Reviews

Bob Mould / Distortion 1989-1995

Alex Petridis reviews the new vinyl package for SDE

In 1989, Bob Mould released his solo debut album, Workbook. It was precisely the kind of album you might have expected the former frontman of an acclaimed, influential but commercially unsuccessful alt-rock band such as Hüsker Dü to make for a major label in 1989, an era when artists seldom crossed over from rock’s leftfield to the mainstream without a few pragmatic adjustments to their sound.

Workbook was polished, it was grown-up: a million miles away from the hardcore punk scene that had spawned Hüsker Dü, but which the band had long outgrown in favour of a melding of ferocious distorted guitars and gorgeous pop melodies. Workbook didn’t even sound much like Husker Du in their later stages. It was heavy on acoustic guitars and classic songcraft, it had a potential hit single in the shape of the breezy ‘See A little Light’. If you wanted to know where Mould’s head was at musically – as they used to say in the ’60s – there was a cover of a Richard Thompson song on the b-side of one of its singles. Here, it seemed was the new, mature Bob Mould making music that might well turn him into the kind of star he’d failed to become in Hüsker Dü.

Or perhaps not. A year later, Bob Mould released Workbook’s follow-up, Black Sheets Of Rain, an album so depressing, so monolithic in its misery, so heavy both in sound and tone that it almost defied anyone charmed by Workbook’s lightness of touch to listen to it all the way through. It sold virtually nothing – 7000 copies, according to Creation boss Alan McGee, admittedly not the world’s most reliable witness – and ended Mould’s dalliance with major labels for good. It also suggested that Bob Mould’s solo career was not going to pan out in the way anyone expected.



How ‘Black Sheets of Rain’ is presented in the new Distortion vinyl box (click image to enlarge)

That proved to be true: by the time Mould released 2006’s Blowoff, an album of electronic dance music made with house producer Richard Morell and inspired by the gay club night the pair ran in Washington DC, it was fair to say he had reached a musical space that not even the most eclectically-minded Hüsker Dü fan could ever have anticipated. In fact, Mould’s solo career has proved so storied that trying to digest it in one go feels overwhelming: the 24CD version of Distortion, which contains virtually everything Mould has recorded over the last 30 years, will clearly appeal to completists, but the 8LP vinyl version, which breaks his career down into smaller chunks, feels more manageable.

The first in a series of four vinyl boxes covers 1989-1995. Aside from Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain – the latter still a tough listen, although the melody of single It’s Too Late sparkles amid the funereal tempos and lyrical howls of despair – it takes in Sugar, the trio Mould formed in the wake of the latter album’s commercial failure. A lot had changed in the two years that separated Black Sheets Of Rain from Sugar’s debut, not least the rise of Nirvana, a band who audibly had Hüsker Dü in their DNA: in the wake of grunge, one no longer needed to polish up one’s sound in order to get radio play or mainstream attention. Moreover, the shift in public tastes coincided with Mould writing more direct music than he had in years, building on the melodic punch of Hüsker Dü’s hits-that-should-have-been ‘Makes No Sense At All’ and ‘Could You Be The One?’, although the production was brighter and cleaner than his former band’s murky fuzz: as if to underline that its mastermind was in a sunnier mood than anyone familiar with his oeuvre might expect, Copper Blue’s standout was ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind’, on which the author of temper tantrums such as ‘I Apologize’ and ‘Never Talking To You Again’ improbably wrote a song about the benefits of cheerily agreeing to differ. Snapped up by Creation in the UK, it was both the biggest commercial success of Mould’s career and the NME’s 1992 Album Of The Year. It still sounds fantastic.


