This was a big week for Bob Mould.
On Tuesday, Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar) dropped the news of his upcoming solo album, Patch the Sky, and the following day, he shared a glimpse of what listeners can expect by posting a video for the single “Voices in My Head.”
Directed by Alicia J. Rose, the clip sees Mould trapped in a high-rise city apartment, as he battles “all the ghosts and demons” in his head—or in this case, three identical versions of himself. A flannel-robed Mould anxiously tries to rid the “voices that multiply, amplify the fear”; he strangleholds his mind with “We had our final conversation/I remember that, understand me/It’s a long way back, if I decide to listen.”
The struggle escalates to Mould power slamming his kitchen table, as whirling strobe-light effects mimic the panic. The video teases a forthcoming sequel with “To Be Continued…” and the final frame leaves the 55-year-old rocker in fetal position, while the old haunts close in around his bedside.
The track’s introspective lyrics deliver Mould’s signature songwriting style and infectious, pretty melodies, but it has a cleaner, more studio produced sound with the dramatic backing “woo-oos” and mellow, almost medicated, slouchy beat—perhaps because he’s found some “truth in all the noise.”
In a statement on Merge Records’ website, Mould labeled the record his darkest and catchiest yet, noting that it’s “the perfect balance of bright melodies and dark stories,” and further explained his reasoning for creating the album:
After the Letterman performance in February 2015 where “dust fell from the rafters,” it would have seemed logical to go the punk rock route—an entire album of two-minute songs—but that wasn’t where my soul was at.
I withdrew from everyday life. I wrote alone for six months. I love people, but I needed my solitude. The search for my own truth kept me alive. These songs are my salvation.
I’ve had a solid stretch of hard emotional times, and thanks for the condolences in advance. I don’t want to go into the details—more death, relationships ending, life getting shorter—because they’re already in the songs. Just listen and see if you can fit yourself into my stories. The words make you remember. The music makes you forget.”
The alt-rock guitar hero from Malone, NY, is best known for his iconic Midwest band Hüsker Dü, whose hard, fast, wall-of-noise style influenced college radio to surface with bands like the Pixies and Nirvana. Mould reached his biggest commercial success with Copper Blue under the band Sugar; the record was named by NME as album of the year in 1992. And the San Francisco-based musician most recently joined Dinosaur Jr. on stage at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City for the band’s 30th anniversary run.
A follow up to 2014’s Beauty and Ruin (also on Merge Records), Patch the Sky officially releases on March 25, and Mould will tour with his longtime band—Jason Narducy on bass and Jon Wurster on drums—in support of the new record. The tour kicks off in February with a string of UK dates before heading to Canada and the US, making one stop in New York. See the full tour dates below.
Bob Mould 2016 Tour:
2/6 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England
2/7 Manchester Academy 2, Manchester, England
2/8 Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Scotland
2/10 The Globe, Cardiff, Wales
2/11 Brooklyn Bowl, London, England
2/14 Southampton Engine Rooms, Southampton, England
4/20 Majestic Theatre, Madison, WI
4/22-23 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
4/26 The Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA
4/27 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
4/29 Webster Hall, New York, NY
4/30 Pearl Street Night Club, Northampton, MA
5/1 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
5/3-4 Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Ontario
5/6 Metro, Chicago, IL
5/7 Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
5/10 The Showbox, Seattle, WA
5/11 Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
5/13 Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA
5/14-15 The Independent, San Francisco, CA