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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of June 13, 2011

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Few, but not far between…

See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody
by Bob Mould, with Michael Azerrad

In See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, a long-awaited “classic story of individualism and persistence,” the autobiography of the influential Bob Mould chronicles the life and career of the influential guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the Minneapolis punk band Hüsker Dü in the 1980s and the frontman for the manic pop thrill-sters Sugar in the 1990s, in addition to his own solo work that showcase both his acoustic craftsmanship and his black sheets of electrifying scorch. Co-written by Michael Azerrad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991, the 416-page memoir makes known Mould’s “struggles with homosexuality, intimate relationships and drug and alcohol addiction,” according to the publisher.

Raised in an abusive household in the small town of Malone, New York, Mould found solace in an early love of 1960s AM radio pop hits, but was eventually captivated by punk rock, and such bands as the Ramones, Black Flag, and the Dead Kennedys. Immersing himself into a punk subculture after moving to the Twin Cities, Mould in 1979 formed — with Grant Hart and Greg Norton — Hüsker Dü, the seminal post-hardcore punk band that helped define the sound and standards of alternative rock. In between recording such milestone albums as Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, and Warehouse: Songs and Stories, the group led a fast-paced and frenzied life on the road and off that took its toll on the band, leading to discordance and disbanding in 1987. After two wildly divergent solo albums, the introspective Workbook and the fiery Black Sheets of Rain, Mould formed in 1992 Sugar, whose two main albums – the aggressively infectious Copper Blue and File Under: Easy Listening epitomize to the nth the titular “Rage and Melody.” That’s not to say, of course, that Mould abandoned either trait when Sugar went on a seemingly permanent hiatus, and the ever-restless artist returned to an adventurous solo career of varied approaches and experiments.

Not only vividly bringing a musical era – one that still continues — to the page, Mould also discusses in See a Little Light grappling with the complexities of his relationships and with his own sexuality, though he chose not to openly divulge his homosexuality early on during the Hüsker Dü years. He also freely and frankly recounts achieving sobriety, and takes us on inviting but amusing and unexpected detours into his stints as a scriptwriter for professional wrestling, and his busy career as one half of the DJ team Blowoff. If Mould keeps going down these kind of detours, in addition to his musical road, we just might see a Volume Two soon enough: “See a Little Light, and Take a Left.”


Errol Flynn: The True Adventures of a Real-Life Rogue
by Lincoln Douglas Hurst


Folly Beach
by Dorothea Benton Frank

Passion (Lauren Kate’s Fallen Series #3)
by Lauren Kate

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About Gordon Hauptfleisch