‘Copper Blue’ from the new Distortion box set (click image to enlarge)

At which point, Mould felt impelled to throw a spanner in the works again, at least commercially. 1993’s Beaster was Copper Blue’s evil twin: a half-hour burst of songs recorded at the same time as Sugar’s previous album, but of a significantly darker hue. If it was a return to the bleak emotional terrain of Black Sheets Of Rain, the music was stronger, more varied: ‘Come Around’ bore the influence of shoegazing (Mould was a huge fan of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless), the sheer force of the playing on ‘JC Auto’ and ‘Judas Cradle’ drags the listener along, closer ‘Walking Away’ offered an unexpected detour into celestial-sounding synths. Bolstered by the success of Copper Blue, it reached the UK Top Ten, but the fate of its follow-up, File Under: Easy Listening, suggested fans of Mould’s poppier side had taken a once-bitten approach to its contents: it was another Top Ten album, but this time seemed to come and go quickly without leaving much of a trace. Its recording was fraught – Spin magazine publicly outed Mould, whose sexuality had been an open secret since the days of Hüsker Dü, an early version of the album was scrapped, Mould expressed misgivings about the finished version – and it remains the least well-regarded of Sugar’s albums, which isn’t entirely fair. Neither an out-and-out triumph in the manner of Copper Blue, nor a punishing but rewarding trawl through the dark recesses of the soul à la Beaster, it nevertheless has its moments: ‘Explode And Make Up’, ‘Your Favourite Thing’ and ‘Gee Angel’ are fabulous songs; it might have been hailed a classic had a couple of the lesser tracks been replaced by ‘Mind Is An Island’ or ‘Going Home’, both inexplicably relegated to b-sides, and present here on the off-cuts set Besides, which also offers zippy takes on four Copper Blue tracks from a BBC Session and a ferocious live reading of Beaster’s ‘JC Auto’.

File Under: Easy Listening spelt the end for Sugar, and this box set leaves Mould’s story there: a final album (Distortion Plus) mops up some leftovers, including collaborations with Throwing Muses and The Golden Palominos and a great cover of Gram Parsons’ ‘Hickory Wind’ recorded with the late singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt. If the new artwork that replaces the original sleeves feels slightly at odds with some of the box set’s contents – the slick-looking graphics belying the sound of Beaster or Black Sheets Of Rain – then the albums themselves sound and look superb, pressed onto clear vinyl with a different coloured splatter for each. An accompanying 12”x 12” booklet adds lyrics and memorabilia, although the essay by actor Fred Armisen is clearly intended for the more complete CD version, and keeps discussing tracks that aren’t actually on its vinyl counterpart. But these are minor quibbles: Distortion provides a rewarding summary not just of Mould’s early solo career, but of American alternative rock in a period of transition.

Reviewed by Alex Petridis for SDE.


Distortion 1989-1995 is an 8LP coloured/splatter vinyl box set which is released today. Distortion 1989-2019a more expansive 24CD variant, is also out today.


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Distortion 8LP splatter vinyl box set

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Distortion 1989-1995 8LP vinyl box set

LP 1 – Bob Mould – Workbook (1989)

Side A

  1. Sunspots
  2. Wishing Well
  3. Heartbreak A Stranger
  4. See A Little Light
  5. Poison Years
  6. Sinners And Their Repentances

Side B

  1. Brasilia Crossed With Trenton
  2. Compositions For The Young And Old
  3. Lonely Afternoon
  4. Dreaming, I Am
  5. Whichever Way The Wind Blows

LP 2 – Bob Mould – Blacksheets Of Rain (1990)

Side A

  1. Black Sheets Of Rain
  2. Stand Guard
  3. It’s Too Late
  4. One Good Reason
  5. Stop Your Crying

Side B

  1. Hanging Tree
  2. The Last Night
  3. Hear Me Calling
  4. Out Of Your Life
  5. Disappointed
  6. Sacrifice / Let There Be Peace

LP 3 – Sugar – Copper Blue (1992)

Side A

  1. The Act We Act
  2. A Good Idea
  3. Changes
  4. Helpless
  5. Hoover Dam

Side B

  1. The Slim
  2. If I Can’t Change Your Mind
  3. Fortune Teller
  4. Slick
  5. Man On The Moon

LP 4 – Sugar – Beaster (1993)

Side A

  1. Come Around
  2. Tilted
  3. Judas Cradle

Side B

  1. JC Auto
  2. Feeling Better
  3. Walking Away

LP 5 – Sugar – File Under: Easy Listening (1994)

