Posts Tagged ‘Bob Mould’

“An Obelisk” is the sixth album from Titus Andronicus, which finds the noted rock band under the stewardship of producer and legendary rocker Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar, et al.). This trans-generational meeting of the minds has yielded the most immediate, intense, and unadorned Titus Andronicus record to date. Clocking in at a brisk 38 minutes and change, it is also the shortest. Recorded over six breathless days at Steve Albini’s world-renowned Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, An Obelisk presents the sound of Titus Andronicus, rock band, at its most irreducible, as monolithic as the album’s titular monument.

The official video for “Troubleman Unlimited” by Titus Andronicus, off the new album ‘An Obelisk,’ available June 21st from Merge Records.

The official video for “Tumult Around The World” by Titus Andronicus, off the new album ‘An Obelisk,’ available June 21st from Merge Records.

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In the first 15 seconds of his new video, Bob Mould tells the world: “Dictators, terrorists and tech companies have created an apocalyptic surveillance state. The Western world has fallen into a deep state of paranoia and disinformation.”

The video for Bob Mould’s new song, “Lost Faith” cuts to a scene of our protagonist, living in Germany, being interviewed by the media. From Mould’s paranoid point of view, all he can see are drones following him. And when the reporter asks, “What are you running from?” the music kicks in and Mould sings: “I’ve lost faith in everything / Everything, everything.” This could simply be the perfect song for our times, but what Mould does in “Lost Faith” (and elsewhere on his forthcoming album Sunshine Rock) is take the negativity and fear and locate the positive. “I know we all lose faith from time to time,” he sings. “You better find your way back home.”

New album ‘Sunshine Rock’ out Feb 8th, 2019!

Bob Mould is a legend, and his band Hüsker Dü informed a huge swath of music in the ’90s. These days, he is, in fact, living in Germany; it’s been a few years and he says he’s newly inspired. The new album is full of themes of sunshine instead of “black sheets of rain.”

Writing via email, Mould says of “Lost Faith” that “there’s a hint of migration, a dash of border security and a whisper of government surveillance, climaxing across the multicolored canvas of an abandoned NSA listening station perched atop the highest hill in Berlin. But at the end of the day, it’s a high-end music video for a catchy, inspirational, uplifting pop song.”

From the album Sunshine Rock, out February 8th, 2019 on Merge Records.

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Bob Mould recently released the song “What Do You Want Me To Do” from his new full-length album Sunshine Rock (out February 8th) and shared a first-ever behind-the-scenes look at his time in the studio. Never before has Mould allowed a camera crew to affect the creative process; now he shares these moments with the public as the Sunshine Rock Studio Session, which debuted with the new single. Read more about the track and the session at Rolling Stone.

Mould has also revealed that Screaming Females, Criminal Hygiene, and Will Johnson of Centro-matic have been added as support, along with the previously announced Titus Andronicus, for select dates on his upcoming tour spanning North America and Europe, which starts on Valentine’s Day.

From the album Sunshine Rock, out February 8th, 2019 on Merge Records.

American punk band Hüsker Dü’s early music is being remastered from the original analogue tapes, and released on vinyl in a new retrospective called Savage Young Dü.

Experience the punishing sonic origins of a punk icon. Collected here for the first time, and skillfully remastered from original board tapes, demos, and session masters, this collection is an authoritative chronicling of the wellspring and maturation of Grant Hart, Greg Norton and Bob Mould—three St. Paul teenagers who’d go on to become the most heralded trio of the American punk underground. Follow the Hüskers to their earliest gigs in 1979, through extensive road dog touring, and to the start of their partnership with West Coast tastemaker SST in 1983.

This primitive stage in the fabled career of Hüsker Dü is presented as a deluxe box set and packaged with a hardbound book crammed full of never before seen photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued. Also included are Statues/Amusement, In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart, and an alternate recording of the Land Speed Record set.

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Bob Mould, Hüsker Dü’s chief songwriter, singer and de facto leader would no doubt delight in the knowledge that for many, the band’s name is synonymous with his own. But to ignore the part played by his band mates, particularly drummer and co-founder Grant Hart, is to ignore a huge part of the band’s legacy – including everything from their first single to their biggest hit. Though healthy competition between the two ultimately spiralled into bitter infighting which would tear the band apart, these inter-band tensions helped, for a while, to create some of the band’s best ever music as Hart and Mould entered into a game of musical one-upmanship. And so we present the best Hüsker Dü songs written by Grant Hart.

