Husker Du, through the rise of alt-rock
faves Sugar, and his ongoing work as a
club DJ—may recognize a few of these
tunes already. “City Lights,” “The
Breach,” and “I’m Sorry, Baby, But You
Can’t Stand In My Light Any More” were
all road-tested when he toured in
support of his 2007 retrospective DVD
Circle of Friends. Two years later, “Sorry,
Baby,” and the careful way its concerns
turn as the song advances, remain
disarming. The title may evoke a
chuckle, but there is no laughter when
it ends.

Although very much of-the-moment,
Life And Times does mark a couple
important anniversaries. It has been 30
years since Husker Du made its on-stage
debut in 1979. Ten years later, Mould
released his debut solo full-length, the
critically acclaimed Workbook. And, according to the artist, the genesis of Life And
Times was very similar to that second milestone.

“The concept was to put myself in the compositional space I was in back in 1988,” he
explains. “Not so much sitting on a farm by myself, writing songs in the wake of the
breakup of Husker Du, but in the mechanics of writing.” Back then, pieces of non-
rhyming prose evolved into songs as improvised music was crafted to complement the
words, yielding classics like “Heartbreak A Stranger” and
www.ambiente.us  APRIL | ABRIL 2009

Bob Mould | Life And Times | Music

...highlights include the punk-as-fuck “Argos,” a blistering
eyebrow-raiser that was the final song added to Life And Times.
“I wrote it for my theoretical gay punk rock band, and
somehow it got into the real world.”...

Don’t be thrown by the title. Life And Times, the ninth solo album from Bob Mould, is not
autobiographical. That these ten ruminations on the fragility of relationships resound
so powerfully speaks to Mould’s abilities as a writer and performer, but the source
material wasn’t torn from his diary. “These are things that happen to all of us,” he
clarifies. Diehard fans craving inside dirt must wait for the 2010 publication of Mould’s
memoir; Life And Times is aimed at a broader audience.  

Nor is Life And Times some sprawling Dickensian epic. Featuring ten selections, and
a running time just over 36 minutes, the album is deliberately concise, shorn of
musical or lyrical flab. “There were a couple of songs that didn’t make the cut,” he
admits. “They fit the theme, but weren’t as provocative as the material that made the
record.”

Folks familiar with Mould’s oeuvre—from his days in seminal punk rock band
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“Brasilia Crossed with Trenton.” “On Workbook, the stories came first, and the music
later. The idea was to revisit that approach, since this release would line up with the
20th anniversary.”

Bob Moulds most recent work (Life & Times) shows his musical
maturity, excellent vocals, lyrics & guitar arrangements, while
being very much of today & relevant for not just this album,
buy we predict, for many years to come.    
 -Ambiente.us Magazine

Like all most of his work in the 21st century, starting with Modulate (2002), Mould—who
currently resides in Washington, DC—made Life And Times in his home. “This has
been the decade of writing and recording at the same time.” He played everything
himself, save for the drums, which were supplied by Jon Wurster of Superchunk. “His
playing is unbelievable on this,” admits Mould. The fact Wurster laid down all his parts
in just four days, without having heard the songs prior, underscores the immediacy of
the material.

Life And Times does not sound like a “homemade” record, the reflections of someone
padding around in their slippers, lost in navel gazing. Though Mould originally began
writing on acoustic guitar, not long after the composition of the first three songs
(featured in order on the CD, starting with the title cut), with the arrival of “MM 17” he
picked up the electric, too. Consequently, the disc mixes soft and loud textures; the solo
in “Spiraling Down” instantly reminds the listener why Mould is still considered one of
the most distinctive guitarists around.

Other highlights include the punk-as-fuck “Argos,” a blistering eyebrow-raiser that was
the final song added to Life And Times. “I wrote it for my theoretical gay punk rock band,
and somehow it got into the real world.” On “Bad Blood Better,” Mould composed a
vocal melody that leaves him remarkably exposed. “That one is a little more vulnerable
than anything I’ve done in years,” he admits. There are new lyrics, like “Can you get off
your high horse/This is the end of the ride” (from “The Breach”), that rank alongside his
best.

The album concludes with “Lifetime,” an atmospheric cut full of layered
.
keyboards and harmonic gray areas that fills a gap in the Bob Mould canon. “I've never
really written my ‘I Love Music’ song, romanticizing the radio, the religious experience
that music is, and what it meant to me as a kid.”

Life And Times does not flinch from the past. The dust and aromas that trigger
unexpected memories in the title tune are very real, remnants from Mould’syears in New
York that were unexpectedly disturbed while making the album. Do not mistake the
willingness to glance back, or the conscious embrace of an older writing style, for
nostalgia. (Ditto the absence here of club-friendly electronics; he simply prefers to
channel that creative impulse elsewhere these days, as evidenced by the popularity of
his Blowoff events with Richard Morel, and remixes for acts including Interpol, Low, VHS
or Beta, and Rammstein.)

2009 is a year of anniversaries for Bob Mould. But milestones and millstones are very
different things. With Life And Times, Bob Mould reiterates his prominence as an artist
not just in the here-and-now, but for the future as well.

Bob Mould On Tour
02/28 - San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall (Noisepop Festival)
03/02 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Cafe
03/11 - New York, NY @ Carnegie Hall (R.E.M Tribute Show)
03/29 - Chicago, IL @ Old Town School of Folk
03/30 - Minneapolis, IL @ Varsity Theatre
04/05 - Charlottesville, VA @ Gravity Lounge
04/07 - Alexandria, VA @ Birchmere
04/08 - New York, NY @ Joe's Pub
04/09 - New York, NY @ Joe's Pub
04/18 - Indio, CA @ Coachella*
04/03 - Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar

* This is a Bob Mould Band show. All others are solo acoustic/electric.
-------------------------–
Special thanks to Andy Reynolds at PENETRATION  INC
www.penetrationinc.com   www.myspace.com/penetrationinc

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