This primitive stage in the fabled career of H¸sker D¸ is presented as a deluxe box set and packaged with a hardbound book crammed full of never before seen photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs or three CDs, 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued. Also included are Statues/Amusement, In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart, and an alternate recording of the Land Speed Record set.
It’s tough to think of a rock band as storied and ferocious as Hüsker Dü that has been as poorly served by its recording history. The majority of the eighties punk-pop-noise-hardcore trio’s work — featuring not one but two of the field’s best singer-songwriters, in guitarist Bob Mould and drummer Grant Hart, along with bassist Greg Norton — came out on the Long Beach, California U.S.-punk standard bearer, SST Records, where the band’s recordings were supervised by the label’s in-house producer Spot. The producer achieved . . . muddy results. “Spot was a lousy engineer,” says Ken Shipley of Chicago reissue label the Numero Group. “They didn’t have the money to make their records sound good.”
No one who loves punk should live without the Hüsker Dü catalogue. With the exception of Bad Brains, no hardcore band of the early ‘80s played faster or with more bite, and not even Bad Brains wrote better tunes — and hardcore was only the beginning of Hüsker Dü’s range. From 1982 to 1987, the band issued seven superb albums (counting 1983’s Metal Circus 12-inch EP, their first for SST) that remained louder than hell while exploring everything from folk to psychedelia to pure pop — albeit as heard through a lint filter much of the time.
Chicago reissue label Numero Group will give fans a comprehensive look at the early days of Hüsker Dü when they release the massive ‘Savage Young Dü’ box set this November 10th. Compiled over seven years from tapes and early demos, the 69-track collection is already being streamed in full over at NPR.
Available as four LPs or three CDs, Savage Young Dü features fresh remasters from sound board tapes, session masters, and demos captured between 1979 and 1982, many of which come from the band’s former soundman Terry Katzman. Included in the set are all the band’s 7-inch singles from that time, such as “Statues”/”Amusement” and “In a Free Land”; a new remaster of Hüsker Dü’s sophomore full-length, 1983’s Everything Falls Apart; and 47 previously unheard demos, alternate takes, live versions, and never-before-released songs.
There’s also a new version of their 1982 debut, Land Speed Record. The original release came from the first of two sets the band performed at Minneapolis’ 7th Street Entry on August 15th, 1981. However, the original tape was stolen some time ago, and all that’s left is a multi-track copy and decades-old mix-down. Though Numero has the original tape from the second set that night, they decided to use a third tape, one recorded two weeks later at a Twin/Tone Records showcase. “They played basically the exact same set,” Numero’s Ken Shipley told NPR. “They’re even better than they were two weeks earlier. And the soundboard tape was way better. It was just a marked improvement over Land Speed Record. We said, ‘Let’s do a better version of it.’”
Housed in a linen-finished slipcase, the deluxe box set features a 144-page hardcover book, 40 previously unpublished photographs, and a 12,000 word essay by Erin Osmon.