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Punk / New Wave - Released June 20, 2008 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
It's cleaner and more produced than any of their records, which is one reason why many Hüsker Dü fans have never fully embraced their second double album, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. Granted, Warehouse boasts a fuller production -- complete with multi-tracked guitars and vocal, various percussion techniques, and endless studio effects -- that would have seemed out of place a mere two years before its release. However, Flip Your Wig and Candy Apple Grey both suggested this full-fledged pop production, and it's to Hüsker Dü's credit that they never sound like they are selling out with Warehouse. What they do sound like is breaking up. Although there was a schism apparent between Bob Mould and Grant Hart on Candy Apple Grey, they don't even sound like they are writing for the same band on Warehouse. But the individual songs on the album are powerhouses in their own right, as both songwriters exhibit a continuing sense of experimentation -- Hart writes a sea shanty with "She Floated Away" and uses bubbling percussion on "Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope," while Mould nearly arrives at power pop with "Could You Be the One?" and touches on singer/songwriter-styled folk-rock with "No Reservations." Warehouse doesn't have the single-minded sense of purpose or eccentric sprawl of Zen Arcade, but as a collection of songs, it's of the first order. Furthermore, its stylish production -- which makes pop concessions without abandoning a punk ethos -- pointed the way to the kind of "alternative" rock that dominated the mainstream in the early '90s. In all, it was a fine way for one of the most important bands of the '80s to call it a day. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released June 20, 2008 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Moving to a major label doesn't affect Hüsker Dü's sound greatly -- although the production is more full-bodied than Spot's razor-thin work, the Hüskers don't change their blazing attack at all. Much of Candy Apple Grey charges along on the same frenzied beat that propelled New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig, and both Bob Mould and Grant Hart are in fine form, spinning out fine punk-pop with "Sorry Somehow" and "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely." However, the sound is beginning to seem a bit tired, which is what makes Mould's two acoustic numbers, "Too Far Down" and "Hardly Getting Over It," so welcome. Demonstrating that punks can mature without losing their edge, Mould inverts the rules of conventional confessional singer/songwriter songs with these two haunting numbers, and in doing so, he illustrates the faults with the relatively staid post-hardcore punk that dominates the remainder of the record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released June 10, 2008 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

There's no real reason to believe this was anything other than a last little cash-in on the part of Warner Bros., who had the rights to only two studio albums anyway, but whatever the motive, the end results are enjoyable indeed. Stitched together from a variety of shows on the final Hüsker Dü tour in late 1987, The Living End may not be a true representation of the band's sets, but as a collection of tracks by an about-to-crack group still firing on all fours live, it's quite a treat. David Fricke's polished but not revelatory liner notes do contain a number of more elucidating comments from the bandmembers themselves, with Mould capturing the sense of things best: "The music was so strong, everybody got caught up in it. It was easy to say, 'F*** all this other sh*t' for an hour." Or in this case, an hour and a quarter of mostly previously released material, though there were two new songs -- "Now That You Know Me" and "Ain't No Water in the Well" -- plus a merry rip through the Ramones' classic "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker." Production and assembly by the trio's live soundman, Lou Giordano, certainly helps everything sound technically good -- Hart in particular is storming down from the heights -- though there are a few instances where backing vocal mixes aren't quite what they could be. Or the leads -- calling "Everytime" gutteral is almost too flattering. For the most part the song choices emphasize the quick and immediate numbers rather than those where the band showed a touch more exploratory impulses, and while it's hard to fault the song choices, sometimes they blend into each other a bit too much. However, as with much of their studio material, the sheer power and passion of the band often carries all before it, and certainly the appreciative audiences don't hold back their responses. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released October 20, 2017 | Numero Group

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