Side A

  1. Gift
  2. Company Book
  3. Your Favorite Thing
  4. What You Want It To Be
  5. Gee Angel

Side B

  1. Panama City Motel
  2. Can’t Help You Anymore
  3. Granny Cool
  4. Believe What You’re Saying
  5. Explode And Make Up

LP 6 & 7 – Sugar – Besides (1995)

Side A

  1. Needle Hits E
  2. If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Solo Mix)
  3. Try Again
  4. Where Diamonds Are Halos (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  5. Armenia City In The Sky (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)

Side B

  1. Clownmaster
  2. Anyone (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  3. JC Auto (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  4. Believe What You’re Saying (Campfire Mix)
  5. Mind Is An Island

Side C

  1. Frustration
  2. Going Home
  3. In The Eyes Of My Friends
  4. And You Tell Me

Side D

  1. If I Can’t Change Your Mind (BBC Radio Session)
  2. Hoover Dam (BBC Radio Session)
  3. The Slim (BBC Radio Session)
  4. Where Diamonds Are Halos (BBC Radio Session)

LP 8 – Distortion Plus:1989 – 1995

Side A

  1. All Those People Know (Bob Mould)
  2. No Water In Hell (Bob Mould)
  3. Dying From The Inside Out (The Golden Palominos)

Side B

  1. Dio (Throwing Muses)
  2. Hickory Wind (Bob Mould and Vic Chesnutt)
  3. Can’t Fight It (Bob Mould)
  4. Turning Of The Tide (Bob Mould)

Distortion 1989-2019 24CD box set

CD 1 – Bob Mould – Workbook (1989)

  1. Sunspots
  2. Wishing Well
  3. Heartbreak A Stranger
  4. See A Little Light
  5. Poison Years
  6. Sinners And Their Repentances
  7. Brasilia Crossed With Trenton
  8. Compositions For The Young And Old
  9. Lonely Afternoon
  10. Dreaming, I Am
  11. Whichever Way The Wind Blows

CD 2 – Bob Mould – Blacksheets Of Rain (1990)

  1. Black Sheets Of Rain
  2. Stand Guard
  3. It’s Too Late
  4. One Good Reason
  5. Stop Your Crying
  6. Hanging Tree
  7. The Last Night
  8. Hear Me Calling
  9. Out Of Your Life
  10. Disappointed
  11. Sacrifice / Let There Be Peace

CD 3 – Sugar – Copper Blue (1992)

  1. The Act We Act
  2. A Good Idea
  3. Changes
  4. Helpless
  5. Hoover Dam
  6. The Slim
  7. If I Can’t Change Your Mind
  8. Fortune Teller
  9. Slick
  10. Man On The Moon

CD 4 – Sugar – Beaster (1993)

  1. Come Around
  2. Tilted
  3. Judas Cradle
  4. JC Auto
  5. Feeling Better
  6. Walking Away

CD 5 – Sugar – File Under: Easy Listening (1994)

  1. Gift
  2. Company Book
  3. Your Favorite Thing
  4. What You Want It To Be
  5. Gee Angel
  6. Panama City Motel
  7. Can’t Help You Anymore
  8. Granny Cool
  9. Believe What You’re Saying
  10. Explode And Make Up

CD 6 – Sugar – Besides (1995)

  1. Needle Hits E
  2. If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Solo Mix)
  3. Try Again
  4. Where Diamonds Are Halos (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  5. Armenia City In The Sky (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  6. Clownmaster
  7. Anyone (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  8. JC Auto (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 22nd July 1992)
  9. Believe What You’re Saying (Campfire Mix)
  10. Mind Is An Island
  11. Frustration
  12. Going Home
  13. In The Eyes Of My Friends
  14. And You Tell Me
  15. If I Can’t Change Your Mind (BBC Radio Session)
  16. Hoover Dam (BBC Radio Session)
  17. The Slim (BBC Radio Session)
  18. Where Diamonds Are Halos (BBC Radio Session)

