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.

U-Men split soon af­ter, but not be­fore re­leas­ing the tremen­dous, tremu­lous sin­gle Dig It A Hole/ Solid Ac­tion – the finest garage churner ever to rip off the

Bat­man theme – which made Sin­gle Of The Week in Melody Maker, along­side Love Buzz, the de­but sin­gle by new Sub Pop band Nir­vana.

This col­lec­tion is the en­tire stu­dio-recorded out­put of the U-Men, re­mas­tered by leg­endary pro­ducer Jack

Endino, plus five un­re­leased songs – and damn, it’s fine.

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

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