Song of the Day: Bob Mould - Voices In My Head

Song of the Day
02/04/2016
Jacob Webb
photos by Dave Lichterman (see full set)

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Voices In My Head” by Bob Mould from his forthcoming album, Patch the Sky, due March 25 on Merge Records.

Bob Mould - Voices In My Head (MP3)

Well into his fourth decade of writing and performing, Bob Mould is both an elder statesman reflecting on his past and a still-thriving songwriter in a late-career renaissance. As a member of Hüsker Dü, Mould was one of the primary architects of the sonic template that would come to define the music known as alternative rock in the ’90s, and has been name checked as a key influence by everyone from Nirvana to Spoon to Ryan Adams. After that band’s dissolution, Mould began a prolific solo career that has continued to this day, releasing an album every 2-3 years on average and touring even more frequently. The last few years of Mould’s career have found him looking back more than ever before, but his recent retrospection has hardly resulted in overbearing nostalgia. Although his 2010s albums – 2012's Silver Age, 2014's Beauty & Ruin, and 2016's Patch the Sky – all feature some of his most reflective work yet, all of them double down on Mould's seemingly limitless ability to craft songs with bite equal to their hooks. Although it doesn't have the blistering speed of his last two lead singles ("The Descent", "Hey Mr. Grey"), "Voices In My Head" carries those songs' heavy muscle, albeit at a jangling pace. Mould wrote Patch the Sky in six months in isolation after a series of personal losses, and a notable gravity accordingly follows him throughout the whole song. But backed by the increasingly-potent duo of bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster, Mould walks the midtempo speed without losing pace and builds on the contemplative foundation that he's built across the last two albums. To anyone who's been paying attention to his last half decade, it's no surprise that "Voices Is My Head" continues the trend of Mould writing affecting, dynamic songs long after many of his peers have given up on avoiding nostalgia, but his consistency makes the tune all the more obvious that Mould still very much sees music not merely as an occupation or even just his legacy – it's his whole life.

Bob Mould, Jason Narducy, and Jon Wurster will take Patch the Sky on tour in North America this spring, including a stop at the Showbox at the Market on May 10th. Get tickets and more information about that all-ages show here, keep up with Mould on his Facebook and website, and watch the trio tear through the Hüsker Dü classics "Flip Your Wig" and "Hate Paper Doll" live on KEXP at Bumbershoot 2013.

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