As alt-rock icons go, fewer have the longevity and sheer strength of back catalog as Bob Mould. In honor of the fact that he’s hitting the Gramercy Theater with DJ partner Richard Morel on Friday night for one of their legendary Blowoff parties–the duo combine indie rock, electro and house to create one of the most unique club nights in the country — we wanted to take a look back at some of the finest moments of Mould’s career, from when he’s rockin’ out behind a guitar, instead of behind the decks.
“Celebrated Summer,” Hüsker Dü
Taken from now-classic 1985 album New Day Rising, “Celebrated Summer” was a fuzzy, frenzied, teenage, call to arms with one of the greatest opening lines in all of summer-song history–“Love and hate was in the air, like pollen from a flower”–as well as an emotive edge that would eventually inspire emocore and a subsequent generation of weepy malcontents. Written in 1984, “Celebrated Summer” was absurdly ahead of its time, but has left an indelible mark on rock to this day.
“Star Machine,” Bob Mould
Taken from the 2012 album of the same title, “Star Machine” explored the perils of the music industry with a typically catchy chorus, distinctly-Mould hard edge, but was accompanied by an unusually mirth-filled video that clearly declared an allegiance to maturity over all this rock ‘n’ roll business (“Hitting on dudes, and now we’re dads,” Mould sighs at the start).
“The Slim,” Sugar
Sugar’s 1992 debut album Copper Blue slipped into the alt-scene of the time seamlessly. And although the record is best remembered for the catchy-pop of “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”, the fuzz of “Changes” and the remarkably Pixies-esque “A Good Idea”, “The Slim” clung to a gruffness and underlying darkness that we’d grown to expect from Hüsker Dü-era Bob Mould, that makes this oft-forgotten track completely irresistible to this day.
“Very Temporary,” Bob Mould
Solemn and low-key, “Very Temporary” is one of Bob Mould’s most essential break-up songs, unabashedly exploring the loneliness, confusion and acute pain that comes when a loved one leaves suddenly. Taken from seventh solo album, 2008’s District Line, the record did receive some criticism for lacking an edge and taking too gentle an approach–but that’s particularly what we like about this vulnerable track.
“Something I Learned Today,” Hüsker Dü
Aside from “Celebrated Summer” (and, actually, the entire New Day Rising LP), the other absurdly ahead-of-its time moment for Hüsker Dü, came with 1984’s, epic, 23-track Zen Arcade album–on which a band aligned exclusively with the hardcore scene decided to make a concept album that branched out way beyond its station. It was about a computer hacker in a mental institution–crazy, but it worked brilliantly. The bass-heavy “Something I Learned Today” is one of the finest moments.