After legendary indie powerhouse Hüsker Dü broke up in 1987, frontman Bob Mould put out two solo albums. Workbook and Black Sheets of Rain are regarded as underrated classics, but he really hit his stride again when he recruited bassist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis to form Sugar.
Together for only three short years, Sugar was a blast of fury and might. The group released two LPs and an EP, which Merge is reissuing with tons of extras.
Sugar’s first album, Copper Blue, just celebrated its 20th anniversary, but the remaster sounds incredibly fresh. Mould, Barbe and Travis collide with thunderous force and somehow manage to come out unscathed and in unison. The album features the group’s biggest hit, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.”
Its companion EP, Beaster, was recorded during the same sessions, but has a notably darker air about it. In his autobiography, See a Little Light, Mould described the recording sessions and the ensuing tour as emotionally draining.
The new Copper Blue/Beaster reissue features the remastered albums, plus b-sides, a 40-page booklet and a complete live show from 1992.
The second disc of the CD version is a complete live show, recorded at First Avenue in Minneapolis in 1994, which was previously released as The Joke Is Always on Us, Sometimes. The deluxe reissue also features b-sides and a 32-page booklet.
Mould has recently been playing Copper Blue front-to-back with his new band. The trio features Jon Wurster (Superchunk, the Mountain Goats) and Jason Narducy, who has toured with Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices) and Telekinesis. Mould also has a new album, Silver Age, out September 4 on Merge.