Music Review

Hüsker Dü – Warehouse: Songs and Stories

todayJanuary 4, 2024 100 7 5

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By – Kristi Houk

This day in music history brought to you by “There’s NO cool releases this week”

Recommended if you like: You will like it, okay??

I encourage you to look up the grainy video clip of St. Paul Minnesota’s best band (yeah, I said it) Husker Du performing “Could You Be the One?” the first and only single off the pioneering punk trio’s last studio album – Warehouse: Songs and Stories on the Joan Rivers Show in 1987. This powerhouse of a double album turns 35 this year. Watching the performance, it’s difficult to imagine the band calling it quits shortly after. They play ferociously, loud as hell and  tight as a welded screw. Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Bob Mould even grins at one point! Bassist Greg Norton is on fire and keeping it steady as always but it’s songwriter, drummer, vocalist Grant Hart who captures the band’s intensity, never missing a, er, beat. He’s the heart of the band and his tumultuous personal demons is ultimately why Mould cut the tour short and said see ya. 

Following the Joan Rivers performance, there’s a short but telling interview where Rivers quizzes the trio on topics like, “What does Husker Du mean?” What does it feel like to be on a major label,” “Who’s the wild one in the group?” Mould handles the questions wily, Norton plays nice in the middle with his thick handlebar mustache and Hart, visibly uncomfortable utters, “I’m the wild one. At least that’s what they tell me…”

What remains is an ambitious, brutally honest double album where Mould and Hart volley songs back and forth, each one clearly detailing the other’s disappointment, frustration, and sadness over how things are. 

The opening track, Mould’s “These Important Years” begins with the angry, distorted  guitar chords that cut right to the bone. He’s one of my guitar heroes, fyi. It’s a punk anthem, really. “You’d better grab a hold of something, simple but it’s true, If you don’t stop too smell the roses, they might end up on you.” A cautionary tale. 

Next up is my favorite Grant Hart song, “Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope.” Hart barely gets through the song with his scratchy vocals. The train is clearly off the rails and we are all holding on tight. The guitars are a beautiful swelling mess and there’s something beautiful in the chaos. That’s for me what Husker Du does best. It’s punk rock with a heart. An overwhelming sadness infiltrates the record and it’s easy to understand, the band lost their manager, David Savoy, who was like a fourth member of the band, to suicide. On the haunting “Ice Cold Ice” Mould could be talking to Hart or Savoy here: “My love for you will never die, if I sound distant, that’s because you shouldn’t see me crying.” The backing vocals by Grant Hart twist the knife even deeper. 

I recommend finding an open road on a cold January day, cranking this album as loud as you can and just drive. 

Stand out tracks: “These Important Years”, “Ice Cold Ice”, “You’re A Soldier,” Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope”

Written by: kristi houk

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