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Archive for the ‘Bob Mould’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 19, 2021] Bob Mould Band

I saw Bob Mould play a solo show last year (just before the pandemic).  I had seen him 24 years earlier and thought it would be fun to see him again.  And it was.

When he announced this new tour, I didn’t feel like I needed to see him again.  However, since he was with a band, I thought it would be a different experience.  And it was.  Not radically different, but different enough to make it more fun.

Last time he played 22 songs in about 80 minutes.  And, in what I understand is true Mould fashion, a song would end and he would jump right into the next one.  He took a break every few songs to chat and then off he went.

It was much the same at Union Transfer, although this time he played 24 songs in 80 minutes.  Having the other two guys Jason Narducy on bass and Jon Wurster on drums added a much appreciated low end.

Plus there are some songs (especially Hüsker Dü songs) where the bass and or drums play something distinctive and it was nice to hear that part.

In 2020, Bob had not yet released Blue Hearts, although he did play four songs from it.  For this show he opened with four songs (two were different, like the appropriately angry “American Crisis“).  And then he was all over his lengthy discography (dating back to 1983). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 19, 2021] Kestrels

I had not heard of Kestrels.  They are a trio from Halifax with several releases out.

According to the new release

Since 2008, Kestrels has been the primary project of singer/guitarist Chad Peck, who spends his time offstage as a high school English teacher.  [Do his students know that their English teacher rocks?]

They played an excellent mix of loud and soft, with ripping solos, an excellent bass sound and cracking drums,

When they first started playing I actually couldn’t hear Peck’s voice at all.  I was right up against the fence in front of the stage and assumed I was too close to hear the voices (that’s not a nice audio trick to play on people in the front).  I backed up a few steps and could hear him better (they may have turned up the vocals, too).

Peck’s guitar playing was really fun–big distorted chords and then pulling back for some quiet guitar picking.

One of the more amusing moments was when the bassist (whose name I didn’t catch) asked if they could change the lights (they had been on that terrible red for a couple of songs).  He said “I’m a ginger, anything but red.” (more…)

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download - 2020-05-13T095755.048SOUNDTRACK: BOB MOULD-“American Crisis” (2020).

mpodldBob Mould was once a punk icon.  He has since moved through various styles of music (some more successfully than others).  But now, with everything going on in America these days, he is back to doing what he does best–writing short, powerful, rocking punk songs that address issues.

“American Crisis” starts out with a bashing guitar intro and Mould screaming (he can still scream with authority). The verses pound forward, unrelenting.  The verses are short–all the better to get to the chorus which is also propulsive and fast but really catchy.

I love the third or fourth part (there’s quite a few parts in this brief song).  The lyrics: “You’re one of us or you’re one of them.”  He gives a great wave of a guitar slide leading to a brief guitar pause before the song takes off again.

He ends the song with a whispered statement that was true during the AIDS crisis and is true today.  “Silence=Death.  Never Forget.”  Check it out.

[READ: June 5, 2020] “Bedside Planner”

This is an excerpt from Coetzee’s novel The Death of Jesus.

Simón and Inés are the legal guardians of a young boy named David. David suffers from an unknown disease and is bedridden. David is often asleep but is occasionally lucid.

David wants to know if he will be recognized.  Simón says, as a hero?  Of course.  But first you will have to do the deeds that will get you remembered.  That way someone will write a book about you.

David asks if he has done anything and Simón assures him that he saved Simón and Inés. He also says that some of the good deeds that David did he did with the aid of Don Quixote. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 25, 2020] Bob Mould

2020-01-25 21.13.34_previewI saw Bob Mould perform in 1996 at Avalon in Boston.  I don’t remember that much about the show.  He had a three piece band I believe (and Rasputina opened).  It was mix of Hüsker Dü, Sugar and solo songs (according to setlist.fm–see below).  Interestingly, there is a scathing review of his 1998 show in Chicago here.

So here it was 24 years later and Mould was touring again (he has toured a lot in the meantime, make no mistake) and I thought it would be fun to see him again.

This time it was just him and an electric guitar.  Once again he played Hüsker Dü, Sugar and solo songs.  Although now he had a lot more solo stuff to choose from.