CD 7 – Bob Mould – Bob Mould (1996)

  1. Anymore Time Between
  2. I Hate Alternative Rock
  3. Fort Knox, King Solomon
  4. Next Time That You Leave
  5. Egøverride
  6. Thumbtack
  7. Hair Stew
  8. Deep Karma Canyon
  9. Art Crisis
  10. Roll Over And Die

CD 8 – Bob Mould – The Last Dog And Pony Show (1998)

  1. New #1
  2. Moving Trucks
  3. Taking Everything
  4. First Drag Of The Day
  5. Classifieds
  6. Who Was Around?
  7. Skintrade
  8. Vaporub
  9. Sweet Serene
  10. Megamanic
  11. Reflecting Pool
  12. Along The Way

CD 9 – Bob Mould – modulate. (2002)

  1. 180 Rain
  2. Sunset Safety Glass
  3. Semper Fi
  4. Homecoming Parade
  5. Lost Zoloft
  6. Without?
  7. Slay/Sway
  8. The Receipt
  9. Quasar
  10. Soundonsound
  11. Hornery
  12. Comeonstrong
  13. Trade
  14. Author’s Lament

CD 10 – LoudBomb – Long Play Grooves. (2002)

  1. Theme (It’s A Perfect Day)
  2. Guys Like You
  3. Devil v. Angel
  4. I Cannot Reverse You
  5. The Fall Collection
  6. This Is The Way I Want It
  7. BB DuBois
  8. Factory Builders Convention
  9. NumberNine
  10. Heaven’s On Fire
  11. We Need The Truth
  12. Helium

CD 11 – Bob Mould – Body Of Song (2005)

  1. Circles
  2. (Shine Your) Light Love Hope
  3. Paralyzed
  4. I Am Vision, I Am Sound
  5. Underneath Days
  6. Always Tomorrow
  7. Days Of Rain
  8. Best Thing
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Missing You
  11. Gauze Of Friendship
  12. Beating Heart The Prize

CD 12 – Blowoff – Blowoff (2006)

  1. Hormone Love
  2. Here And Now
  3. Overload
  4. Saturday Night All The Time
  5. Life With A View
  6. Man Keeps Winning
  7. Lemonade
  8. Tag It
  9. Fallout
  10. Get Inside With Me
  11. Beautiful
  12. Ballad Of Mark Dirt

CD 13 – Bob Mould – District Line (2008)

  1. Stupid Now
  2. Who Needs To Dream?
  3. Again And Again
  4. Old Highs, New Lows
  5. Return To Dust
  6. The Silence Between Us
  7. Shelter Me
  8. Very Temporary
  9. Miniature Parade
  10. Walls In Time

CD 14 – Bob Mould – Life And Times (2009)

  1. Life And Times
  2. The Breach
  3. City Lights (Days Go By)
  4. MM 17
  5. Argos
  6. Bad Blood Better
  7. Wasted World
  8. Spiraling Down
  9. I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand In My Light Any More
  10. Lifetime

CD 15 – Bob Mould – Silver Age (2012)

  1. Star Machine
  2. Silver Age
  3. The Descent
  4. Briefest Moment
  5. Steam Of Hercules
  6. Fugue State
  7. Round The City Square
  8. Angels Rearrange
  9. Keep Believing
  10. First Time Joy

CD 16 – Bob Mould – Beauty And Ruin (2014)

  1. Low Season
  2. Little Glass Pill
  3. I Don’t Know You Anymore
  4. Kid With Crooked Face
  5. Nemeses Are Laughing
  6. The War
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Hey Mr. Grey
  9. Fire In The City
  10. Tomorrow Morning
  11. Let The Beauty Be
  12. Fix It

CD 17 – Bob Mould – Patch The Sky (2016)

  1. Voices In My Head
  2. The End Of Things
  3. Hold On
  4. You Say You
  5. Losing Sleep
  6. Pray For Rain
  7. Lucifer And God
  8. Daddy’s Favorite
  9. Hands Are Tied
  10. Black Confetti
  11. Losing Time
  12. Monument

