Legendary musician Bob Mould announces his “Distortion and Blue Hearts!” tour starting September 16, 2021, in Boston at Paradise. The tour is in two parts. For the first three weeks, Bob will be joined by Jason Narducy on bass and drummer Jon Wurster. Beginning October 15 in Bloomington, IL, Mould will perform “Solo Distortion” electric shows.
On July 16, 2021, before any tour dates happen, Demon Music Group will conclude their year-long Bob Mould retrospective campaign with their fourth vinyl box, Distortion: Live. The 8 LP set includes live recordings from Mould’s solo career and his band Sugar.
This box follows October 2020’s 8 LP Distortion: 1989-1995 vinyl set, which took in Mould’s early solo outings as well as his records with the much-beloved Sugar, January 2021’s 9 LP Distortion: 1996-2007 box set continuing through the next steps in Mould’s solo career and his outings as LoudBomb and Blowoff, April 2021’s 7 LP Distortion 2008-2019 covering District Line to Sunshine Rock, and the 24 CD Distortion: 1989-2019 box, which covers the entirety of his post-Hüsker Dü output.
Mould’s live shows will span his entire 40+ year career, including songs from the Distortion collection and from his landmark band Hüsker Dü, as well as songs from last year’s explosive and critically acclaimed album Blue Hearts — about which Rolling Stone’s 4 out of 5 star review raved, “feels like a lost Hüsker Dü album with Mould howling invective over his buzzsawing guitar.”
“It’s been a year and a half away from the stage. I’ve missed the noise, the sweat, and seeing your smiling faces. I’m fully vaccinated, and I hope you are too, because this Fall will be a punk rock party with the band — and the solo shows will be loud and proud as well. It’s time to make up lost time, reconnect, and celebrate together with live music!”
As with the previously released box sets in the Distortion collection, each album has been mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering in Boston and is presented with brand new artwork designed by illustrator Simon Marchner and pressed on 140g clear vinyl with unique splatter effects. This box set includes 4 live albums: Live At The Cabaret Metro, 1989; the Sugar album The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes; LiveDog98 (first time on vinyl), and Live at ATP 2008 (first time on vinyl). In addition, the set includes a 28-page companion booklet featuring liner notes by journalist Keith Cameron; contributions from Bully’s Alicia Bognanno; rare photographs and memorabilia, and a bonus LP Distortion Plus: Live, which features live rarities including B-Sides and stand-out tracks from the Circle of Friends concert film.
Discover more about the box sets including full track listings and FAQs here: https://www.demonmusicgroup.co.uk/bob-mould-distortion/
On Dream or Don’t Dream, Halifax’s Kestrels live out a guitar freak’s wildest fantasies. The supercharged shoegaze rockers’ fourth full-length album not only features soaring solos from Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, but spellbinding mixing from John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Alvvays, Kurt Vile, Cyndi Lauper) and mastering engineer Greg Calbi (David Bowie, Lou Reed, Television, Blondie). Together, they constructed a towering devotional to tone with blazing riffs, powerhouse drums, and swooning hooks emerging from an enveloping haze.
Since 2008, Kestrels has been the primary project of singer/guitarist Chad Peck, who spends his time offstage as a high school English teacher. For this album he is joined by livewire drummer Michael Catano, the driving force between Maritime math-rock bands North of America, The Plan, and The Holy Shroud, whose credits also include an early stint with Len. Peck’s lulling vocals flash back to influences from My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, or Built to Spill, while Norma MacDonald’s spectral harmonies conjure the sound of a Cocteau Twins/Beach Boys fantasy jam.
Peck began writing Dream or Don’t Dream while staying on the couch of his friend, Ash frontman Tim Wheeler. From here, the album’s instrumental scaffolding was laid down throughout a series of studio sessions at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago, Sonelab in Massachusetts, and Sonic Temple in Halifax. He connected with his guitar hero J Mascis after Kestrels played at a bike shop with Dinosaur Jr. The white-haired wizard of riffs recorded seven different takes for album standout “Grey and Blue,” leaving Peck in the surreal position of compiling a Mascis guitar solo.
The guitarist’s bond with Agnello came even more naturally. These fellow gear heads ran wild, drenching Kestrels’ recordings in phasers, flangers, spring reverb, and the pitch-shifting sounds of a Rainbow Machine. “It’s A Secret” bounces between passages of yearning indie-rock and ambient drift, while “A Way Out” slips downstream from shoegaze into shredding Crazy Horse leads. “Everything Is New” tweaks an octave fuzz effect into disintegrating tones, before the afterburners are truly unleashed on the six-string pyrotechnics of “Feels Like The End.” While utilizing sonic experiments to push these songs into alien territory, one of Peck’s ultimate goals for the album was to keep it sounding “human”, “honest” or in Agnello’s words, “vibey.”
“I heard some of Kestrels’ influences early on, and they were bands that I really loved too,” says Agnello. “The obvious one was Dinosaur Jr, who I’ve been working with since 1993, so I tried to apply some of the mixing techniques I use on J’s guitar sound. I use a lot of analog pedals and tape delays on all the instruments to give them more warmth and depth than you get with some plug-ins. The idea was to have the guitars jumping out of the speakers without being harsh.”
Dream or Don’t Dream traces a transition in Peck’s life from a low period to one of excitement. Kestrels’ previous 2016 self-titled album was by all means a success, earning critical acclaim from The Fader, Noisey, and BrooklynVegan, charting airplay from CBC Radio 3, KEXP, and the BBC, plus nominations for the ECMA and Music Nova Scotia rock album of the year. However, behind the scenes, Peck’s longtime backing band dissolved, leading to a creative hiatus.
Focusing on the completion of his Masters degree while scoring podcasts inspired him to turn introspective. Returning to what he does best, Peck began writing lyrics about taking charge of his life, who he wants to be, and facing the reality of those choices and directions. For anyone paying close attention, he also slips in sly references to novelist David Markson, Virginia Woolf, and the time-traveling finale of Twin Peaks: The Return. Rendering this reflective song-suite with world-class collaborators, Kestrels have returned with a recharged conviction.
“Making records is a fundamental part of my life, so I knew I was going to keep going,” Peck concludes. “I’ve learned a lot about writing and recording so I was confident I could make something great. I sort of relished the challenge of being on my own in a lot of ways because I know how I want things to sound. It did make for some long nights in the studio, but felt like a good and important hurdle to cross. I’m ready for the next one.” — Jesse Locke