Released January 19th, 1987 on Warner Bros. Records
By the time 1987 rolled around, Minneapolis punk rock stalwarts Husker Du were on their last legs. Their previous album, 1986’s Candy Apple Grey, had been their major label debut but hadn’t exactly blown up the charts. Grant Hart, melodic hardcore songwriter extraordinaire, had developed a full-blown heroin addiction in the aftermath of the tour and the combination of his debilitation and the creative tensions between Hart and Bob Mould caused the band to dissolve after the tour behind Warehouse.
(The above video features Joan Rivers literally asking the band what’s it like to sell out)
What an album to go out on, though. The band always appreciated a good sprawl – 1984’s Zen Arcade went on forever – but this was big, a double-LP by a band whose first major label had largely fizzled out despite being a stellar display of Hart and Mould’s songwriting. Warehouse upped the ante, with each member trying to out-do the other in terms of quality craft. One thing that this competition did was strip away most of the abrasive hardcore tendencies that had fostered the original wave of Husker Du fans on Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. Purists felt it was too soft and melodic; certainly that had been the complaint of their original record label, the legendary SST, before the band had jumped ship to Warner Bros. That very “softness” would less than five years later be replicated as what the radio wags started to term “alternative rock”. Within a decade the sound of Warehouse would fit easily along side million-sellers like Soundgarden and Nirvana, and the second-wave post-grunge acts that were spawned in their wake. Bob Mould would go on to have a lengthy and continuous career, both solo and with his own alt-rock band, Sugar. Grant Hart’s own career would continue, although with remarkably less success.