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U-Men - U-Men album review

Two-CD anthology of one of the great lost Seattle bands

Cover art for U-Men - U-Men album

From 1983 to 1987, the U-Men were the kings of the Seattle underground. Their sludgy, twisted, hypnotic sound was akin to Melbourne’s Birthday Party and fellow American absurdists Butthole Surfers, but these north-western slime lizards had a malevolence and dark humour all their own.

As Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm writes in the sleeve-notes, “The U-Men are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. They were hypnotic, frenetic, powerful and compelling… They ruled a bleak backwater landscape populated by maybe 200 people.”

Fanzine writer Bruce Pavitt released the U-Men’s first 12-inch EP on Bombshelter, and would have released their second on his fledgling Sub Pop label but was too broke. By the time their one album was released – 1988’s Step On A Bug – starvation and touring had done for bassist Jim Tillman, and the band, although still great, were never the same again.

Everett True
Everett True

Everett True started life as The Legend!, publishing the fanzine of that name and contributing to NME. Subsequently he wrote for some years for Melody Maker, for whom he wrote seminal pieces about Nirvana and others. He was the co-founder with photographer Steve Gullick of Careless Talk Costs Lives, a deliberately short-lived publication designed to be the antidote to the established UK music magazines.