Monday, September 19, 2016

Hüsker Dü: Land Speed Record (1982)

Here we have one of Craig Finn's favourite bands. Hüsker Dü (or Husker Du) is a classic example of a virtually unknown (at least at the time) yet legendary punk trio. I suppose we should refer to them as having a cult following, rather than being completely unknown. They never got the attention that they deserved, until later, it seems to me. But, if you were in college or university back in the day, it's likely you might have heard of them, especially if your campus had a good radio station.

In some ways, the band reminds me of the Velvet Underground, another band that was ignored, but in time, proved to be remarkably influential. I think it can be argued, as Allmusic has done, that Hüsker Dü laid the foundation for the grungy scene that came later with the Pixies, The Replacements, and Nirvana (and I would add The Hold Steady).

Land Speed record contains a whopping seventeen songs recorded live, yet the entire record clocks in at only 26 minutes. That should tell you that the whole record is fast and furious and sadly, verging on the unlistenable. The band went on to do much better things, but this record makes an impressive opening salvo. As Allmusic says:

"A brief live EP, Land Speed Record races through its songs without regard for melody or riffs. As a sonic blitzkrieg, it's quite impressive, yet little of the record makes a lasting impression." [source]

The best thing is to see some live clips, recorded at the 7th Street Entry, which leads to a Hold Steady lyric:

"Summer '88 was all heat and intensity, saw The Youth Of Today at 7th Street Entry."
- Barely Breathing, The Hold Steady

Of course, Bob Mould went on to record some brilliant solo records and some great music with Sugar.

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