MUD IN YOUR EYE: Yeah, I know--grunge is dead. I mean, it was so '92: Soundgarden broke up a couple years back; there'll be a new Alice in Chains album out by the time flannel is so retro it's cool again; and I don't need to tell ya what sort of fate met ol' boy Cobain. So why should anyone care that Mudhoney is coming to town this week in support of their brand new album, Tomorrow Hit Today (Reprise), released in their 10th year as a band?

Sound Bites Here's why: Because Mudhoney kicks ass, plain and simple.

Is it street cred you're looking for? Let's not forget that future Mudhoney members Mark Arm (vocals/guitars) and Steve Turner (guitars) made up half of the members of Green River, the band credited with spawning the entire Seattle scene/sound way back in 1985. (The other two members were Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, now of Pearl Jam).

Are you scared you'll be scoffed at for living in the past by clubgoers who traded in their copies of Nevermind and Superfuzz Bigmuff a couple years back for the new Prodigy? I'll let ya in on a little secret: Soundgarden and Alice in Chains would've both been filed under "heavy metal" if they weren't from Seattle and had emerged a few years earlier; and Nirvana was a Cheap Trick/Pixies-inspired pop band with louder distortion pedals and deeper lyrics. My friends, "grunge" was the demented Easter Bunny of pop: It never existed. It was just a word invented by some marketing genius (or journalist hack) in an attempt to pigeonhole a bunch of bands who happened to shower infrequently and reside in the same region, and had very little in common musically.

Back to the music: Mudhoney is and always has been a down 'n' dirty, sleazy, fuzzed-out, '60s-inspired but unquestionably post-punk garage rock-and-roll band that plays three-chord, three-minute songs with themes lifted from Russ Meyer movies (just like their moniker). And here's the kicker--they do it as well as, if not better than, any group still in existence.

Don't let it bother you that they've been around for a whole decade now. The new album (their first in three years) is probably their most diverse to date, while still managing to sound like the Mudhoney we learned to love in the first place.

The self-referentially titled Tomorrow Hit Today (their first album contained the song "When Tomorrow Hits") was superbly produced by Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Big Star, The Replacements, and Ry Cooder, just to name a few. From the "Cinnamon Girl"-lifted opening chords of "A Thousand Forms of Mind," the band makes it clear they're not just putting out "product" to tour, but that they've made a fine addition to their already impressive canon.

And as great as any of their albums are, Mudhoney has always been, at their core, an earth-shaking, ear-splitting dynamo of a live band. We should feel privileged to be able to witness such an event in the intimate confines of Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

Nebula opens the festivities promptly at
8:30 p.m. Monday, December 7, followed by the triumphant return of local punk heroes Helldriver, who've experienced growing pains and three different drummers in the eight months since their last live performance. Word on the street is that they'll be back with a vengeance. The film portion of this Multimedia Monday event will finish off the night around 11:30 p.m. Cover charge is a paltry five-spot. Call 622-8848 with any questions.

HOT PICK: Tucson native and renowned jazz bassist Brian Bromberg returns to town for his first local show in about a decade (he now resides in Los Angeles). A UA graduate who toured with jazz legend Stan Getz at age 19, Bromberg has made quite a name for himself in the contemporary jazz world; and his most recent release, You Know That Feeling (Zebra), has spawned two Top-Five jazz radio singles on the Gavin chart, including the No. 1 single "By The Fireplace," featuring Everette Harp on tenor sax and Jeff Lorber on keyboards.

Welcome Bromberg home December 3 through 5 at the Cottonwood Club, 60 N. Alvernon Way. Each night will feature an 8 p.m. dinner show for $29.95, and a 10:30 p.m. late show for $15. Reservations are accepted by phone (with credit card) at 326-6000.

LAST NOTES: In the wake of a successful American tour which included a coveted appearance at the CMJ New Music Seminar in New York City (they were the sole representatives of Arizona at the festival), everyone's favorite call-and-response New Orleans brass band, Crawdaddy-O, will celebrate the release of their second full-length album--the excellent Last Night On Earth--with a party on Friday, December 4, at Third Stone, 500 N. Fourth Ave. The show kicks off at 9 p.m. with an opening band still to be announced. Call 628-8844 for more information.

One of the most distinctive singer/songwriters in American jazz, Mose Allison, returns to town this week for what should be one helluva show. Now 71 years old, the master seems to be getting only better with age. His brand new album, Gimcracks and Gewgaws (Blue Note), stands up to anything in his impressive catalog. In addition to "MJA Jr." (a humorous little ditty about confusion regarding his name) and the beautifully melancholy "Numbers on Paper," the album also features "Old Man Blues," a sequel to his "Young Man Blues," made famous when The Who covered it on their seminal Live at Leeds LP.

Allison has also been covered by artists as diverse as Johnny Winter, the Kingston Trio, and The Clash, not to mention the Allison tribute album released by Van Morrison and Georgie Fame a couple of years ago.

Come see this living American legend on Friday, December 4, at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets are $12 in advance, available by calling 1-800-638-4253; or $15 at the box office on the day of the show.

If heavy-hitting instrumental power trios are your bag, you won't want to miss the triple bill of Richmond, VA's, Stinking Lizaveta; San Diego's Last of the Juanitas; and Tucson's own Before Christ Frequently Modulated (BCFM), whose entire bio reads as follows: "BCFM recently relocated back to Tucson after a religious retreat in the hills of Rangoon, Burma, where they fine-tuned their sense of spirituality at the sacred Temple of Punani." Hmmm.

Last of the Juanitas sold out their previous two Tucson gigs, but insisted on opening for Stinking Lizaveta, reportedly to protect themselves from getting blown off the stage. Should be a fine show, indeed. It all goes down at 9:30 p.m. Friday, December 4, at Nimbus Brewery, 3850 E. 44th St. Cover is $3, and you can call 745-9175 for details.

And finally, fresh off their appearance at the Tucson Blues Festival, highly acclaimed husband-and-wife R&B/blues duo Janiva Magness and Jeff Turmes (who also played with the James Harman Band for six years), will be returning to town as part of the Boondocks' Sunday Blues & BBQ series at 6 p.m. on December 6. For ticket and dinner show information, call the lounge at 690-0991. Boondocks Lounge is located at 3360 N. First Ave. TW

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