There weren’t a lot of girls in hardcore songs – but there was only one Grant Hart, and in his songs, he turned himself into a lens and noticed things nobody else did. When you saw Hüsker Dü live in the Eighties, you saw three earnest young men – Hart, Mould, bassist Greg Norton burn through their songs, as Mould and Hart traded off lead vocals without a pause in between. Mould was all wary scowl and no-bullshit guitar fuzz; Hart was one big flippant grin. You could get mesmerized by Hart’s manic drumming, a blur of hair and elbows, and the audibly giddy slobber of his voice.

They produced seven albums together, before an acrimonious split in 1988 at the peak of their popularity. Grant Hart changed the emotional vocabulary of punk rock. As the long-haired barefoot drummer of Hüsker Dü, he was the cheeriest-looking guy anyone had seen in a hardcore band, and despite all the turmoil he brought to their songs, he also brought his skewed pop smile. His songs ran the spectrum – the rage of “It’s Not Funny Anymore,” the affection of “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill,” the grief of “Pink Turns to Blue.” Hüsker Dü’s emotional realness made them a life-changing band for so many of us, and that’s why Hart, who died last night in Minneapolis at 56, was a life-changing presence.

BOOKS ABOUT UFO’S (Hart, 1985)

Check the glorious racket of his finest Hüsker Dü song, “Books About UFOs,” from their 1985 classic New Day Rising: a demented Brian Wilson–style melody, drenched in Bob Mould’s guitar feedback. Hart bangs on a piano and yelps about a stargazing girl who hangs at the library, “checking out the latest books about outer space.” She sits on her roof, reading and eating oranges. There’s an utterly unironic “wooooo!” into the guitar solo, before Hart crows the breathless final lines: “Her life revolves around all of the planets! And she is constantly aware of all the changes that occur! I’m going to turn into a lens and focus all my attention and I’m finding a new planet and naming it … right after herrrr!”

TURN ON THE NEWS (Hart, 1984)

Their 1985 album, Zen Arcade, was praised by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the greatest albums of the 1980s and one the best punk albums ever. Hart’s contribution, “Turn on the News” has been listed on the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hart, who later went on to form the group Nova Mob, was also cited as an influence on Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

STATUES (Hart, 1981)
The band’s first single, Statues was released at a time when Hüsker Dü were struggling to pin down their sound. Though it shows an interest in experimentation that would follow the band through each stage of their career, the almost nine minutes-worth of Krautrock inspired, Keith Levine-esque guitar is far removed from the boisterous hardcore that followed in its wake. Borrowing heavily from Neu! and PiL, it hints at Hart’s aptitude for a scribbling out a catchy tune – an ability that would later help to shape the band’s signature brand of melodic punk rock.

Arguably Hüsker Dü’s biggest hit, that this was the most popular song from the band’s major label debut would have significantly rankled Bob Mould, not least as it was released as an increasingly destructive creative partnership between the two developed. A sophisticated pop punk masterpiece, this song laid a blueprint for hundreds of aspiring punk rockers to follow – including future millionaires Green Day, Foo Fighters and Blink 182.

By the time Hüsker Dü released Zen Arcade, Hart’s credentials as an accomplished pop songwriter were already solid. Here, his ability to marry the dark subject matter of a young woman suffering a fatal overdose with sweet but melancholic melodies provides a sobering counterpoint to his whimsical, 60s-influenced love songs. Foreshadowing Hart’s own struggles with substance abuse, the song isn’t without its own sense of tragic irony.

GREEN EYES (Hart, 1985)
While Hart and Mould both developed a taste for bitter break up songs and damning shuns, it was Hart who truly nailed the wide-eyed love songs. This innocent account of Hart just being super into his companion shimmers under its lush, 60s-inspired harmonies, and includes some of his most sweetly heartfelt lyrics: What makes them sparkle/What makes them shine/What makes those eyes of yours look into mine?

Zen Arcade was Hüsker Dü’s magnum opus, an experimental melting pot of hardcore, folk, psychedelia and pop that spanned 70 minutes and four sides of vinyl. These two minutes of fast-paced acoustic strumming, nestled between two angst-ridden Mould tracks, might have seemed out of place, but this concise, stripped-back statement of intent works as a cheeky counterpoint which will trip you up and out of those epic proceedings, before swallowing you back into them on the other side.

