On this rare snowy day in Olympia, I thought I could use a little warmth, and so I searched for it in the local section of newly arrived music here at KAOS. I was immediately able to find something from someone with experience in this winter, and a few minutes later Mudhoney’s madness was penetrating my mind, with the raw energy of grunge that just shoots through you, replicating the Pacific Northwest’s piercing wet cold like a medicine ten times stronger than the disease itself.
Released on January 19 of 2018 through Sub Pop, ‘LiE’ follows Mudhoney on their 2016 tour through Central Europe, from Norway and Sweden down through Germany and Austria to Croatia, according to the Bandcamp description. The album covers work from all through the bands' history, with a healthy balance of songs from each decade. The description also mentions the band has a studio album to be released later this year, which is the 30th anniversary of the band’s forming in 1988.
‘LiE’ is somehow exactly as I expected it to be, and that is far from a bad thing. Mudhoney’s music is admittedly foreign to me (I was always more of Sonic Youth guy, though I have enjoyed a few playings of SuperFuzz BigMuff in my day), but I think sometimes I just hear something once, decide I like it, and then am finished with it, as if the evaluation of it is all that matters. But here Mudhoney has used this new opportunity to mold a solid place for themselves in my listening catalog. The album has the feeling a live performance gives in which it picks you up and shakes you around the room, bouncing you up and down or at the very least starts your head bobbing up and down. Songs like "Get Into Yours", "What to Do With the Neutral", "I’m Now", and "Editions of You" are the meat behind the power of Mudhoney’s first official live album, while longer tracks like The Final Course and Broken Hands open the album up, allowing the music to sustain itself on epic journeys. The band has maintained their spastic and driving sound through the years, and to see a punk band celebrating their 30th anniversary with not one but two releases is rare and exciting, especially when they do so as gracefully as Mudhoney has, without losing their grasp of that city sickness, or house show heritage. It is a golden tribute to the punk rockers all over the PNW, using music to find the energy blocked behind winter clouds.
If ever you want a way to get your party turned away from the typical music normal people seem to like and get yourself some good rock to move to, ‘Live in Europe’ is a great place to start. I recommend avoiding the album however if you have downstairs neighbors, as symptoms including jumping, shoving, shouting, and craving more.