Twenty-nine years after breaking up, the influential St. Paul punk/alt-rock band is finally set to unearth its earliest material via Savage Young Dü, the massive, highly anticipated re-issue project due out in November. But you don’t have to wait to hear the four-LP, 69-song collection — NPR started streaming it Tuesday!
Issued via Chicago label Numero Group, Savage catalogs the Hüskers from their 1979 genesis through their 1983 debut album, Everything Falls Apart. Forty-seven of the 69 tracks are previously unreleased, and they come accompanied by a 144-page book, 40 previously unpublished photographs, a “flyerography” plus a “sessionography,” and a lengthy essay by Erin Osmon (Pitchfork, Spin).
Making Savage Young Dü a reality required navigating several fractious relationships. The decades-long rift between Hüsker songwriters Bob Mould and Grant Hart is well-documented, as is the dickishness of Black Flag leader Greg Ginn, whose SST Records released three Hüsker Dü albums. City Pages contributor Michaelangelo Matos wrote a terrific rundown of the trudge toward Savage for NPR.
The box set proves the Hüskers’ harmonious rage was obvious from Day 1. It’s also a minor miracle these 30-plus-year-old underground punk recordings sound so crisp and searing.
“Hearing this stuff for the first time in a couple of decades, I [was] realizing the historical significance of what we were doing at the time,” Hüsker Dü bassist Greg Norton told Matos. “Of course, at the time, we were a bunch of kids playing rock ‘n’ roll in the basement. But the potential that Hüsker had showed right out of the gate.”
You can pre-order Savage Young Dü here.