DIANE (Hart, 1983)
Covered by Therapy? in 1995 (their version made it to No.26 in the UK charts, far outstripping the success of the original), Diane was an early college radio stand out track. Its rumbling, haunting punk rock caught the attention of campus DJs and students across America, solidifying Hüsker Dü’s place in the emerging college rock alumni. Detailing the brutal 1980 murder of Minnesota waitress Diane Edwards, its sinister subject matter was at odds with Hart’s hippy reputation.

New Day Rising is the record on which Hart and Mould began in earnest to develop distinct sounds, and Girl Who... is an excellent example of this divide, with its glorious pop punk standing slightly at odds with Mould’s emerging alt.rock leanings. While it’s widely considered to be a straightforward love song, considering that Heaven Hill was a brand of bourbon popular at the time, many have insisted it should instead be read as Hart’s lament to his own tumultuous relationship with alcohol.

Embracing his hippy reputation with full force, Hart uses this track to indulge in obscure instrumentation (wood blocks and wind pipes on a punk song?) and whimsical tales set against a psychedelic backdrop. Warehouse: Songs And Stories contained more of Hart’s songs than any other (9 in total), though Mould commanded the lion’s share. Unfortunately Warehouse... would mark the end of the band’s recording career together, as personal struggles gripped Hart while his relationship with Mould disintegrated entirely.

SOMEWHERE (Hart/Mould, 1984)
Though technically Mould did write this song, he didn’t do it alone, and it bears mention as a Hart/Mould co-write is a relative rarity in the Hüsker Dü back catalogue. Taken from 1984’s Zen Arcade – and a time when the pair were still amicable enough to share writing credits (this wouldn’t last for much longer) – this short but sweet slice of energetic punk rock ends with backward tape loops of guitar, mimicking the earlier psychedelic techniques used in Dreams Reoccurring.

As their brotherly rivalry threatened to tip over into something more sinister, Hart and Mould’s songwriting styles flourished as they competed to outdo one another track by track. While it ultimately wrecked their relationship, Flip Your Wig is the album that really bore the fruits of this conflict – and is considered by Mould to be the band’s best. Hart’s wistful, melancholic brooding on this track marks it as one of Flip Your Wig’s stand outs tracks.

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Grant Hart Dead

Its been confirmed that Grant Hart, drummer and co-lead singer of influential American indie band Husker Du, has died. He was 56 and had been battling cancer.

Around 11 p.m. Pacific Time, the official Husker Du Facebook page posted a photo of Grant with no caption.

The Minneapolis band, which Hart formed with fellow singer-songwriter Bob Mould and bassist Greg Norton in 1979, was one of the leading lights of the American independent-rock movement of the 1980s. While strongly influenced by punk and the then-burgeoning West Coast hardcore scene, the band’s melodic leanings increasingly came to the fore on its later releases. As part of an unexpectedly strong local rock scene that also included the Replacements and Soul Asylum, the group had signed with Warner Bros. and were at the peak of their popularity when they split acrimoniously in early 1988. Mould went on to a successful solo career that included solo albums, a stint leading the band Sugar and even as a creative consultant for World Championship Wrestling; Hart released several albums and EPs over the years both solo and as leader of the band Nova Mob.

While the Huskers’ split was so bitter that the band members only recently began communicating regularly again — around the forthcoming release of “Savage Young Du,” a sprawling three-disc compilation of much of the band’s earliest material. Yet  the prolific and hard-touring Huskers cast a wide shadow over American rock of the ’80s and ’90s and beyond, influencing untold thousands of fans and musicians, not least Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.

The group worked as hard as they played, touring relentlessly between 1982-87 and releasing some seven albums — two of them double discs — in those five years. Their early recordings, released on their own Reflex Records, were marred by poor sound (which is dramatically improved on “Savage Young Du”), but the band’s greatness truly began to emerge when they joined the orbit of SST Records, the massively influential independent label run founded by Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn. The Huskers toured with that band and adapted their Spartan work ethic as well, cris-crossing the country playing nearly every night for months on end. Aided by the burgeoning American indie-rock network of venues, fanzines, record stores and college radio stations, the band inspired and helped to build scenes and bands all across the country.

