S is for Sugar

It is pretty much a guarantee that if I keep up this trend of posting based on the alphabet you will probably read about Bob Mould again when the letters H and M hit. The number of people I idolize I can count on one hand. This artist is one of them and Sugar by far was my favorite band Mould played with during his career. Actually, one of my favorite bands period.

This is not the first time I have posted about this band. Sugar was my artist pick of the week for the July 23, 2012 Musings post. They only released two studio albums and one EP during their all-too-brief career from 1992-1995, plus a B-sides compilation that included a bonus live CD of a show at the First Avenue in Minneapolis. However, it is hard to deny the gigantic impact the band had on alternative music during that genre’s explosion in the early nineties.

Copper Blue is STILL #1 on my all-time favorite debut albums list and a top 10 in terms of favorite albums of all-time. More important though, I think I listen to that album more now than I did when it was originally released in 1992. The 1993 Beaster EP and 1994’s sophomore full-length File Under: Easy Listening were nearly as incredible. It floors me to this day, 26 tracks spread out across three discs and every single song is at worst above average. I make a point of ranking every song I listen to on my iPod and without taking a look at those ratings I am willing to bet at least 1/3 of them I ranked 5 stars. Bob Mould crafted music that provides the blueprint for meshing the punk aesthetic with pop hooks.

However, great songs still need great musicians to take the music next level. Bob Mould was joined by bassist David Barbe (ex-Mercyland) and drummer Malcolm Travis (ex-Human Sexual Response). The trio brought Mould’s vision to life, delivering potent and precise musicianship that pushed the amplifier level to 11. Maybe even past that at times. I saw the band just one time; the trio delivered a set that was so loud, so incendiary, so intense my ears were ringing for days. I didn’t care because I was in a state of pure bliss that few bands are capable of creating. They shredded and Bob Mould stalked that stage like a madman the entire set.

When the 20 year anniversary of the release of Copper Blue hit Bob Mould took his latest band that includes bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster on the road and for the first time in his career played the album in its entirety. I traveled to Minneapolis since the tour did not come through Phoenix. Rather than talk about that here check out the Musings post regarding Bob Mould at the First Avenue September 15, 2012.

It was an absolute pleasure to listen to Copper Blue for the umpteenth time when writing this post. Past Musings posts about Sugar have included a clip for my favorite song from the album “The Act We Act.” I’ll give you instead of live version of “Fortune Teller”, a song that I believe was never played before that 2012 tour and the official video of “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” with the members of Sugar.

Album Inspiration: Copper Blue


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