Bob Mould to perform 'Copper Blue' in its entirety at this year's Noise Pop Festival

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Bob Mould will perform 1992’s Copper Blue, from his post-Husker Du band Sugar, as part of the 20th annual Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco. The Flaming Lips will also present their 1999 release The Soft Bulletin.

This is the first time Mould has reimagined the album on stage, and comes 20 years after Sugar’s debut was named album of the year by NME. Organizers say the Noise Pop Festival, to be held February 21-26 across the city, will also include appearances by Built to Spill and the recently reunited Archers of Loaf, among others.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Bob Mould, Sugar and Husker Du. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

HUSKER DU – EVERYTHING FALLS APART (1982): Start here, with a release that was a little more cohesive than the live debut. They chew UP Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman.” Eleven years later, “Everything Falls Apart” was released again on CD (and this is funny) with some extras as “Everything Falls Apart … and More.” More than — everything? Cool. (P.S.: Included was a new basement tape called “Do You Remember?,” the translation of “husker du” in Norwegian.) Only after properly absorbing that, should you move on to the more mainstream “Zen Arcade,” a triple-album smart bomb from ’84 that led directly to post-hardcore. You need to hear them grinding before you hear them easing off. Still, it is here that we stumble upon the beginnings of that so-called “alternative rock” movement.

SUGAR – COPPER BLUE (1992): If you were thinking your copy of “Zen Arcade” could use a rest, the news was good: Sugar’s ’92 debut “Copper Blue” contained a flinty mix of acoustic hard-core, backward tape loops and, of course, the crash-and-ebb guitar musings of Mould. In fact, to my ear, “Zen” — moreso than, say, Husker’s initial 1981 trash-rock classic “Land Speed Record,” which was pure, angry adrenaline — was the template for this release. Mould is back in the trio setting here — Sugar also included former Mercyland bassist David Barbe and former Zulu member Malcolm Travis on drums — and better for it. Still, from a punk-lover’s standpoint, he hasn’t gotten away from those familiar ringing guitars — and that’s ringing of the eardrum sort. Taken in total, there’s a refreshing first-take brilliance to all of Mould’s stuff that powerfully recalls the jazz innovations of an earlier time. It’s music from the heart, and for the heart. And I don’t mean that in a soft way.

ONE TRACK MIND: SUGAR, “BELIEVE WHAT YOU’RE SAYING” (1994): Mould’s most heartfelt work, something obviously inspired by real loss — and it manages to get across that kind of stunned disbelief you feel when someone you love decides, seemingly out of the blue, that they no longer care to keep you in their life. Mould’s voice is double and triple tracked (maybe more?) to get some deep, lush harmonies. Later, a version that’s stripped down to just Bob-and-guitars was first issued as a b-side then part of 1995’s farewell b-sides/outtakes disc, Besides. I’m hard pressed to decide which is better — and I’m glad I never have the make the choice.

BOB MOULD – BODY OF SONG (2005): As a follow-up to the more electronic, experimental, but ultimately disappointing Modulate, this was an overwhelming success. As a new addition to his strong catalog (including Husker Du, Sugar, and his other solo material), it will probably depend on what era of Mould you like. Those looking for a Sugar fix were likely a little disappointed: Very little of this album contained the pop buzz Sugar was so good at. At the same time, those looking for follow-ups to his first two, more stripped-down solo albums needed some time to adjust, too — less so than the Sugar-enthusiasts, however. What you got was an album of guitar rock with a techno edge — nothing new in the music world, but Mould’s particular spin on this style was something new and interesting.

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