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Magazine articles & interviews

Suburban Voice #14, Early 1985

This review of the 30 Dec 1984 limited-attendance live show at the Harvey Wheeler Center in Concord MA appeared in issue #14 of Suburban Voice. The accompanying review of New Day Rising appeared in the same issue. Both pieces are uncredited, but were likely written by publisher Al Quint. Ditto for the photo of Bob, presumably taken at the Concord gig.

HUSKER DU, THE  FIVE  (Harvey  Wheeler  Community Center,
Concord, 12/30)
     A  last-minute  thing at this small hall in Concord,
the second  such local show Husker Du have done this year
(like Chet's in June).  Husker  played  pretty  much  the
same set as the last time through, with a few changes and
a few surprises.  Unfortunately,  it was curtailed due to
a hand injury sustained  by  drummer  Grant  Hart.  Bob's
guitar  wizardry  was incredible,  as  usual  on  "Dreams
Reoccuring" and Grant manically bashed away at his drums,
his unkept head of hair often  landing  in his eyes.  The
surprises  were  the  two  Beatle  covers  on the encore-
"Helter Skelter" and a superb "Ticket To Ride."  At least
Husker's upfront about their 60s influences.  Bob said he
thinks  the  new  album is going to surprise people.  The
Five, recent Pittsburgh transplants to  Boston,  played a
noisy, sometimes  abrasive  set of jarring, post-punk and
rock that seems rooted, to a degree, in  early  70s  hard
rock like Hawkwind.  Vocalist  Reid has an engaging stage
presence, often  letting  his  body  go  limp  while vast
amounts of power erupt from his lungs into the mike.  The
Five are intriguing and highly original,  but  the  sheer
volume of their set was too painful at times.

HUSKER DU-New Day Rising (SST,LP)
     No,  this  ain't the "commercial pop album" that was
rumored.  So what is it?  Let's get abstract for a minute
or two.  Imagine big purple and fuzzy sparks emanating in
the air, huge velvet flowers enveloping your  head.  Loud
airy  drums and cymbals  leaving  a  sonic  vapor  trail.
Harmonious  and,  yet,  ragtag  vocals, grainy sheets  of
guitar slithering unstanched.  Pop rock elements strained
through the  Husker machine and emerging into the perfect
balance  of  pop,  energy  and  mysticism.  Got  it?  No?
Okay,  I'll  elaborate.  "New Day Rising" is a pop album,
but it's  Husker  Du's  pop  album.  The  songs certainly
contain more hooks than  before-  the unabashed sentiment
of   "I  Apologize;"  The  lilting  acoustic  guitar   on
"Celebrated Summer" and  the glassy 12-string on "Perfect
Example."  There's  the  mystical acidity  of  "Girl  Who
Lives On Heaven Hill," with a totally seductive  riff and
Grant's  oblique lyrics on this track and  on  "Terms  Of
Psychic  Warfare."  A  song  about a girl who reads books
about  UFO's.  And,  after  the pop is down the throat, a
chaser of abrasive, but compelling music.  "How To Skin A
Cat" is a noisy, experimental post-punk melange, sounding
kinda   like   the   Minutemen.  "Watcha   Drinking"   is
progressive thrash that harkens back a few years and then
the  white-hot  guitar  obliteration on "Plans  I  Make,"
nothing  short  of  rabidly  wild  rave-up  with scratchy
guitar  lines,  LSD on speed!  I sit here amazed- how  do
they  do  it-  create  music that exudes such warmth, but
also goes for the throat?  Husker Du  are  summoning  the
dawn  of a new day for pop music.  Label it, classify it,
analyze it,  do  whatever  you  want- but listen, because
this is about the best around.

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