"New Day Rising" (SST Records; 1985)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Husker Du means "Do You Remember" in Danish and Norwegian. I'm sure there are only a handful of people who have ever heard of this American punk band but they have influenced countless other bands such as Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Green Day and Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters even use this album name, "New Day Rising," in their song titled "Times Like These."

Although Husker Du never found the mainstream success their musical children did they were the one of the first underground bands to sign with a major label. They also helped to pioneer the alternative rock sound. This disc is fast in style and the music just moves right along. In the beginning of their conception they would be considered hardcore punk but they matured later on and once they recorded "New Day Rising" they had added more melody into their songs.

Husker Du started with "Everything Falls Apart" in 1982 and finished with "Warehouse: Songs and Stories" in 1987. They did lay the groundwork for many bands to come along after and many of them mention Husker Du as being an influence. I had a Husker Du cassette a long time ago but after they broke up I forgot about them until I heard the song "New Day Rising" from Foo Fighters. It's funny how three simple words can take you back seventeen years.

I don't expect anybody to run out and search for this disc but I just wanted a few of you to know where a lot of your punk heroes got their influence from.

Husker Du: Grant Hart, Bob Mould, Greg Norton.

"Zen Arcade" (SST Records; 1984)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is considered the first punk concept album. The story is about an adolescent that runs away in search of a better home life but finds the world outside even worse. This disc has 23 tracks and each tells a chapter in the story. The song "Turn On The News" is ranked higher than Nirvana's "Nevermind" as songs that shaped the world.

It was first released as a double album but later pressings and different media formats eventually gathered all the songs onto one disc. The story has a weird feel to it and I'm glad that I know what a concept album is supposed to sound like, but I can't imagine what people thought when this was first released back in '84. Subsequently, no singles were released from this recording.

The music is combination of hardcore punk, piano, psychedelia, jazz, pop and acoustic folk ... still reading? I'll admit after first listening to this I was a little turned off but then I would hold up the CD case and remember that I was listening to Husker Du and that would contain me a little while longer. When this album was first pressed it was done in limited supply and fans were forced to clamor for it. Now it’s a cult classic.

Some critics say that this album opened the door for emo; it showed that hard guitars and angst-ridden lyrics could create an underground sound for punks everywhere. If you can take the time and listen to this whole disc, all 70:23 of it, I think you'll get a glimpse of where emo came from and how the alternative sound was created.

Husker Du: Grant Hart – vocals, background vocals, drums, percussion and piano; Bob Mould – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, piano, percussion, vocals, background vocals; Greg Norton – bass, background vocals.




Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:17:12 -0400.