The new album from Mudhoney, Digital Garbage, out on Friday via Sub Pop, is full of the exact kind of unhinged, unstable, unsafe alternative rock that 2018 oh so desperately needs. Who ever knew that one day the guys in Mudhoney would be hailed as pop saviors, eh?
From the Iggy-strut of opener "Nerve Attack" and on to the more hard-charging "Paranoid Core", it's clear that the boys -- vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison, and drummer Dan Peters -- are intent on being topical this time out on Digital Garbage, or at least hold a mirror up to these awful times. While "Please Mr. Gunman" seems to tackle the rash of mass shootings, and our propensity to let them happen over and over again, the Nuggets-flavored social media-skewering swirl of "Kill Yourself Live" mixes a throaty vocal turn from Arm with some stellar kit attacks from Peters. The cut, one of the real highlights here, manages to be sorta smart and altogether unseemly. If the tunes on Digital Garbage seem a bit punchier than lots of stuff from the band's peers from that first wave of grunge, it's as if the band wanted to remind listeners of the kind of garage rock that so many of those acts were inspired by in the first place.
The wonderfully-titled and surging "Hey Neanderfuck" is a savaging of the worst sorts of fellows from our society, while the more direct "Prosperity Gospel" drives a car into the heart of the sun, Stooges-hooks mixed up with a sort of rough metallic kick. Frankly, the only misstep here on Digital Garbage is the blues-tinged one-two-punch of "Prosperity Gospel" and "Messiah's Lament" near the end of the record, before "Oh Yeah" comes in to push us all right up and into chaos.
The strength of these players this time out, especially Mark Arm and Dan Peters, seems perfectly showcased here, Arm having grown into an uncanny approximation of "Loose"-era Iggy Pop and Peters punching far above his weight, Moon-like, on the skins. Steve Turner and Guy Maddison shine here too, but it seems at times that Peters' percussive skills are the things that are both pushing this whole unholy endeavor forward, and beating out its time as it runs into the void. Digital Garbage is boss, babies, and I'm thankful that Mudhoney are here to save us all.
Digital Garbage is out on Friday via Sub Pop.
[Photo: Emily Rieman]