If you haven’t kept up with Bob Mould’s music career since he quit Hüsker Dü and left Minneapolis at the end of the 1980s, here’s a chance to enjoy it all in one fell swoop.
Mould has announced a sprawling new 24-CD box set and an eight-vinyl LP collection featuring studio albums, outtakes and live recordings from a 30-year span, including the works by his early-'90s alterna-era power trio Sugar. Titled “Distortion: 1989-2019,” the massive collection will be issued by London-based collector’s label Demon Music Group on Oct. 2, just one week after Mould’s latest album “Blue Hearts” arrives.
The CD box set ($135) features all 18 studio albums, four live recordings and two discs of outtakes from that era -- from his first solo album "Workbook" on up to last year's "Sunshine Rock." For the vinyl lovers, the eight-LP box set ($187) will be sold separately as “Distortion: 1989-1995.” That will also include his second solo album, “Black Sheets of Rain,” along with all of Sugar’s output and a new compilation of outtakes from that era. The announcement promises three more vinyl box sets next year.
Each set features new liner notes and artwork. The larger collection includes a foreword by mega-fan Fred Armisen and testimonials by Richard Thompson, Shirley Manson and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino.
A demanding independent music businessman going back to when Hüsker Dü became one of the first underground rock acts to sign with a major label (Warner Bros.) in the mid-'80s, Mould went through numerous record companies with sometimes contentious results from 1989 on – a fact that makes some of his albums in that timespan hard to find, including on digital platforms. He finally settled into a fruitious alliance in the 2010s with Merge Records and has since pounded out five albums with his well-cemented bandmates Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster, counting the new one due Sept. 25.
Here’s how Mould explained his new bundle of mostly less-than-joyful rock in a statement:
“It’s called 'Distortion' because it describes the music and it fits the world we live in. In this new age, everybody shares their life in real time. But I’m not done yet. If I didn't have a constantly active career, this anthology might feel like the proverbial dirt landing on top of my coffin — though somehow I seem to be able to crawl my way out of the dirt every time!”
Speaking of digging up the buried past, here’s a 2005 live version of “Could You Be the One?” featured in “Distortion,” recorded when Mould first started performing Hüsker Dü songs again with his live bands. The label also made up a cool promo trailer to tout the new collections.