Tag Archives: Punk/Hardcore

Zen and The End

Born in 1960 and growing up in New York (state), Robert Arthur Mould moved to Saint Paul and studies at Macalester College. This was where he met Grant Hart and Greg Norton.

They started rehearsing in Norton’s basement and soon formed “Hüsker Dü”, from here he is known as Bob Mould.

The first Hüsker Dü album, “Everything Falls Apart” was released in early 1983, the style was Hardcore Punk, and the original album was just over 19 minutes, with 12 tracks often under the 1 minute mark.

What came next was at the time a revolution, with Zen Arcade from july 1984 Hüsker Dü, on a double concept album, an unthinkable concept in punk, they created a pot of every imaginable ingredient from acoustic instruments, pop, jazz, psychedelia, noise and even Hare Krishna’s chanting (see this post), but not forgetting to add a lot of solid hardcore to the mix, the result was no less than explosive.

Hüsker Dü blew through the boundaries of hardcore punk, with a groundbreaking underground album that would become legendary in the formation of what would become the scene now known as Alternative.

Over the final four albums Hüsker Dü did before they disbanded in late 1987, they further evolved away from the fast noisy hardcore punk and towards a slower and more melodic rock. The last two albums was released after they signed with major label Warner Bros.

There are several explanations and no clear answer to why the bands broke up, but there was tension and rivalry between Bob Mould and Grant Hart and had been for years, Hüsker Dü’s young manager David Savoy committed suicide, and Grant Hart had a heroine problem.

After Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould moved to a farm in Pine City Minnesota, a small isolated location with a population of about 3000 people, where he would start writing his first solo album.

Workbook was released in 1989, the album was featuring bassist Tony Maimone original member of Pere Ubu, cellist Jane Scarpantoni, and drummer Anton Fier, all other instruments played by Mould.

Now everything hardcore was moved to the background if not completely gone and the sound is similar to what you would expect from bands like R.E.M.

The album was not selling well and neither was the next solo album from Mould,  he was soon released from his contract with Virgin Records

Mould was still recording demo tracks and he formed a new band Suger, with songwriter, singer, guitarist, and bass guitarist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis in 1992, and soon releases the debut Copper Blue

Somewhat ironic this late effort would be the most successful album from one of the forefathers of Alternative American rock, now in the midst of “Grunge” becoming commercially successful; he would now reap the seed he had sown almost 10 years earlier.

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, should I smile or cry knowing that Zen Arcade was not ?. Anyway Copper Blue is a fine album, no doubt about that.

Sugar made an EP and another album before Mould broke the band up in spring 1996.

After this last band effort Mould has worked as a solo artist, releasing 10 albums between 1996 and 2016. His latest album Patch the Sky the last of a trilogy with 2012’s Silver Age 2012 and Beauty & Ruin 2014.

The final remark goes to Mould about “”The End of Things”:

“What happens if it does fall apart, so to speak? What if everything collapses?” And I also like the idea that people walk around and say, “Oh, it’s the Internet of things.” This whole new protocol — smartphones and stuff like that. And I thought, “How about the end of things?”

THE FALL OFF TROY IS BACK. !!

If you need, yes need, some hard, high energy, exceptional, technical high quality Rock, but are just too fed up with the death, dwarfs and dragons, blood and swords of heavy metal, what you are looking for is “The Fall Of Troy”

“Battleship Graveyard”, from : “In the Unlikely Event” 2009

The Fall of Troy is a trio formed by Thomas Erak (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Andrew Forsman (drums, percussion) and Tim Ward (bass, screamed vocals), In 2008 Tim Ward had a break down due to stress and was replaced by Frank Ene

“F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” from Doppelgänger 2004

In December 2013, the original lineup reunited, playing three shows in Texas, every night performing one of the pre 2008 albums, in full. New show is scheduled for Seattle, February 22. 2014.

“Caught Up” , from Manipulator 2007

The Fall of Troy has developed a new concept of local fan based user friendly approach. They will use only fan based merchandise for the shows (fan’s get paid no worries). They will use only local bands for warm up. Rumors even say they have told fans at the liveshows, that the next albums will be downloadable for free.

“Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles”, from The Fall of Troy 2003

At the three reunion shows, they sold VIP passes : “provides you entry to all 3 shows, an exclusive production day, where you get to hear the band warm-up, play a special 5 song set, answer your questions, a limited edition silk-screen printed poster of the show; numbered and signed, entry for all 3 shows an hour early through a separate entrance so you don’t have to wait in line with all the other lollygaggers and you get the best/closest view”, after VIP guests had arrived, the concerts, was filled up for free.

Bo Diddley – a song

“Bo Diddley” is a rhythm and blues/rock and roll song first recorded and sung by Bo Diddley in 1955, the song has no chord change. It became an immediate hit. It was Bo Diddley’s first recording and his first hit single. The Bo Diddley beat, which is essentially African, was to become a backbone in Rock n Roll.

In “The Animals” “story of Bo Diddley” (1964). Eric Burdon tells the story about this Rhythm, and how it developed into Rock n Roll, from Bo Diddley to Beatles and Stones.

It was used again by Punk Hardcore band “Husker Dü” on “Hare Krsna” from their 1984 album Zen Arcade, the same song as Bo Diddely, but with different lyrics, and played with a wild acid punk flavor.

Another version of the song can be heard on “Aksak Maboul”s “Un Peu De L’Ame Des Bandits” (1979), Aksak Maboul was a Belgian Avant-Garde band founded in 1977 by Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis. In this version the track is called “A Modern Lesson [Bo Diddley]”, it transforms from the Bo Diddley rhythm, into jazz inspired avant-garde.

2013 –“break up” of the year.

No doubt the artistically most interesting “break up” of the year, for me, was Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriquez-Lopez.
They have worked together since 1996 first in one of the most influential post hardcore band “At the Drive-In”. From 2001 in the Mars Volta. The Mars Volta played a very varied progressive heavy, inspired by a lot of bands and styles, many from the 70’s (King Crimson, Pink Floyd; Led Zeppelin, and many more)

The Mars Volta made 6 studio albums, most interesting to me, the debut “De-Loused in the Comatorium” (2003), Frances the Mute (2005), The Bedlam in Goliath 2008, The Bedlam album was the highest charting of all TMV albums, and won a Grammy “Best Hard Rock Performance” for the single “Wax Simulacra”. Retrospectively it is a bit surprising, as “The Bedlam” seems to me, the hardest TMV album, to get into.

On January 23, 2013, Cedric Bixler-Zavala revealed on Twitter, that he was no longer a part of The Mars Volta. Due to Omar Rodriguez-Lopez increasing focus on his side project, Bosnian Rainbows.
Cedric is now working on a new band Zavalaz, expected to debut with ”All Those Nights We Never Met” in 2014.