What was fascinating about this show was that since it was just him, he was able to really rock through a whole bunch of songs at a pretty good speed–with minimal accompaniment or soloing.

And it was really quite loud–especially in this normally fairly quiet venue.  It was particularly amusing since I was in front of him so that that every time he moved to the left or the right, the amp (which was behind him) was so much louder–he was literally blocking a ton of the sound with his body.

Mould was in good form, telling some jokes and genuinely seeming to have a very good time. (more…)

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mouldbookSOUNDTRACK: BOB MOULD-Silver Age (2012).

silverage

I was a huge fan of everything Bob Mould put out.  And then he more or less gave up on music.  So I just enjoyed his past and ignored what else he did.  But then I heard great reviews of his new album Silver Age.  So great in fact, that I couldn’t help but listen to it.  And it is amazing.  It’s a major return to his punkier roots.  The guitars are loud and fast but the melodies are still present.  And what’s more important, his voice sounds great and the album is mixed really well–previous Mould records have suffered in production quality.  But this is a great great record.

“Star Machine” opens the disc with loud guitars, a simple melody and lots of attitude.  I love the repeated “Said It” that appears throughout the song.  “Silver Age” is something of a manifesto for Mould.  The guitars are harsh and jagged with lots of distortion and the lyrics tell you everything: “Never too old to contain my rage  This is how I’m gonna spend my days gonna fight gonna fuck gonna feed gonna walk away.”

“The Descent” is classic Mould–big guitars, great catchy vocals and really nice harmonies/backing vocals.  “Briefest Moment” starts with a thudding drum and a sparse fast guitar (which somehow reminds me of Cheap Trick).  The bass comes in with a galloping line rather than playing the same notes and it adds a lot of depth to the album.  “Steam of Hercules” slows things down a bit but “Fugue State” comes crashing back in with more fast thumping drums and sparse but effective guitars.

“Round the City Square” picks up the noise level and includes a wild guitar solo.  “Angels Rearrange” again sounds like classic Mould.  While “Keep Believing” has a great bridge that reminds me a lot of Hüsker Dü (yes I mentioned the band that should not be named).  “First Time Joy” ends the disc on a gentle note.  It’s a ballad (where you can really hear Mould’s voice and how clean and strong it sounds).  There’s keyboards on this song that add some nice dimension.  By the end the song gets bigger and more powerful, ending on a really strong chord.  It’s an awesome return to the rock fold for Mould and I look forward to more from him.

[READ: March 5, 2013] See a Little Light

After getting The Silver Age, I remembered that Mould had written an autobiography and that I’d heard it was quite good.  I don’t really read a lot of autobiographies, but my history with Mould is pretty deep and I was curious to see what had happened in his life to make him abandon his rock roots.  So I tracked it down.  And I really enjoyed it.

The fascinating thing is what a reasonable man Mould presents himself as.  I’m not disputing this–I don’t know really anything else about the guy–but every time someone dumps on him, he accepts partial responsibility for the problem and moves on.  If he’s really like that, that’s very cool.  But he almost seems too nice sometimes.

As I’ve said, I didn’t know much about Mould.  My friend Al got me into Hüsker Dü and I’ve been a fan ever since.  I’ve bought some of his solo records and all of his band records, but I kind of lost interest in him the last decade or so (during his experimental phase).  But I didn’t even really know why Hüsker Dü broke up.

Some interesting things about Bob: he was born numerically gifted–I really enjoyed the section about his childhood and the genius-y stuff he did.  Although he had a pretty rough childhood–his older brother died when Bob was young and so Bob was seen as a golden child (especially after something that happened to him which he didn’t learn about until much later).  And he started drinking at a very young age.

When he got to college he formed Hüsker Dü with Grant Hart (Greg Norton came a little later).  I enjoyed hearing about the early days of Hüsker Dü because I only learned of them much later.  And man were they productive!  They’d release an album and have new material ready to record before they even toured for the album that came out already.  It’s cool reading about the punk scene back in the days before the internet when bands had to rely on each other for support.  There’s also a lot of people who Bob name checks and it’s fun to hear all of the punk names again, especially the names of people who are still active.  (There’s also some bad vibes against SST, but since this is Mould, the bad vibes are pretty mild). (more…)

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