CD 18 – Bob Mould – Sunshine Rock (2019)

  1. Sunshine Rock
  2. What Do You Want Me To Do
  3. Sunny Love Song
  4. Thirty Dozen Roses
  5. The Final Years
  6. Irrational Poison
  7. I Fought
  8. Sin King
  9. Lost Faith
  10. Camp Sunshine
  11. Send Me A Postcard
  12. Western Sunset

CD 19 – Bob Mould – Live At The Cabaret Metro, 1989 (1989)

  1. Sunspots (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  2. Wishing Well (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  3. Compositions For The Young And Old (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  4. Heartbreak A Stranger (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  5. Dreaming, I Am (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  6. If You’re True (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  7. Poison Years (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  8. Sinners And Their Repentances (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  9. Lonely Afternoon (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  10. Brasilia Crossed With Trenton (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  11. See A Little Light (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  12. Whichever Way The Wind Blows (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  13. All Those People Know (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  14. Shoot Out The Lights (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  15. Hardly Getting Over It (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  16. Celebrated Summer (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)
  17. Makes No Sense At All (Live At The Cabaret Metro, 14th May 1989)

CD 20 – Sugar – The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes (1995)

  1. Gift (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  2. Company Book (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  3. Hoover Dam (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  4. After All The Roads Have Led To Nowhere (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  5. Where Diamonds Are Halos (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  6. Slick (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  7. Going Home (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  8. Running Out Of Time (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  9. Frustration (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  10. Changes (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  11. Can’t Help You Any More (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  12. Helpless (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  13. If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  14. In The Eyes Of My Friends (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  15. Clownmaster (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  16. Gee Angel (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  17. Explode And Make Up (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)
  18. The Slim (Live At First Avenue, 2nd November 1994)

CD 21 – Bob Mould Band – Live Dog 98 (2002)

  1. Moving Trucks (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  2. Taking Everything (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  3. First Drag Of The Day (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  4. I Hate Alternative Rock (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  5. Stand Guard (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  6. Classifieds (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  7. Hear Me Calling (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  8. Art Crisis (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  9. Anymore Time Between (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  10. Skintrade (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  11. Eternally Fried (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  12. Roll Over And Die (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  13. Lonely Afternoon (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  14. Egøverride (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  15. Reflecting Pool (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  16. Disappointed (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  17. Hanging Tree (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)
  18. Man On The Moon (Live At The Forum, 29th October 1998)

CD 22 – Bob Mould Band – Live At ATP 2008 (2009)

  1. The Act We Act (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  2. A Good Idea (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  3. I Hate Alternative Rock (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  4. See A Little Light (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  5. Hoover Dam (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  6. Circles (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  7. Paralyzed (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  8. I Apologize (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  9. Chartered Trips (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  10. Celebrated Summer (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  11. Makes No Sense At All (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)
  12. New Day Rising (Live At Kutshers Country Club, 21st September 2008)

CD 23 – Distortion Plus: 1989-2019

  1. All Those People Know
  2. No Water In Hell
  3. Dying From The Inside Out (The Golden Palominos)
  4. Dio (Throwing Muses)
  5. Hickory Wind (Bob Mould And Vic Chesnutt)
  6. Can’t Fight It
  7. Turning Of The Tide
  8. Dog On Fire (Demo)
  9. Fort Knox, King Solomon (Live At First Avenue, March 1995)
  10. I Hate Alternative Rock (Live At First Avenue, March 1995)
  11. Wanted Was
  12. Eternally Fried
  13. Doubleface
  14. He Didn’t (The 6ths)

CD 24 – Distortion Plus: 1989-2019

  1. Castor And Pollux
  2. Surveyors And Cranes
  3. Love Escalator
  4. Lowdown Ground
  5. My Old Friend
  6. Nihil
  7. Could You Be The One? (Live At The 9:30 Club, 7th October 2005)
  8. I Apologize (Live At The 9:30 Club, 7th October 2005)
  9. Chartered Trips (Live At The 9:30 Club, 7th October 2005)
  10. Dear Rosemary (Foo Fighters)
  11. Father’s Day (Butch Walkers)
  12. I Don’t Mind

 

26 responses to Bob Mould / Distortion 1989-1995

  1. Carles says:

    Any news about a second vinyl box?

