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Bob Mould Band play COPPER BLUE

A performance to mark the 20th anniversary of Copper Blue is not simply a celebration of one of the most important albums in the history of indie rock, it is, by extension, a tribute to the music of Bob Mould: an artist who has never taken the safe route, and who has insisted on reinventing himself even at the risk of losing the audience he worked decades to build. Copper Blue was released at the perfect time for commercial success: a post Nevermind environment that brought brand new fans drawn to this thing called “alternative music.”

Sugar was also still true to Mould’s longtime devotees who had always aligned themselves with the power of his trademark vocal delivery and merciless instrumental ferocity. From the first bars of “The Act We Act,” Copper Blue stomps out of the gate with a lone, obstinate guitar Mould’s calling card, an announcement of his reappearance on the musical landscape. Sugar was a swing of the pendulum from the stoically tortured introspection of Mould’s prior solo works, Workbook and Black Sheets of Rain, music that was itself a reaction to the now mythical bombast of Hüsker Dü.

In his autobiography, See A Little Light, Mould explains, “It makes sense that resulting album, Copper Blue, is one of my sunniest." After all, it was inspired by music I loved.” This is evidenced in nods to Cheap Trick on “Helpless,” the Pixies on the playfully murderous “A Good Idea,” and the Beach Boys and Byrds on “Hoover Dam,” a song that practically has its own individual cult following. There are also songs that are Mould’s own unique beasts: “Fortune Teller” is ingenious sparkling punk pop, whereas the claustrophobic grinding rancor of “Slick” uses a near fatal car crash as allegory for confining poisonous relationships. Each song was engineered with a view towards the impossible–heavy as brick yet simultaneously melodic and catchy. A performance of Copper Blue is a rare event (this is the first time it has been revisited) for hardcore fans and neophyte alike because neither group benefits from their experience or youth. The album has refused to age with time, its surface unsullied by Doc Martin smudges, the collapse of the traditional music industry, the ravages of drugs, political strife, and mobile phones that talk.

With the help of bandmates Jon Wurster (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats), and Jason Narducy (Robert Pollard, Verbow), Mould will fete Copper Blue with the party it deserves. Sugar’s 1992 debut album Copper Blue sold over 250,000 units upon its original release and received overwhelming praise. Rolling Stone christened it “thunderous”; Vogue dubbed it “smashing”. NME would ultimately name it their 1992 Album of the Year. Currently, Mould has been commemorating COPPER BLUE’s 20th anniversary by playing the record in its entirety with his current band of Jason Narducy (bass) and Jon Wurster (drums).

 

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