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MUSIC & THE ARTS

A bit of a Dü

By Steve Auto of Point Blank Poznan

Posted October 08, 2015
Hüsker Dü Metal Circus
Hüsker poo! Norton, Hart and a flatulent Mould in 1983. © Naomi Petersen

Steve Auto's back from the pub and he's whapping on some Hüsker Dü.



After a good sesh at the pub there are a few records I always end up resorting to and Metal Circus is one of them.

Fast, frantic and full-on, this EP ticks all the boxes.

Hardcore punk as good as you can ask for.


A FIST IN YOUR FACE
Released in 1983, this was before Hüsker Dü started making waves with their more popular material and I challenge anyone to listen to Real World or First of the Last Calls without wanting to raise a fist and fight the New World Order.

Isn't this what punk rock was made for?

But let us take a step back.

The trio's debut album Land Speed Record (1982) is as brutal as you'll get.

Recorded live, it's like walking on broken glass with a fist in your face.

1983's Everything Falls Apart is no easier.

It keeps up the pace and the military drumming on From the Gut shows you exactly what's on offer.

But even back then, the boys were letting their melodic side shine through with the album's lead song giving a glimpse into what the future had on offer.


Hüsker Dü New Day Rising
New Day Rising: Hats, tash and pocket billiards. © Naomi Petersen


A CHANGE IN STYLE
The next two albums Zen Arcade (1984) and New Day Rising (1985) were when the boys began finding their stride.

Chartered Trips Away has to be one of the best pop songs ever written, while 59 Times the Pain hits hard with passion, aggression and dark desperation – perhaps the best three and half minutes of punk ever put onto vinyl.

New Day Rising never gets the recognition it deserves.

From the bleak gold cover of two dogs looking into the distance to the songs on offer, the record is pure class.

Terms Of Psychic Warfare gives a false warm feeling of optimism while Celebrated Summer kicks in with a catchy riff, but the haunting voxes soon bring things back down to earth.

The opener itself hits you like a steam train and if you haven't fucked off by the time it finishes, you know you're in for the long haul.

Why isn't this record held in more regard?

I just don't get it.


 Hüsker Dü signed to Warner Bros
No, I will not fold my arms: The Dü celebrate signing to Warner Bros. © Daniel Corrigan


NEW LABEL, NEW DIRECTION
Come late 1985, the band had moved onto Warner Bros but out of loyalty, they released one more album on indie label SST.

Lead singer and guitarist Bob Mould has always said Flip Your Wig is Hüsker Dü's best output (I would beg to differ) and fair play to the boys for putting some cash in the way of SST's direction.

There are some great tunes to be heard and Makes No Sense at All stands the test of time but it's no match on their earlier output.

Full of power-pop-fuelled tunes, the album gives a good insight into Mould's future solo direction – angst-ridden pop songs but with no real end target in sight.

Warner Bros debut Candy Apple Grey saw the band finally receive TV and radio airtime, but the music had begun to turn drab and save for Sorry Somehow, the album signalled the beginning of the end.

A combination of the dazzling bright lights and drummer/vocalist Grant Hart's heroin addiction seemed to be proving too much and the less said about final album Warehouse: Songs and Stories the better.


SOLO STUFF
By 1988 the band was done.

Bass player Greg Norton ditched his guitar and opened up a restaurant with his wife while Mould set out to pursue a successful career with Sugar.

Grant Hart is still churning out the tunes too but I don't really know enough about their solo stuff to do them all justice.

Plenty of outfits fall out, sling mud yet get back together when the festivals throw cash in their direction – but not a hope with Hüsker Dü.

A mixture of unfulfilled promises and internal friction is what made this band great from the off and it's also the reason we'll never see these boys on stage together again.

Long live Hüsker Dü.


STEVE IN THE MIX
Too bloody right! So on that note, here's some of Steve's top tips for you all. Up first it's Real World followed by First of the Last Calls, Chartered Trips, Terms of Psychic Warfare, Makes No Sense at All and Sorry Somehow. Get on, boss!



















While the first four vids are embedded here on the tune-tastic Rake & Herald from BingoMandingo's YouTube channel, the latter two are taken, respectively, from those of Victor Peres and Frane Rogosic. And while you're about it, you might want to check out this here Hüsker Dü database that's positively rammed full of all things Dü-like. Heck, where d'you think we grabbed those photos from? Seriously. Check it out if you have nae done so already, cap'n.


See also Surf sounds from space, posted 2/9/15.


Steve Auto
is the editor of Poz-based punk and alternative music fanzine Point Blank Poznan, a publication we've very kindly been allowed to lift a fair few stories from, such as this one here for example. Cheers, Steg! There's a bowl of orange zest out the back if you want.



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