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Thursday morning, Bob Mould posted two photos of himself and Hart, one from early in the band’s career and and a more recent one, and wrote the following post:

 “It was the Fall of 1978. I was attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. One block from my dormitory was a tiny store called Cheapo Records. There was a PA system set up near the front door blaring punk rock. I went inside and ended up hanging out with the only person in the shop. His name was Grant Hart.

“The next nine years of my life was spent side-by-side with Grant. We made amazing music together. We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world. When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life. It was an amazing decade.

“We stopped working together in January 1988. We went on to solo careers, fronting our own bands, finding different ways to tell our individual stories. We stayed in contact over the next 29 years — sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult, sometimes through go-betweens. For better or worse, that’s how it was, and occasionally that’s what it is when two people care deeply about everything they built together.

“The tragic news of Grant’s passing was not unexpected to me. My deepest condolences and thoughts to Grant’s family, friends, and fans around the world. Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.

Copper Blue [Clean]

Bob Mould took a different path after the dissolution of post-punk legends Hüsker Dü, memorably releasing an acoustic-based solo debut in 1989’s Workbook followed by a return to volume with Black Sheets of Rain a year later. Then Nirvana arrived. He said he knew, right then, that guitar records were back. Copper Blue” is the debut studio album by American alternative rock band Sugar. It was voted 1992 Album of the Year

All of the songs were written by guitarist/vocalist Bob Mould, who also co-produced with Lou Giordano. The song “The Slim” is about losing someone to AIDS. Musically, the band continues the thick punk guitar of Mould’s previous band, Hüsker Dü, while slowing the tempo and emphasizing melody even more.

Bob Mould quickly formed Sugar with bassist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis, releasing Copper Blue on September. 4th, 1992.  Several tracks were recorded for this album, but were not included. Mould decided to release them separately as an EP entitled “Beaster”.

“Music is such a circular thing. When Nevermind came out, that album changed the way people listen to music,” Mould told NPR in 2014. “A lot of the songs that I had been writing in 1991 led up to my next group, Sugar — and had it not been for Nevermind, I don’t know if Sugar’s Copper Blue would have stood a chance in ’92. But people were now receptive to this sound.”

Constructed in the same power trio image as Hüsker Dü, Sugar instead leaned more toward power pop – extending Mould’s underground legend into a new arena and into a new generation. What it wasn’t, Mould insisted at the time, was “alternative.”

This sunburst of hooky joy, however, followed a very dark period. Mould was coming off a failed personal relationship, and a failed professional one. A recent separation from his manager revealed that he’d signed away Mould’s publishing rights without permission. A split with Virgin Records followed, leaving Mould to toil through a rigorous – but financially necessary – nine-month solo tour in 1991.

As he averaged some 300 miles of driving a day, Mould had plenty of time to jump start his creative impulses. Something he once called a “lonely and inspiring” experience led to “plenty of time for reflection,” and then to these new songs.

Then came an appearance at an outdoor festival in Germany before some 7,000 people – all of whom, it seemed, where there to see Nirvana. On the verge of releasing their breakthrough Nevermind, Mould admitted that Nirvana “customarily trashed the joint.” Mould had the bad luck to follow them onstage.

“Pounding away on a 12-string acoustic by myself at an outdoor festival in the middle of the afternoon was no easy feat,” Mould said in 2011. “Nirvana destroys the stage, then it’s me carrying on like Richie Havens at Woodstock.”

Change was in the air, and Mould was deeply aware of it. You could, of course, draw a straight line from Hüsker Dü to Nirvana. The time for a return to the outsized energy, the riffy focus and even the format of Mould’s critically acclaimed but always commercially overlooked first band seemed to have finally arrived.

“The success of Nevermind re-tempered the ears of the listeners throughout the world,” Mould told NPR. “It was a heavy, punky record, but there was something about it that was so accessible that it opened up all these pathways for other musicians — myself included — to have our music heard.”

Sugar’s songs, once envisioned as solo performances, took on new life with the arrival of Barbe and Travis, and they immediately started feeling like a real band, Mould said. Sugar selected their name in the most off-the-cuff manner possible, while sitting inside a Waffle House at Athens, Ga. where they band spent some time working out their emerging sound in R.E.M.‘s practice space. “We got a big pot of coffee and banged out about 24 songs,” Travis said in 1992.

