Former Hüsker Dü co-leader and ex-Minneapolitan Bob Mould has already announced a deal with North Carolina indie giant Merge Records for his new solo album, due in the fall. Now comes word that Merge also plans a major catalog reissue by his other former band, Sugar – including a live album recorded at First Avenue just before the band called it quits in 1994.
The Sugar campaign, set to hit stores July 24, will feature two main packages:
“Copper Blue” / “Beaster” (3CD set): Featuring remastered “Copper Blue” with four bonus tracks (the must-have “Needle Hits E,” a solo acoustic version of “If I Can't Change Your Mind,” “Try Again” and “Clownmaster”); the remastered “Beaster” EP as Disc 2 (no bonus tracks); and a 1992 live recording from the Metro in Chicago as Disc 3. The remastered “Copper Blue” and “Beaster” will also be sold as a double-LP vinyl set with a download code for the bonus and live tracks.
“File Under: Easy Listening” with First Ave live recording (2CD set): “FU:EL” will also be remastered with six bonus tracks. The accompanying live set is titled, “The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes - Live at First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2, 1994.” Hardcore fans may remember this as the same live collection included with the first 25,000 copies of the band's "Besides" collection of outtakes. Anyone who buys the single-LP vinyl version of “FU:EL” will get the download code for the First Ave set and the bonus cuts.
The Sugar albums originally came out on Rykodisc, then a thriving indie label but now more or less a shelved catalog of great albums getting dusty somewhere amid the vast Warner Bros. international holdings. As is recounted in his memoir, "See a Little Light," Mould had grown wise to the music business by the time he signed the Sugar deal, so he retained the rights to these albums. Too bad we can't get similar expanded reissues of Hüsker Dü's equally classic albums.
Here’s a little promo that Merge put together to promote the Sugar reissues using footage from the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco, where Mould and his current band played "Copper Blue" in its entirety. At Merge's SXSW showcase, they played half the record along with three songs from the new album that were just as electrifying. Bob’s going to have a lot of ground to cover whenever he gets back to town (another First Ave date is pending).