Husker Dü. They really need no introduction, so consider this post more of a love letter to one of the most influential bands of the last 30 years (who just happens to have two queer members (thanks lookuplookup!) Score!)
Sadly, Husker Dü was only around for 9 years, but in that relatively short amount of time they played a significant part in reshaping punk music and creating the foundation for emo, queercore, some modern pop-punk, and a ton of indie-tinged subgenres.
They started out as a punk band influenced by the seminal acts of the time-The Dead Kennedy’s, Black Flag, and the like. It was a pretty classic hardcore punk sound, short, harsh songs with gruff vocals and even gruffer chords. What set them apart, however, was the use of far more personal, rather than political or social justice oriented, lyrics. This would eventually become a staple of the hardcore offshoot, emo, with bands like Embrace and Rites of Spring. But Husker Dü really made their mark beginning in 1984 with their album Zen Arcade. Much of the intensity and punk passion was still present, but the band began to introduce far more melodic instrumentals, like on “What’s Going On (Inside of My Head).” By the time of their 1985 album, New Day Rising, they were sounding a decade ahead of their time. “I Apologize” sounds like it could have been off of an early Get Up Kids or Jawbreaker album, even a gruffer version of a Promise Ring song. It’s all full of riffs that stick in your brain and lyrics that pull at your heart.
Without Husker Dü we wouldn’t have Lemuria, Superchunk, most of that mid-90s emo I love so much, like The Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World, Team Dresch, Sleater-Kinney, and a whole host of other bands that I (and likely you as well, if you read this blog regularly) love. We owe Bob Mould and company a whole debt of gratitude, and what better way to do that then cracking out Zen Arcade for old time’s sake?