Tag Archives: Superchunk
Bob Mould – The Bowery Ballroom – February 26, 2013
To get started last night at The Bowery Ballroom, Bob Mould needed just a little bit of help. Something was wrong with his guitar’s connection to the amp, but with just a tap by his stage manager, the blue Fender kicked to life. “I’m out of my mind,” Mould said laughing as he ripped into “The Act We Act” to start the show. Needless to say, Mould didn’t need any help after that.
Backed by Jason Narducy on bass and Superchunk’s Jon Wurster on drums, Mould breathlessly tore through highlights of his impressive musical career. His nonstop grin seemed to be fueled by the freight train’s pace at which they played. The set’s first half
was a carousel of music from his different bands. Sugar’s “A Good Idea” was followed by “Changes,” and then before you knew it, Hüsker Dü songs like “I Apologize” were pouring out as well.
But before Mould jumped into the material from his newest album, Silver Age, he finally took a quick break to crack jokes with the older crowd: “How many people got babysitters until 1 a.m.?” He then settled right back into focusing only on the microphone, his guitar and showing that his new music perfectly meshes with the old, with wild songs like “The Descent” and the whip-cracking solos he’d let rip during them all. —Sean O’Kane
In the music world, if people know you’re name from even just one project, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing something right. And if audiences recognize you for two influential bands (one of them iconic) plus an acclaimed solo career, well, you just might be Bob Mould. Raised in rural Upstate New York, he headed to college in Minnesota, ultimately making a home in the Twin Cities and forming Hüsker Dü—Mould on guitar and vocals, Grant Hart on drums and vocals, and Greg Norton on bass—in the late ’70s. Initially a thrashing punk band, their sound grew more melody driven but not any quieter. And while they didn’t find the success of R.E.M., they became indie-rock pioneers, paving the way for groups like the Pixies, Superchunk and Nirvana. But alas, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t meant to last, and Hüsker Dü broke up while on tour in 1987.
So Mould went solo, releasing the excellent Workbook two years later. It was a big departure from his previous work, with much of the album acoustic with a strong folk bent. Another solo effort followed before he again formed a power trio—with David Barbe on bass and Malcolm Travis on drums—the more radio friendly Sugar. Their debut LP, Copper Blue, out in ’92, earned applause from critics and fans alike. But by 1995, Mould had ended the band and gone it alone again. He’s dutifully recorded more material and toured ever since. And his tenth solo album, the well-received Silver Age (stream it below), came out last year. Watch Bob Mould, above, performing “Keep Believing” on Conan and then go see him live at The Bowery Ballroom tonight and tomorrow, where he’ll play selections from Silver Age, Hüsker Dü, Sugar and his solo classics.
Tags: Black Sheets of Rain, Bob Mould, Bowery Ballroom, Copper Blue, David Barbe, Grant Hart, Greg Norton, Hüsker Dü, Malcolm Travis, Nirvana, Pixies, Preview, Silver Age, Sugar, Superchunk, Video, Workbook
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Merge Records Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 18, 2012
One could argue that no other independent label from the past 20 years has released as many instant classics as Merge Records. After all, they gave the OK for the Magnetic Fields to put out a three-album collection of 69 love songs, they introduced bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire to the world and they gave a rock act by the name of Spoon a second chance. So it’s safe to say that Merge is on a bit of a hot streak that might not be cooling off anytime soon. While any given day of the CMJ Music Marathon is a somewhat frantic race to absorb as much great music as possible, last night’s Merge showcase at Mercury Lounge, spanning almost seven hours and six different acts, was something of a cruel temptation and a great excuse for ruining the following workday by staying out past 2 a.m.
“It’s kind of hard to follow your label boss, though I’m sure he’d hate to be called that,” said Eleanor Friedberger, taking the stage after a set from Superchunk frontman and Merge Records cofounder Mac McCaughan. Friedberger played a solo acoustic set with some “in the works” new material that could come out early next year. She was followed by a searing set from Mount Moriah. “We’re Mount Moriah. We’re from Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’re really excited to put some records out on Merge,” said lead singer Heather McEntire. The set sampled songs off their self-titled debut, as well as some new tunes from their upcoming album. The band’s sound is familiar yet unique, a strange combination of all genres Americana (blues, rock, country, soul, gospel).
It makes sense that as of September they’re sharing a label with acts like Lambchop, self-proclaimed “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band.” Between Mount Moriah and another recent Merge signee (and show opener), William Tyler, it will be interesting to see if the label can continue to push the boundaries of country music, bringing this strange new iteration of the genre to music fans usually repulsed by the word country. “We’ve been listening to a lot of the Allman Brothers Band—I don’t know if you could tell,” said McEntire after firing through a particularly bluesy-rock new song. You could tell, but this was a very good thing. If the past is any indicator, 2013 should be a huge year for some or even all of these bands. And if the performances last night are any indicator, it probably will be. —Dan Rickershauser
Tags: Allman Brothers Band, Arcade Fire, CMJ Music Marathon, Eleanor Friedberger, Heather McEntire, Lambchop, Mac McCaughan, Mercury Lounge, Merge Records, Mount Moriah, Neutral Milk Hotel, Review, Spoon, Superchunk, William Tyler
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Bright Eyes began in mid-’90s Omaha, Nebraska, when Conor Oberst sought out a new band for his songwriting to be featured, ultimately, on Saddle Creek Records, the label he founded with his brother. Oberst was eventually joined by a rotating group of musicians before he finally settled in with Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott as permanent members. Many years and acclaimed EPs and LPs later, Bright Eyes (above, playing “Jejune Stars” on Late Show with David Letterman) are still going strong, having just released their seventh studio album, The People’s Key, just a few weeks ago. And with that in mind, the band—and Superchunk and Wild Flag—heads our way for two shows at Radio City Music Hall next week. Wednesday’s is sold out, but you can still get tickets to see them on Tuesday. And let’s face it, you really should!
Superchunk’s first new full-length album in nine years, Majesty Shredding, is out today, and the band comes to town to play two shows this weekend: The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday. Alas, they’re both sold out, but you’ve still got a chance to see the pride of Chapel Hill, N.C., because The House List is giving away two tickets to Saturday’s show. Want to go? Then try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, including your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Superchunk, 9/18) and a brief message explaining what Superchunk’s return means to you. Eddie Bruiser, who’d really like to know, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.