bobmouldpress

Ever-evolving artist Bob Mould shares the new song “Sunshine Rock” today, along with the announcement that he will release a full-length album of the same title February 8, 2019, on Merge Records, with a tour to follow spanning North America and Europe, which starts on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

It’s not because Mould—whose face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of alternative music—likes the current administration. His decision to “write to the sunshine,” as he describes it, comes from a more personal place—a place found in Berlin, Germany, where he’s spent the majority of the last three years. Here Mould would draw inspiration from the new environments.

“Almost four years ago, I made plans for an extended break,” Mould explains. “I started spending time in Berlin in 2015, found an apartment in 2016, and became a resident in 2017. My time in Berlin has been a life-changing experience. The winter days are long and dark, but when the sun comes back, all spirits lift.”

These three years in Berlin would quite literally shed new light on Mould’s everyday mindset.

“To go from [2011 autobiography] See a Little Light to the last three albums, two of which were informed by loss of each parent, respectively, at some point I had to put a Post-It note on my work station and say, ‘Try to think about good things.’ Otherwise I could really go down a long, dark hole,” he says. “I’m trying to keep things brighter these days as a way to stay alive.”

That makes Sunshine Rock as logical a product of the current climate as any rage-fueled agit-rock. Variations on the word “sun” appear 27 times in five different songs over the course of the album’s 37 minutes. To hear Mould tell it, the theme developed early.

“‘Sunshine Rock’ was such a bright, optimistic song, and once that came together, I knew that would be the title track, and that really set the tone for the direction of the album,” Mould says. “It was funny, because writing with that as the opener in mind, it was like, ‘This is not Black Sheets of Rain.’”

Mould’s famously dour 1990 solo album still serves as a point of reference: a title track that sets the tone for the album, though on Sunshine Rock, it’s the opposite of Rain.

The theme, the cathartic vocals, and the strings all amount to Mould’s catchiest, grabbiest album since Copper Blue, the acclaimed 1992 debut of his trio Sugar. Back then, Mould’s work in Hüsker Dü, as a solo artist, and in Sugar helped define the sound of guitar rock in the alternative age. Sunshine Rock finds him doing it again for an era that has ostensibly eschewed rock.

“Sunshine Rock is one helluva way to wrap up the busiest decade of my career,” he shares. “The autobiography, the Disney Hall tribute show, reissues of several albums from my catalog, three current rock band albums, several world tours, and now this new album—I’m humbled and grateful to still be making new music while celebrating my lifetime songbook.”

Sunshine Rock follows the 2016 release of Patch The Sky, also on Merge Records, which was hailed by Rolling Stone as “conjuring the ecstatic rage of his earlier bands for a grim new era” and as “tight, sharp musings on aging, fizzled relationships and death that are melodic enough to sound like songs of victory” by The New York Times. Patch The Sky completed a trilogy including its 2014 predecessor Beauty & Ruin and 2012’s Silver Age.

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