  2. Pingback:Bob Mould / Distortion sets unboxed | superdeluxeedition

  3. Beechlander says:

    Signed CD box arrived today from amazon UK after order placed yesterday – 1 day turnaround and in good shape. Didn’t think there’d be many left if it really is limited to 750 copies.

  4. Paul E. says:

    I purchased the signed CD edition back on August 14th for $90.09. I’ve only received one email (about a month ago) noting a delay and asking for my approval.

    Amazon US is simply incapable of handling pre-orders. The days of actually receiving an item on release day are long gone- the best I’ve experienced is about a week after the release date. This goes for movies as well. FFS I live just outside of Chicago and about a half hour drive from their largest Midwest DC/Warehouse…reserving all my physical media orders only for Amazon exclusives going forward.

  5. Larry Davis says:

    I figure those who got the set already were from the UK as they got first dibs in the ordering…after UK orders came US availability, then Europe…my Amazon order page under Bob says “order received” then after clicking…”shipping in 1-2 months”…rolling my eyes, but when it comes it comes, at least I know it exists cuz some got theirs…as for “Black Sheets Of Rain” I bought it when it was new cuz I always loved his brand of noise & felt the gloom & doom on there was awesome…and yes I had “Workbook” & Husker Du records…”See A Little Light” we played a lot on my college radio station, WPLT, 93.9FM SUNY Plattsburgh & it was a “hit” on LI’s equivalent of KROQ LA, WDRE, 92.7FM…when I get my set, I’ll be happy, have a feeling it will be in November, which starts tomorrow…

  6. David McGonigle says:

    Very nice to see Alexis reviewing this. I await my vinyl box with tempered trepidation…

  7. Peter says:

    Mine has arrived signed and gorgeous. Incredible value for money

  8. Guy says:

    Signed 24CD box copies again available at Amazon for £85. Be quick!

    • Donal O'Connell says:

      Thanks Guy, cancelled my amazon Italy order to get this – saved €15.

      Anyone receive the vinyl from jpc yet?

  9. Chris says:

    The set is out??!?! I thought it was delayed. I got an email from Amazon the other day telling me that I should get the set sometime between late November and late December.

    Fscking hell.

  10. Stan Butler says:

    Don’t know much about Bob Mould, to be honest Just about remember Husker Du being played on the John Peel Show back in the day.
    Alex Petridis is for me the best music journalist about. Well done, Paul, getting him to write this excellent and very interesting article.

  11. Dan says:

    Never Talking To You Again was by Grant Hart, Alexis!

  12. RichardL says:

    My signed Bob Mould set just arrived from Amazon – Xmas pressie for someone. Two b***** great dents in packaging and two ******* great dents in spine of book. Very flimsy card packaging for such a heavy book. Thank you Mr Bezos!! You can have it back and send me a decent copy. And don’t send me another email threatening me because I refuse to accept damaged goods like this.

  13. Brad B. says:

    Very nice review of this set, I’m one of the many who pre-ordered the CD set from Amazon with the signed art print with no firm delivery date given as of today, so I’m guessing those who already got their CD version went with the version missing the print? Also, those of you already in possession of either version can you let us know how the overall remastering is on the individual albums? My biggest curiosity is everything ends up getting ‘levelled’ sonically or significantly altered; the Sugar albums in particular sound noticeably different between the original CD pressings and the deluxe editions from a few years ago. I believe some remixing was done by Bob on the deluxe versions which isn’t bad but seems to favor instrumentation over vocals. ‘District Line’ could also stand a bit of low-end boost.

