snub TV. The idea of the programme was to showcase bands that were not mainstream and were being ‘snubbed’ by the likes of The Tube, Whistle Test and Top of The Pops! This programme helped me discover many new bands. I particularly remember seeing Dinosaur Jr for the first time on this show playing Freak Scene. The programme also included Utra Vivid Scene, Spaceman 3, World Domination Enterprises and the Stone Roses.

Sonic Youth appeared on Snub TV with an extended piece where they performed Teenage Riot and Providence, both from Daydream Nation. The piece also included film of the band being interviewed. I remember very clearly Thurston Moore claiming that Sharon Tate’s foetus was king of the hippies!

I videoed this particular show and played it again and again. I loved everything about this band, so much so that I started to copy their fashion, adopted a drop-out attitude and stuck a screwdriver in my lovely Vox Les Paul!!

So did I buy Daydream Nation on the back of this appearance on Snub TV??

3. My friend, Andy Tubb called me and asked me if I wanted to go see Sonic Youth. It was the Daydream Nation tour, Kilburn National Ballroom on 23rd of March 1989. Sonic Youth were being supported by Mudhoney! (Expect the inclusion of Super Fuzz Big Muff in my top 50 soon!)

The gig was brilliant, everything that i expected it to be, loud and sweaty. In between songs, Thurston would put on a tape of The Carpenters whilst they swapped guitars or tuned up. I also remember him asking the lighting man to make him green, ‘I can only play the guitar when I’m green’!!!

The night ended with Mudhoney joining Sonic Youth on stage for the final encore, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ by the Stooges. At some point Mark Arm (Mudhoney) leap onto Thurston and pulled his trousers down!!! A very good night!!!

So did I buy Daydream Nation on the back of this gig??? You know what, I don’t know and I don’t really care!! I’ve got the album, and that is all that counts!!!

Teenage Riot

Sonic Youth on Snub TV 1989

Part 1

Part 2

The Sprawl



Monday, 2 February 2009

Ill Communication – Beastie Boys



Album Review - Rolling Stone Magazine – 1994

Listen to the complete album HERE

I’m not really a lover of Hip Hop, perhaps I’m too old, from the wrong generation or just don’t understand! There is the occasional track which will jump out at me such as ‘20 seconds to comply’ by Silver Bullet and the very excellent ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ by Dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip. How many Hip Hop songs include a reference to Syd Barrett!!!! 

Ill Communication was the first Hip Hop album I bought, I have bought all Beastie Boys albums since it’s release but none have matched this classic. The album itself sounds like it was recorded live, directly onto tape. It’s very rough in it’s mix, having an almost dirty sound. It fits in very well with some of the other lo-fi records that I had been listening to for years.

I love the way this album flashes from the pure Hip Hop of ‘Flute Loop’, to the punk sound of ‘Heart Attack Man’, with the jazziness of ‘The Update’. A true talented group of musician backed up with Money Mark on keyboards and Mix Master Mike on decks.

Another strong sound which oozes out of this album is the, almost, 1970’s incidental cop show music. A funky groove with plenty going on in the percussion department. The kind of music which would accompany Dirty Harry as he chased a punk down a derelict back street  with  his Magnum 44 in hand!

Honestly, this album is a contender for my top 10, but we shall just have to wait and see!

Sure Shot


Root Down