Next Tuesday your local retail shelves will see the return of Bob Mould with his 7th (and counting) solo release, District Line. I’ve fallen off the Bob Mould train a couple of times in the past (see: 2002’s electronica flirtation Modulate), but, between hearing a few tracks, and having read numerous early reviews, and interviews, I am genuinely excited to hear what the man pulls out of his hat on this one. Check out the MP3 “Stupid Now,” below.
While Mould’s work with his previous power trios, Hüsker Dü and Sugar, generally worked within the constraints of guitar/bass/drums (all the while pushing their boundaries), his solo material has covered genres as dissimilar as acoustic folk, noise, and electronica. District Line is, reportedly, grounded in Mould’s bread and butter: guitar-based power pop/rock, with members of Fugazi guesting throughout.
In related news, SPIN magazine is running a great, candid, interview in this month’s issue (available online), with Bob, discussing the new album, his adopted hometown of Washington D.C., the state of the record industry, coming out, and more. Here’s an excerpt in regard to his legacy:
SPIN: Is your legacy important to you? Mould: I absolutely think about it. That was something I learned from getting to hang around with a lot of the Beat guys like Burroughs and John Giorno, just to sit and talk and learn what’s important about what we do. So if it seems like I get hung up on history or protecting memories, it’s because I was taught to. My concern, always, is not to let the past overshadow the present, but believe me, I’m blessed to have such a nice history to work off of, and I’m careful not to cash in on it. I enjoy talking about what it all meant, how we had to rely on friends for shelter and food, the mechanics of it all compared with how it is now. It’s romantic. I’m comfortable with that now.
As an early nineties power-pop staple, I’ve always really enjoyed Sugar’s debut, Copper Blue, but it’s the Beaster EP, the trio’s angry, loud, and at times, twisted follow-up, that I return to more often. Recorded entirely during the Copper Blue sessions, Mould wisely shelved the material for a separate release, as the tone could not be more different from the formers, (comparatively) sunny and upbeat disposition. With dark religious undertones running throughout, explicitly at times, Beaster is a dense work that marries Black Sheets of Rain with Sugar’s rhythm section and song structure. At six songs at thirty minutes, it’s pretty close to perfect.