September 24, 2016

Hüsker Dü - Land Speed Record (1981)

Hüsker Dü was always noisy, but their earlier days (when hardcore punk's popularity and creative output was coming off its peak), features their most intense and disruptive recordings. Land Speed Record is the group's first full length feature and the live recording quality and environment makes the music even more wild and intense. People throw this album's value out the window, saying it's hardcore that is completely indistinguishable from other groups in the genre. True, Hüsker Dü went on to record much stronger and inventive albums on SST, but Land Speed Record displays a lot of the same elements (chord progression, little guitar solos, and vocal deliveries) featured on their crowning albums. Live settings can sometimes display a group's genius and skill or break down how basic they actually are, and I think this recording shows just how much of a guitar G Bob Mould is for a hardcore player. Even early on, Mould has a lot more soul and personality to his voice and guitar playing than any average hardcore frontman. The people who are quick to dismiss Land Speed Record obviously haven't listened close enough to discover all the Replacements, Dinosaur, and Pixies influences. That said, this is still a purely hardcore album and if you like to be blown away by speed and chaos, this is right up your alley. My favorite pre-Zen Arcade Hüsker Dü album.