Land Speed Record (album)

Land Speed Record (album)

Infobox Album |
Name = Land Speed Record
Type = Live Album
Artist = Hüsker Dü

Released = January 1982
Recorded = August 15, 1981 at the 7th Street Entry
Genre = Hardcore punk
Length = 26:35
Label = SST Records
Producer = Hüsker Dü
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|2|5 [ link]
* Robert Christgau (B+) [ link] |
Last album =
This album = "Land Speed Record"
Next album = "Everything Falls Apart"

"Land Speed Record" was the first full-length record by Hüsker Dü, released in January 1982. It was recorded live on August 15, 1981 at the 7th Street Entry, a smaller venue attached to the infamous First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The album is a fast and furious hardcore workout that bears almost no resemblance to the melodic post-punk that the band became known for in the mid '80s. The title has a double meaning, referring to both the band's ability to play as fast as they could (there are 17 songs crammed into 26½ minutes) and their penchant for amphetamine pills, which they took mostly as appetite suppressants due to lack of money to buy food.

The album sounds like straightforward hardcore at first glance; with volume and power being emphasized over melody, it's the Hüsker Dü record that least sounds like Hüsker Dü. Bob Mould once referred to it as "the bad part of the acid...It sounds like when you go to a gig and get your ears blown off". The album was recorded just as they went on a tour of various places in the country, those close to the band say upon their return the band was louder, faster and noisier than before. The magazine "Discords" said about it: "It's hard to believe but the only Minneapolis hardcore band have gotten even faster during their stay away." Yet there are some elements emerging under the wash of noise that foreshadow the band's future direction. "Don't Try To Call" is one of their most melodic early songs, while Hart's "Data Control" slows the tempo to conjure a creepy musical mood to match the paranoia of the lyrics.

The concert was recorded straight to 2-track soundboard tape for only $350 (hence its murky sound quality), but once the band had taped it they realized they lacked the financial means to release the album. Therefore they turned to another band in the early hardcore scene they were friends with, The Minutemen, who released it on their own label. Minutemen bassist Mike Watt related the circumstances of Land Speed Record's release in a recent interview: "So Huskers opened for [Black] Flag, and we loved the SST thing and see how punk experience is, all this creating and shit, and we make a label, too, New Alliance. And they didn't have the wherewithal to put out this tape that they gave them called Land Speed Record and we thought it was like methamphetamine Blue Oyster Cult. We really liked it, so we put it out." []

As of July 2006, "Land Speed Record", like Hüsker Dü's other SST releases, has not been remastered for improved sound on compact disc, and the original CDs for this band are particularly weak-sounding, so interested listeners will find the best representation of the album on vinyl record.

Track listing

Note: The CD version only has two tracks, combining the two blocks of songs; the band took a small break in-between. Track 1 is songs 1 to 8 and track 2 is songs 9 to 17.

# "All Tensed Up" (Mould) – 2:02
# "Don't Try to Call" (Mould) – 1:30
# "I'm Not Interested" (Hart) – 1:31
# "Guns at My School" (Mould) – 0:55
# "Push The Button" (Hart) – 1:48
# "Gilligan's Island" (Hart) – 1:23
# "M.T.C." (Norton) – 1:09
# "Don't Have a Life" (Norton) – 2:09
# "Bricklayer" (Mould) – 0:53
# "Tired of Doing Things" (Hart) – 0:58
# "You're Naive" (Mould) – 0:53
# "Strange Week" (Hart) – 0:57
# "Do the Bee" (Hart) – 1:49
# "Big Sky" (Mould) – 0:57
# "Ultracore" (Mould) – 0:47
# "Let's Go Die" (Norton) – 1:26
# "Data Control" (Hart) – 5:28


*Bob Mould - guitar, vocals
*Greg Norton - bass, vocals
*Grant Hart - drums, vocals


*At the end of the album, Bob Mould says, "we'll be back for another set." Mould told Rolling Stone in 1986 that he still has the tape "somewhere." He goes on to say, "That's the other side of the band nobody ever saw back then...really, really heavy. There was a different kind of interplay between guitar, bass and drums. The vocals were a lot more sparse."

*The caskets on the cover are of the first eight soldiers to die in Vietnam.

*Once it was recorded, the band realized they could not afford to put out the album by themselves. Friend of the band, and member of Minutemen, Mike Watt offered to put out the album on his label, New Alliance. One thousand copies were produced which sold out in a few days.

*"Bricklayer" and "Let's Go Die" appear as studio recordings on the band's first studio album, "Everything Falls Apart", and can now be found on the Rhino reissue, "Everything Falls Apart and More".

*T-shirts with the cover of the album were put out by the label SST Records in the early to mid 90's, SST being the label which Hüsker Dü were on for a part of their career and the label which has reissued the album on CD. These shirts are extremely rare now.

Cover versions

The album was covered in its entirety by Apple-O in 1993, each song in a different style (including reggae, folk, synth pop).


"Our Band Could Be Your Life" by Michael Azerrad, Back Bay Books, NY, 2001

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