Bob Mould is a man always on the lookout for a new challenge. After Hüsker Dü (one of the most celebrated rock bands ever) folded in 1988, Mould would helm another powerful trio, Sugar, before beginning a fascinating, ongoing series of solo releases that have ranged from introspective to danceable, from melodic to nearly chaotic. The enigmatic guitar (and cultural) hero is finishing up what promises to be a fascinating memoir to be published next year and has just released a rock-solid solo disc, Life And Times. Read our new Q&A with him and earlier ones from 2008 and 2002. Mould will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week.
Mould: Marshall McLuhan was one of the great minds of the late-20th century. McLuhan accurately predicted a new cultural experience, where the long-standing concept of visual culture (cave paintings, religious iconography, visual media art, newspapers) would be replaced by electronic media, which would create a “global village.” A collective identity created by and connected with information that floats through our lives in a transparent and unfiltered manner. Cool media: Click it, and get a reward. Morphine drip. Following in McLuhan’s footsteps is Carles. Who is Carles? I don’t know Carles. I don’t know anyone who knows Carles. Carles is the architect of the tower of insight known as Hipster Runoff. If you haven’t experienced his surgical wit, here’s a few examples that will get you up to speed.
Exhibit A: “I wonder if M.I.A. has enough reach to impact an election. Maybe if the election was in Sri Lanka/Brooklyn, but I am afraid that it will be a difficult for her to sway the vote of people who don’t listen to indie/mainstream rap. I feel like if I were a political candidate, and some sort of ‘zany minority with ties to terrorist groups’ supported me, I would say ‘thank u, but could u keep quiet.’”
Exhibit B: “Might film meaningful parts of our road trip, then make a ‘tour video’ with our most meaningful song in the background. This tour is going to be the start of something beautiful. Going to start working on T-shirt designs. Will probably have a bird, some sort of guitar, and something ‘natural’ with our band name written in a kewl font. Printed on American Appy shirts. Do yall know any annoying bands in ur local scene who think they are going to make it?”
Exhibit C: “Where does Animal Collective realistically sit in this hierarchy of critical acclaim vs. pop appeal vs. actually selling albums? I feel like they are sort of like a ‘really funny, progressive comedy that got cancelled from cable TV’ in band format, except they are a band so they don’t get ‘cancelled’—they get the opportunity to move forward become more authentic, letting their fan base ‘grow’ with them.”
In our post-modern, post-ironic, post-whatever inappropriate thought comes into your head on Facebook-world, Carles dissects societal trends with a clarity and cynicism that is usually acquired though an academic blend of sociology and marketing. The reader comments are sometimes questionable, but expected, when you give said post-whatevers a sharpie and a freshly painted surface. Combine those oft-tactless comments with the author’s racial missteps (which seem to be all the rage with the multi-cultural youth of today), and there is a potential for the train of thought to fly off the rails. More often than not, however, Carles nails it clean out of the ballpark. Meaningful and authentic.