Saturday, May 23, 2009

divide and conquer: Hüsker Dü in 1985

No long intro this time. Just a quick 1985 Hüsker Dü hit, perhaps this seminal, groundbreaking punkpop band's best year ever, creatively speaking. Each song sung by its primary songwriter, guitarist Bob Mould and drummer Grant Hart perhaps are at their creative peaks (as far as Hüsker Dü is concerned) with each back-and-forth track. We have January 1985's New Day Rising - a more melodic carrying-on from 1984's Zen Arcade, and then we have September 1985's stellar Flip Your Wig - a record that's basically one giant hook from the first notes of the first track to the very last note of the last song.

Hard to imagine these two records (each amazing on their own) were released only 8 months apart. Closest I can think of would be Joy Division, a band that in the space of 10 months recorded two independently-amazing bodies of work in Unknown Pleasures and Closer.

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NEW DAY RISING (SST 031, January 1985)

01 New Day Rising
02 The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
03 I Apologize
04 Folklore
05 If I Told You
06 Celebrated Summer
07 Perfect Example
08 Terms Of Psychic Warfare
09 59 Times The Pain
10 Powerline
11 Books About UFOs
12 I Don't Know What You're Talking About
13 How To Skin A Cat
14 Whatcha Drinkin'
15 Plans I Make

FLIP YOUR WIG (SST 055, September 1985)

01 Flip Your Wig
02 Every Everything
03 Makes No Sense At All
04 Hate Paper Doll
05 Green Eyes
06 Divide And Conquer
07 Games
08 Find Me
09 The Baby Song
10 Flexible Flyer
11 Private Plane
12 Keep Hanging On
13 The Wit And The Wisdom
14 Don't Know Yet

- - -

Two RAR files, gotta grab 'em both to extract the whole deal

edit: Removed link.



  1. New Day Rising has always been my favorite HD album...a good year for the band indeed.

    I am trying to think of other bands with multi-album years like this...all I can come up with is Jandek, who put out two a year, year after year ('81-'88 = 16 albums). Blue Corpse and You Walk Alone are his two best and came out 6 months apart.

  2. The Smiths released their self-titled in 1984, then Hatful of Hollow, a compilation of their singles late that summer and recorded Meat is Murder the end of that year (it's released Feb 95)

  3. Never got hold of New Day Rising, but I tend to expect it to be their best: I really like Flip Your Wig, but it's a tad too poppy for me, while Metal Circus a little too thrashy (and Zen Arcade a little too pretentious), so hopefully NDR falls nicely in between...

    Something worth adding is a comp track from then:

    Regarding the two-records-in-a-year, I'd say the Hüsker Dü case is more impressive than Joy Division: with JD it's the first two LPs, which is easier (since the first is usually old songs). And you're always got people like Dylan and Zappa (Overnite Sensation and Apostrophe´ were 10 months apart) etc...

  4. Didn't Ryan Adams release Jacksonville City Nights, 29 and Cold Roses (a double album) all in 2005?

  5. Despite the greatness of Divide & Conquer (I often cite it in my top 5 all time favourite tracks) I think it pales next to their cover of 8 Miles High......

  6. Thanks for the Hüsker Dü! You always post gems.