Husker Du, Replacements, Neil Young among best reissues in 2017

Husker Du

My favorite releases of reissues, rarities and collections this year included rock, pop and punk music from the ’70s and ’80s as well as some very recent material from a contemporary singer songwriter.

Chicago archival record label Numero Group does an excellent job with its reissues. But these guys outdid themselves with the phenomenal Savage Young Du, the early recordings of ’80s Minneapolis punks Husker Du.

Likewise, For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986, showcased the live performance of another legendary Minneapolis band, the Replacements.

Neil Young’s Hitchhiker was recorded in 1976 but was just released this year.

U-Men was a 1980s band from Seattle that is getting some notice again thanks to an anthology released in 2017.

Angel Olsen had some great unreleased material, most notably the song Special from the My Woman recording sessions. Olsen’s Phases, a collection of demos and B sides, is worth a listen.

Chicago’s HoZac Records put out some interesting archival releases, including a collection of 1973-74 recordings by Oister, a pop band led by Dwight Tilley.

Grant Hart R.I.P.

Husker Du was far more than a great rock band from Minneapolis.

Part of the stable of SST Records in the early 1980s along with Minutemen, Meat Puppets and Black Flag, Husker Du was part of an incredibly innovative arm of the American punk movement that continues to have an influence decades later. In the beginning, Husker Du veered more toward hardcore than label mates Minutemen or Meat Puppets. The band’s sound refined to such an accessible level, however, the music still sounds fresh today.

Bob Mould was the front man, and Grant Hart, the three-piece band’s drummer, was also a songwriting and creative force of Husker Du. The band broke up in 1988 and never reformed.

Hart died this week after a battle with cancer. He was 56.

Bob Mould, the rocker, is back and he’s touring

If you miss the days of Bob Mould performing on stage as a balls out rocker, I highly recommend you catch his latest tour.

At a downtown Chicago show Monday, Mould ripped through more than an hour of fast, loud songs with barely a break between each. Almost half of the more than 20 songs in the set were originally performed by his former bands Husker Du or Sugar. Tracks from Mould’s hard-charging new album Beauty & Ruin fit in nicely with the classics. Among the Husker Du songs Mould dusted off for the Monday set were Something I Learned Today and Chartered Trips from Zen Arcade. (Zen Arcade!) He also played songs from Flip Your Wig and Candy Apple Grey. There were no songs from the Huskers’ New Day Rising, unfortunately. But maybe he’ll pull them out at some point in the tour.

Live in Chicago: Bob Mould plays Millennium Park

Bob Mould toured the 25th anniversary of his solo album Workbook earlier this year, including stops in Chicago. Expect to hear him play some of his new material when Mould returns for a free show at Millennium Park Monday night. Mould’s just-released album, Beauty & Ruin, is full of rockers that should sound great live. And, of course, if you’re a fan you’ll always hope for a good dose of Husker Du and Sugar. Judging by recent playlists Sugar songs are a little more frequent. But expect a sampling of Mould’s great career throughout the set.

Split Single, a project of Chicagoan and Mould bandmate Jason Narducy, opens. The show starts at 6:30 p.m.

Watch the video for Mould’s latest single, I Don’t Know You Anymore, including a pretty funny cameo by DecemberistsColin Meloy.