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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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