Mould was right; their timing was perfect. “Helpless” hit No. 5 on the modern rock charts; “A Good Idea” – which Mould has said was “an unconscious homage” to the Pixies’ “Debaser” – became a fan favorite, too. Free of so many lingering worries, tracks like “Hoover Dam” (a triumph of jangly optimism) simply came tumbling out.

“It was this dream song that just turned up as I was waking up one morning,” Mould said of “Hoover Dam” in a 2014 interview with Team Rock. “It came to me fully formed, and then it’s just all the baubles that make it that crazy baroque band thing. All that was pretty much in my head too, but you have to sit down and make these baubles shine. That’s the production stuff.”

Copper Blue did even better in the punk-loving U.K., reaching the Top 10. NME named it Album of the Year, even as “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” reached the Top 30 there. “What a fun ride that was. That was like 0 to 100 in about eight seconds,” Mould told Moehlis, adding that he was grateful that “I had 13 years of experience under my belt before the rocket got strapped to my ass.”

After all, pressure like that often leads rock stars down rocky paths, since “everybody wants everything all the time.” Instead, Mould got to enjoy the ride. “At this point in my life,” he said in his autobiography See a Little Light, “I was euphoric.”

Of course, plenty of people began to frame Sugar as a call back to his time with Hüsker Dü. There were, on the surface at least, some obvious similarities. For Mould, however, this represented a brand new start, and a most welcome one, even if he was returning to a tried-and-true trio set up.

“It’s a pretty comfortable spot for me,” Mould said in a 2014 interview. “It’s odd to say ‘comfortable,’ because it’s really a lot of work for me but musically it’s the best way, when I have two other people that I need to connect with. There’s a real clarity and a purpose to it because everybody knows how much they have to lift at all times. I like that interaction. It feels like jazz.

Their sets, like Bob Mould himself, focused on the here and now. “Hüsker Dü broke up,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “We had eight good years, and one bad one. Sugar doesn’t do any oldies.”

In July 24, 2012, the album was reissued by Merge Records as a 3-disc set containing the full album accompanied by B-sides (disc 1), the Beaster EP (disc 2), and a 1992 live performance at the Cabaret Metro (disc 3)
Band members

  • Bob Mould – guitars, vocals, keyboards, percussion
  • David Barbe – bass
  • Malcolm Travis – drums, percussion

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“Copper Blue” is the debut studio album by American alternative rock band Sugar. It was voted 1992 Album of the Year by the NME. All of the songs were written by guitarist/vocalist Bob Mould, who also co-produced with Lou Giordano .  The song “The Slim” is about losing someone to AIDS. Musically, the band continues the thick punk guitar of Mould’s previous band, Husker Du, while slowing the tempo and emphasizing melody even more.

A limited edition initial run of the CD was released by Rykodisc in a front-and-back metal copper sleeve with each of the 2,500 copies containing a one-of-a-kind polaroid photo taken by one of the three band members and stamped on the back with “Sugar Copper Blue Summer ’92.”

Sugar – Copper Blue (25th Anniversary Edition).

This exclusive release brings together the band’s seminal debut album alongside their raucous live performance at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago on 22nd July 1992.

To mark the 25th anniversary of Copper Blue the recordings are spread across 3 x heavyweight coloured LPs in Silver, Gold & Blue complimenting the original album artwork and is limited to just 1500 (territory restrictions apply). Contains the singles “A Good Idea”, “Changes” and “If You Can’t Change Your Mind”. 

Track Listing:

1: The Act We Act 2: A Good Idea 3: Changes 4: Helpless 5: Hoover Dam 6: The Slim 7: If I Can’t Change Your Mind8: Fortune Teller 9: Slick 10: Man On The Moon

1: The Act We Act 2: A Good Idea 3: Changes 4: Running Out of Time 5: Helpless 6: If I Can’t Change Your Mind 7: Where Diamonds Are Halos 8: Hoover Dam 9: Beer Commercial 10: Slick 11: Anyone 12: Clownmaster 13: Tilted 14: Armenia City in the Sky 15: JC Auto 16: The Slim 17: Dum Dum Boys 18: Man on the Moon

Several tracks were recorded for this album, but were not included. Mould decided to release them separately as an EP entitled Beaster.

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