Bob Mould: “The Descent”
It’s hard to talk about alternative rock without mentioning Bob Mould. Some musicians have just one chance to make a name for themselves, but Mould has a trio of influential guises: as the frontman for punk legends Hüsker Dü, the driving force behind Sugar, and as an acclaimed solo artist. It’s this last endeavor that Mould is focusing on right now, and he’ll release Silver Age, his tenth solo album, tomorrow on Merge Records.
Mould burst on the scene in the ’80s with Hüsker Dü, which quickly made a name for itself in the burgeoning hardcore punk community. But Mould is hard to pigeonhole as just a punk artist. Following the dissolution of Hüsker Dü in 1988, he embarked on an eclectic solo career that has earned raves for his ability to match loud guitars with introspective songwriting and atmospheric electronic textures. An entire generation of alternative bands have counted him as an influence, but Mould isn’t one to sit still. He bisected his solo work with Sugar, a trio that burned bright and fast, producing just two albums before breaking up in 1995.
Last year, Mould released his autobiography See A Little Light: The Trail Of Rage And Melody, which detailed his contentious relationship with past band members, his drinking problem, and his homosexuality. But if you think he’s slipping comfortably into elder-statesman territory, you’d be flat wrong. Mould links up with drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy on Silver Age, and the album’s first single, “The Descent,” is a caustic blast-from-the-past, proving Mould still has his old power. A phrase like “I started out so starry-eyed / Full of hope and wonder” might reveal the place where Mould is these days: wiser, but still willing to rock.