Hüsker Dü, “Savage Young Dü”
Savage Young Dü
The recent passing of Grant Hart is frustratingly sad and worthy of great mourning from a personal and artistic perspective. Whether on his own, or as a dog-eared corner of the Hüsker Dü holy triangle with Greg Norton and Bob Mould, Hart remains a crucial part of the American post-punk iconography. Yet, that doesn’t make the release of Savage Young Dü (its release announced a month before his death) any more poignant: it couldn’t. We only have so much praise to go around.
Curated by the trio, and collected for the first time, SYD’s four LPs pull from ancient demos, live show board tapes going back to early gigs in 1979, session master tapes, and alternative album versions (such as a remastered Everything Falls Apart, and a different take on their 1982 debut, Land Speed Record), in order to tell a story of giddy teens from Saint Paul, Minnesota, finding themselves and their searing, rock-out identities.
This means a higher fidelity to its buzzsaw guitars and bass-y, rhythmic kicks on pre-SST–era singles such as the PiL-like “Statues” and “Amusement” and the Brian Wilson-ish ballad “Can’t See You Anymore”—all made before the self-examined hardcore of Mould and the poppy, caustic romanticism of Hart came to the Dü fore. The best example of Savage Young Dü’s neo-sonic boom is a racier, sharper, and more incendiary version of the set of songs for the once hollow-sounding Land Speed Record—only this one comes from a tape that Hüsker Dü did for the Twin/Tone label.
It’s not necessarily the sound mix that will bring you to Savage Young Dü, though that torrid tone and the era-appropriate ephemera (flyers, singles sleeves) are a great start. Hearing raw-powered live tracks (“Do You Remember?”), smart-assed lyrics (“Writer’s Cramp,” “You’re Naïve” ), impassioned teen pleas (“I’m Tired of Doing Things”), and Mould, Norton, and Hart’s unified shouting in a fresh, new way is sheer joy.