March 14, 2007

Soul Asylum - Made To Be Broken

Sirens are a-screaming,
shots ring out at night
Movie cameras rolling in
And there goes my hero with his head between his legs
And all this time I believed in him
(from: "Never Really Been")

Once upon a time, there was a band called Soul Asylum. They formed in Minneapolis in the early 80’s and briefly called themselves Loud Fast Rules before changing their name to Soul Asylum. As the last of the first wave of Minneapolis Punk bands (including The Replacements and Husker Du, Soul Asylum had a hard punk sound, but also had trace elements of the 70’s stoner middle America rock ethic as well (long hair, flannel shirts, etc). Their first album Say What You Will was actually produced by Husker Du’s Bob Mould.

But it was with their next two albums; Made To Be Broken and While You Were Out that Soul Asylum “broke the Mould” and for a fleeting moment, were the best band in the world. Their mid 80’s shows were the stuff of legend, blending thrashing chords, anthemic lyrics and catchy choruses plus bizarre covers showing their love of mid 70’s fm radio crap (Foreigner’s Juke Box Hero, for example). Time's Incinerator, a cassette only release, was also released at during this period, featuring a blistering cover of James Brown's “Hot Pants”.

These albums were followed up by Clam Dip & Other Delights, Hang Time and The Horse They Rode In On…all decent albums, but not to the heights of their previous output. Some great songs were on these albums ("Cartoon" & "Sometime To Return" are standouts), but their moment of indie rock godhood had passed.

In the 90’s of course, Soul Asylum would become mega stars, releasing the Grave Dancers Union album which featured "Runaway Train" and "Black Gold".
This was Soul Asylum in the realm of Tom Petty / John Mellancamp type “heartland of America” swill.

Lead singer Dave Pirner was banging Hollywood bimbos and the band was performing at President Clinton’s inauguration and winning Grammy’s. This was followed by Let Your Dim Light Shine, which also sold well, featuring the song "Misery". Their last album was 1998’s Candy From A Stranger. They actually released a “comeback” album last year called The Silver Lining; which met with indifference at best.


But for a while there (1984-1987), they were fuckin’ great.

Ignoring their latter day crap, we feature:

From Say What You Will : Long Day

From Made To Be Broken : Tied To The Tracks
& Never Really Been

From While You Were Out : Closer To The Stars

And a couple of rare ones:

To Sir With Love (with Lulu!)
Sexual Healing (the Marvin Gaye classic)

Have at em!

Official Soul Asylum Site
Soul Asylum Wiki
Buy Soul Asylum Music


Walking Dead Man (WDM) said...

Nazz Nomad,

I always like the Soul Asylum, but to be honest missed out on all there earlier stuff. So this is very cool - thanks.

Travis said...

Soul Asylum is just amazing now as they have ever been.

Anonymous said...

Early lps much better than bland radio hits