Tag Archives: Husker Du

467. Lemonheads – “Hate Your Friends”

This is a rare album in my collection in that whenever I hear a track off it at random I really can’t work out who it is.

There is very little to connect this debut release to the subsequent breakthrough works from Evan Dando and associates.

Back in the day, the Lemos where yet another hardcore-ish punk band, trying to channel some of that Hüsker Dü energy.

They don’t hit any such heights however. They are a little closer to the Descendents in that the tracks scream along at rapid pace (and for short periods – most tracks run less than 90 seconds).  The songwriting has occasional moments where it steps beyond the simple.

As suits the genre, the sillier tracks have gre atersticking power (e.g. Rabbit and the charmingly Sid Vicious-does-My-Way-like version of a ‘classic’ I’ve heard far too often during my reviews, namely Amazing Grace).

What is missing here is any real hint of the softly slacker Dando voice.  He shares vocal duties from track to track, but it’s a struggle to pick which ones are his.  He doesn’t even take lead on the best track on the album:

So don’t pick up this album expecting to hear jangle-pop – it’s just low-rent punk.

File under: But there’s not much to like about them

403. Hüsker Dü – “New Day Rising”

Where would the world of røck and röll müsic be without the trusty umlaut? Much heavy and death metal might never have happened.

Of course, the doubly umlauted lads of Hüsker Dü were not long-haired, lycraed up pose rockers, but they did reportedly add the umlauts in honour of the mark’s musical heritage.

Like many who arrived late on the scene, I fell for the Dü-esters because of that Don’t Want to Know if You Are Lonely track, which isn’t here. The vibe is, however, with buzz-heavy guitars, a cracking pace, and often-competing vocals.

I gave this album a couple of listens on a Friday afternoon, and it works perfectly as a energy-boosting, caffeine like jolt to the system.  This is such a chronicle of how powerful, and at the same time melodic, various indie bands of the mid-t0late 80s could be (think REM, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr).

Punk plus melody = these guys.  Check out the title track (plus a later career goodie) – this is a band I wish I’d seen live (Bob Mould didn’t cut it 15+ years later):

File under: Not a bad moon in sight

306. Five Eight – “Gasolina!”

This a band I know so very little about. I think I may have bought this CD second-hand on the recommendation of a buddy back in the mid-90s.

Album Cover five eight gasolina! CD reviewThe album is a snapshot of a world that doesn’t really exist anymore, for this decrepit 38 year old anyway.

Five Eight sprung from somewhere in the States, probably a college town. They take the more power pop side of Husker Du and presage the much more successful sound of Weezer.

They deliver a series of guitar-driven tunes, typically chronicling early 20s apathy and late teen misdemeanors. It is classic slacker rock, but of the shorter haired variety.

Stanley is the most successful effort. A few too many tracks sound like the faux skate punk Blink 182 ‘were to ‘master’ later.

The album is dated also by a ‘where I was when I heard Kurt topped himself’ tale, but at least the ambivalent vibe is retained with a ‘whatever’ tone…

Perhaps bands are still mining this rich musical vein, but for me this sits alongside Buffalo Tom, The Lemonheads and a few others as my mid-20s indulgence.

File under: Some rugby pun

177. Clouds – “Penny Century”

One of the upsides of my high teaching preparation workload over the past few days is that I have been stuck listening to this album over and over again.

Clouds The Penny Century album coverNormally I would have moved on, but instead I’ve been sucked deeper and deeper into a world I haven’t visited in almost a decade.

The Clouds were at the forefront of a wave of early nineties Australian indie rock outfits that embraced the sensibilities and sounds of US influences like Husker Du, The Pixies and Sonic Youth, and recrafted them into breezier, poppier output.

Alongside The Falling Joys, The Hummingbirds and (at the brasher end) Rat Cat, these guys got significant airplay and major label support (see Craig Mathieson’s The Sell-in for a great insight into these heady days).

The Clouds were always my favourite from this bunch. Dual female vocals, swirling guitars, wall-of-sound moments and luscious harmonies abound. The influences are there, especially in terms of those pounding Pixies rhythms and the occasional Kim Gordon-like talking vocals. But there is also a sophistication and boldness to it, with arty references (Hieronymus) and biting critiques of music execs (Souleater).

These guys should have been huge. This is a stand out album from its era. It’s a travesty that their works are so hard to find these days, but here’s a video taster:

File under: In for a penny…