    • Andrea says:

      Same here, waiting shipping confirmation from Amazon.it, I’ve ordered my signed copy in August at just over 100Euro, I hope they’ll stick to the deal…

  14. MFG says:

    Regarding Workbook: growing up in Minnesota in the 1980s, I must agree with Bruce in the comments. Workbook was very different from what anyone was expecting from Bob Mould in 1989. Only a handful of Bob’s Husker Du songs (such as Hardly Getting Over It) might have indicated the sonic direction that Workbook would take. If Bob had released Black Sheets of Rain first, nobody would have blinked an eye.

    Also, a somewhat pedantic clarification: Bob and Richard did not exactly run a gay night club in Washington D.C. They hosted the Blowoff show in the Backbar, a basement venue attached to the 9:30 Club (one of the best rock n’ roll music venues in the USA). Bob also played the main stage at the 9:30 Club many times (saw him there at least four times), and released a live DVD of his 2005 show. I was hoping that the 24-CD set would include the entire excellent performance, but they have only included a handful of songs.

    • CJ Feeney says:

      I think that Alexis was referring to them running the show/night rather than the club. I did a double take reading it.

    • Bruce says:

      MFG: I agree – I can only think of Hardly Getting Over It and Too Far Down which Bob wrote which was representative of how Workbook might have sounded.
      Bob used to regularly write about his Blowoff nights in Boblog which was always a very entertaining read. You never got much musical insights, but i remember a very entertaining entry about his new kitchen knives.

  15. Very nice article indeed. Looking forward to my set (it’s in the post apparently, and signed to boot). Maybe it’s the way I’m wired, but I’ve never found Black Sheets Of Rain to feel like a downer — it’s brutal and uncompromising but it also feels like it’s offering a companionable arm round my shoulder. So to speak. And the original album cover artwork is beautifully dour.

    I must say I like the new artwork for the CDs though — it’s unifying Bob’s world into a tasteful and stylised visual aesthetic, bringing everything into equal focus and attention — and on that level I dig it. It’s not as if this artwork is going to supersede the original albums which all remain in print, so everyone can relax.

  16. Guy says:

    Superb review of a superb musician’s varied output! Like many I got into his work via Sugar’ Copper Blue but I love Beaster even more for its sheer hairdryer blast of rage and energy. Of his more recent solo output, I’d recommend Silver Age.

    Can’t wait for the CD and vinyl box sets to drop through my letterbox!

  17. Bruce says:

    A very nice review of the new Bob set, thank you. A retrospective like this has been long overdue, and its great to see it all in one set – and the CD collection is a very decent price.

    I think Alex’s comment about Workbook at the top of the article is an interesting one – I would say exactly the opposite, fans of Husker Du didn’t quite know what to expect from Bob [or Grant] post Husker Du and I don’t think anyone ‘expected’ Workbook to be what it was. Grant Hart’s first solo album – released before Bob’s Workbook – was also what fans of Husker Du didn’t expect. That said no one expected ‘Sunspots’ off Workbook, an acoustic-y instrumental, to be the first track you would hear post Husker Du. The leap from the last track on Husker Du’s final album You Can Live At Home to Sunspots was huge.

    Black Sheets of Rain is indeed a very hard going album, but the last three tracks on side two have great tunes, but its fair to say the rest of the album was quite hard going.

    Just to add that Never Talking To You Again was a Grant Hart composition.

  18. Stuart says:

    A great review, that has just coincided with the delivery of my CD version of this.

    From this first period, Copper Blue is easily the standout (Hoover Dam is a great track) but I’ve a lot of time for both File Under and Besides. To be honest I’ve never heard Black Sheets of Rain (at 7000 sales I doubt few have!), however it’ll be the first disc I listen to as your review of it has piqued my interest.

    I’m off to spend the run up to the Mansun release alternating between Bob Mould and The Divine Comedy – surely as poles appart musically as you can get!

    • Old Bailey says:

      Check out Ryan Adams’ acoustic cover of Black Sheets of Rain. Bob spoke effusively about it in the film of the tribute gig in LA a few years ago when it was performed. A SDE CD ( or any CD of the soundtrack would be very welcome).

  19. Rare Glam says:

    The exclusive edition with signed print for the 24 Cd set is now (30-10-20) showing as ‘in stock’ on Amazon UK. at £85.99

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