Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “The Descent” by Bob Mould from the 2012 album Silver Age on Merge Records.
One of the 1980s underground rock scene’s most revered and iconic songwriters, Bob Mould initially rose to fame as one of the co-leaders of Husker Du, but as that band came to fall apart, Mould eventually resurfaced as the leader of the early 90s college radio staple Sugar. Both bands were exercises in hard, rough, and tuneful rock, but at the end of Sugar’s run later that decade, Mould’s output - some of which was electronic - began to receive an atypically tepid critical reaction, but after a short break, Mould returned in the mid 2000s, accepting a role as an elder statesman in the indie rock world he helped create. After spending last year promoting his autobiography and touring with Foo Fighters, Mould was inspired to look back to his Sugar/Husker Du roots to create an album that is both consciously more mature and youthfully optimistic. The result is Silver Age, his first album in three years.
Silver Age’s first single, “The Descent,” finds Mould in a mood that’s thoughtful and reflective, but never nostalgic. Not one to gather dust with age, “The Descent” punches with the muscular strength of Zen Arcade and the fiery pop sensibilities of Copper Blue, clocking in at just over four minutes. Bandmates Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy follow Mould’s lead and dive head-first into his contemplative hurricane of a song, providing the a brawny backbone to Mould’s thick, melodic guitars. If “The Descent” is any indicator, 2011 was the year Bob Mould needed to reenergize himself, and Silver Age is set to be his strongest work in decades.
Bob Mould is heading out on tour this fall tour playing a series of unique, two-set shows. The first set will be Sugar’s Copper Blue played front to back by the current Bob Mould band, followed by a second set containing Silver Age material alongside Sugar, Husker Du, and solo cuts. Mould and his band will play the Showbox at the Market on Tuesday, September 18th as part of the tour, and tickets are available here. Find more dates on this website and Facebook page. In the meantime, watch the Alicia J. Rose-directed video for “The Descent” now: