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Merge to re-issue Sugar catalogue on July 24

Merge to re-issue Sugar catalogue on July 24

Through both his solo work and as a frontman for the legendary Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould pioneered a signature wall of guitar sound and unmistakable vocal style that has imprinted a defining influence on more than one generation—impacting artists including Dave Grohl, Ryan Adams and Britt Daniel of Spoon, all of whom paid homage to Mould by performing songs from all stages of his career at a tribute show last year at L.A.’s Disney Hall.

In the three decades encompassing his career thus far, however, Bob Mould saw his greatest success during his stint as lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for iconic early ‘90s trio Sugar.

Mould broke onto the rock scene in the early 1980s as front man of the hardcore band Hüsker Dü. Hüsker Dü packed decades of creative evolution into the barely five years between the release of its first and final records, blowing eardrums and minds in equal measure while progressing from the primal breakneck caterwaul of Everything Falls Apart to the double-vinyl conceptual opus Zen Arcade to bona fide initial pop rock inroads with Candy Apple Grey before disintegrating in 1987. Mould re-emerged in 1989 as a sober and formidable singer/songwriter with his landmark solo debut Workbook, and continued working as a solo artist through the following year’s Black Sheets Of Rain.

Mould returned to a three-man band format with the 1992 debut of Sugar. With Mould on guitar and vocals, David Barbe on bass and vocals, and Malcolm Travis on drums, Sugar harnessed the sonic chaos of Hüsker Dü into a more focused pop/rock framework with increased emphasis the songs’ exciting melodies and irresistible hooks as well as the increasingly accomplished musicianship behind them. Critics and audiences alike warmed to Sugar’s fresh and innovative balance of punishing volume and pop sparkle, with many regarding this phase as their favorite of Mould’s entire career.

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).

Recorded and mixed during the same intense sessions that produced Copper Blue, the Beaster EP was originally released in April 1993. Notably darker in tone than the widescreen power-pop of Copper Blue, Beaster nevertheless boasts some of Mould’s most powerful songwriting.

File Under: Easy Listening -- the third and final album by this short-lived but brilliant trio -- was originally released in September 1994, featuring songs such as “Your Favorite Thing” that endure as mainstays of Mould’s solo performances to this day.

Mac McCaughan of Superchunk & Merge wrote of the reissues:

When word went around that Bob Mould had new band, not only a "band" band (as opposed to hired band to play his solo albums on tour) but also a trio, of course anyone raised from teenhood on punk rock and Husker Du in particular (like myself) went into high expectation mode. Copper Blue turned out to be a distillation of Bob's pop mode and roaring guitar mode into one tightly wound explosion of sound. There was space enough for the songs to breathe, but a driving urgency & energy in the rhythm section of Barbe & Travis that gives the whole album a barely-harnessed feel. Sonically, on songs like "The Act We Act" (Copper Blue), "JC Auto" (Beaster) & "Gee Angel" (File Under: Easy Listening) Sugar took Husker Du's aesthetic widescreen, the center held steady by Bob's focused songwriting. It's kind of incredible what Sugar did within such a small discography; there's no wasted space and the flow of great songs is a surprising, exciting listen 20 years later.

Pre-order Copper Blue / Beaster Deluxe Edition and File Under: Easy Listening or our special bundle of both now in the Merge store.



 
Copper Blue / Beaster (3CD set)
Copper Blue & Beaster will be released as double LP with b-sides & live show as bonus downloads.
CD1 & CD3 of this release will be sold together digitally; CD2 will be sold separately digitally only.

CD1 (tracks 1-10 are original Copper Blue remastered, 11-14 are b-sides)
1. The Act We Act
2. A Good Idea
3. Changes
4. Helpless
5. Hoover Dam
6. The Slim
7. If I Can't Change Your Mind
8. Fortune Teller
9. Slick
10. Man on the Moon
11. Needle Hits E
12. If I Can't Change Your Mind (Solo Mix)
13. Try Again
14. Clownmaster

CD2 Beaster EP (original version remastered)
1. Come Around
2. Tilted
3. Judas Cradle
4. JC Auto
5. Feeling Better
6. Walking Away

CD3 Live at Cabaret Metro Chicago, Illinois, July 22, 1992
1. The Act We Act
2. A Good Idea
3. Changes
4. Running Out of Time
5. Helpless
6. f I Can't Change Your Mind
7. Where Diamonds Are Halos
8. Hoover Dam
9. Beer Commercial
10. Slick
11. Anyone
12. Clownmaster
13. Tilted
14. Armenia City In the Sky
15. JC Auto
16. The Slim
17. Dum Dum Boys
18. Man on the Moon

File Under: Easy Listening
File Under: Easy Listening will be sold as a single LP with b-sides & live show as bonus downloads.

CD1 (tracks 1-10 are original File Under: Easy Listening remastered, 11-16 are b-sides)
1. Gift
2. Company Book
3. Your Favorite Thing
4. What You Want It To Be
5. Gee Angel
6. Panama City Motel
7. Can't Help You Anymore
8. Granny Cool
9. Believe What You're Saying
10. Explode And Make Up
11. Mind Is an Island
12. Frustration
13. Going Home
14. In the Eyes of My Friends
15. And You Tell Me
16. Believe What You're Saying (Campfire Mix)

CD2 - The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes - Live at First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2, 1994
1. Gift
2. Company Book
3. Hoover Dam
4. After All the Road Have Led to Nowhere
5. Where Diamonds Are Halos
6. Slick
7. Going Home
8. Running Out of Time
9. Frustration
10. Changes
11. Can't Help You Anymore
12. Helpless
13. If I Can't Change Your Mind
14. In the Eyes of My Friends
15. Clownmaster
16. Gee Angel
17. Explode And Make Up
18. The Slim