Review Revue: U-Men - Stop Spinning EP

Yet another one to add to the pile of “Bands that People Used to Really Dig that I’ve Never Heard of” (and honestly, that probably speaks more to my low level of knowing what I’m talking about, rather than the reputation of the band), Seattle’s U-Men apparently used to be quite the deal. Over their 8-year career they released one full length album and 2 EPs, and appeared on any number of compilations (including the legendary Sub Pop 100) on seemingly every essential indie label of the 80s. The U-Men, at one point, were everywhere. And yet it seems very little is known about them (judging by Wikipedia, anyway -- allmusic.com has a bit more info). If only we could go back in time and get the KCMU DJs to stop squabbling long enough to give us some answers...

“Well this is it! A new U-Men disc. Most of the material is a bit more cow-punk-rock oriented than their last, e.g. Cramps, Gun Club. I don’t like it as much as their first EP, except ‘Fumes,’ it’s my fave. On Homestead.”

“‘Cowpunk’? Just ‘cuz there’s a song called ‘Cowrock.’ Give ‘em a break jeez. ‘Clubs’ brings me to my knees, shit most of this does. I don’t see the Cramps/Gun Club influence, well except for maybe the Cramps on Tom’s guitar (which is way wilder than aforementioned band). I’d say more of a B-day P-tay influence.”

“Loud & negative.”

“You’re certainly emotional about this, aren’t you? The U-Men seem to have a vaguely “psycho-billy” (i.e. Cramps, Gun Club) flavour and, yes, even more of a B-day Party thang. But Abby and MM: We love ‘em cos they’re U-Men not cos they sound like this or that. Right? Bigley’s got it . . .”

“Hey, even their manager admits they sound like Birthday Party.”

“OK listen up Mark you shithead. I didn’t say they don’t sound like the B-day Party, but rather they sound more cowpunk than the last EP, I assumed the former was a given. And furthermore, I hate to disappoint you, but your opinion is not GOD. Just because ‘Clubs’ brings you to your knees does not mean it brings me to mine.”

“Aw shit Abby honey I’m sorry.”

“Dust.”

“Let’s face it children. They sold out long ago.”

“Let’s keep domestic quarrels at home...”

“Jim got shafted royally in the mix. If they’d mix the bass up, this would improve considerably. (But they didn’t, so too bad.)”

Photos by Charles Peterson

“Photos by Val Broach, John’s wonderful girlfriend!”

“The Birthday Party? Christ almighty...”

“This is 2 mos. old. Please, put it in the library! Stop spinning this disc before it’s too late!”

“We’re coming up on 3 mos. now. Other records have gone to M or lib. by now; why not this?”

“Please Faith! Take this out.”

“Great music for drunken louts -- and shit folks it’s not the Birthday Party, but James Brown! Huh!”

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4 Comments

  1. trent moorman
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Please, put it in the library!

    U-Men, U man. U r the man.

    Cows and punk. It’s a quarter moon.

  2. Alex
    Posted June 9, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to thank you for doing this series. I’d love to read the comments on a Beat Happening alb to see if they’re as negative as one would guess.

  3. Steven Moe
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    King...of...Clubs!! Didn’t they almost burn down a stage someplace in the early days? They played some of the best Puget power p(h)unk since the Sonics were pissing off your great-grandparents.

  4. ian etheridge
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    tom price told me personally that his favorite band is the Gun Club. getting into the U-Men opened a million doors to other bands and styles i had not heard/liked/knew of before. im waiting for the reunion show at the showbox!

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