“Sinners and their Repentances” – Bob Mould


From Bob Mould’s game-changing 1989 solo album “Workbook,” the former Husker Du frontman and punk rock God channeled his inner Richard Thompson into decepitvely quieter, but no less intense songs. The opening acoustic bridge was used for years as bumper music on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” One of my all-time favorite albums.

“Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young


After a decade of odd musical diversions, Neil Young came back like a motherf–ker in 1989 with the positively brutal “Rockin’ in the Free World,” which laid waste to most of the heavy metal of the prior decade, as well as most of the punk. “Free World” sounded like it would have been at home on Husker Du’s “Zen Arcade.” Over 20 years later, it still packs a wallop.

“Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991” written by Michael Azerrad

One of the best music books of the last 10-15 years is Michael Azerrad’s history of American alternative rock from 1981-1991, “Our Band Could Be Your Life.”  Released in 2001 and available in digital format within the next day or so, “Life” is the college radio version of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” (Peter Biskind’s exhaustive and stellar look at Hollywood of the 1970s).  Azerrad devotes each chapter to a different seminal band of the period (Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.).  Some of the stories you may know … others you won’t.  But if you have any interest at all in rock history (especially alternative / progressive rock), “Life” is a must.  The chapter on the Butthole Surfers by itself is worth the price of the entire book.  Seriously, the chapter reads like Hunter S. Thompson smoking angel dust with Monty Python with chaos, insanity, humor, and violence ensuing like a motherf–ker!