SUGAR Copper Blue (1992), Beaster (1993), File Under: Easy Listening (1994), Besides (1995), Asides (1992-95) & The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes (Live-1994)

Hüsker Dü were great! But, I loved Sugar. Singer/songwriter Bob Mould expanded on the concept for his groundbreaking Minneapolis band by adding a dollop of hardcore pop to the mix, making Sugar as melodically addictive as 20 grit cotton candy. I’ve had almost all of their CDs forever – 3 albums, a bunch of singles and Besides, a collection of B-sides… the band’s swan song as fate would have it. The All Music Guide calls it “a fourth Sugar LP.” There’s also the rare, 18-song live disc that came with the first 25,000 copies… The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes. Click the covers for links to Amazon, where most of the band’s CDs sell for pennies.

Besides (1995)
It’s fair to consider this a fourth Sugar LP.”

I remember being ticked when I first saw this in stores. I was one of those who dutifully collected the band’s maxi-singles, each with 2 or 3 unreleased live tracks. And, what glorious singles they were. Sugar’s music was wildly aggressive and brimming with a sense of repeatedly crushed optimism. I bought what I already had anyway, and found a surprise for my trouble (below). Just another reason to love Ryko. Hear Sugar’s mad, live cover of The Who’s “Armenia City In The Sky.” At Amazon, HERE.

Needle Hits E (3:21)
If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Solo Mix) (3:20)
Try Again (4:43)
Where Diamonds Are Halos (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (4:17)
Armenia City In The Sky (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (3:27)
Clownmaster (3:20)
Anyone (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (2:43)
JC Auto (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (6:02)
Believe What You’re Saying (Campfire Mix) (3:52)
Mind Is An Island (3:40)
Frustration (5:20)
Going Home (2:41)
In The Eyes Of My Friends (3:35)
And You Tell Me (TV Mix) (5:03)
After All The Roads Have Led To Nowhere (Live At First Ave. Minneapolis, November 2, 1994) (3:22)
Explode And Make Up (Live At First Ave. Minneapolis, November 2, 1994) (4:42)
The Slim (Live At First Ave. Minneapolis, November 2, 1994) (6:24)

AsidesAsides & B-Sides Besides Besides
B-Sides Left Off Besides & All Those Great A’s

I threw this together just to gather all the stray B-sides among my own singles that never made it onto the Besides compilation. Eight, by my count – through the last two are culled from the full length live CD mentioned below. Most of this material was left off the official CD to ease song repetition. So, I thought… why not add the A’s to mix things up? It is their best stuff. Then, shazam, this stray collection accidentally turned into a nice little package. Especially recommended for Sugar newbies, as it starts out with that incredible string of singles, almost like a greatest hits, goosed with the leftover live tracks to preview Besides and the live bonus disc. Even for those already addicted to Sugar, it’s a great listen, as the single, “Helpless” (below) should remind you.

Helpless (3:07)
Changes (5:02)
A Good Idea (3:51)
If I Can’t Change Your Mind (3:19)
Your Favorite Thing (3:54)
Believe What You’re Saying (3:58)
Gee Angel (3:58)
Helpless (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (2:54) (A Good Idea)
Slick (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (4:32) (A Good Idea)
Hoover Dam (Live At Caberet Metro, Chicago, July 22 1992) (3:15) (If I Can’t Change Your Mind)
If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Live At The BBC) (3:10) (If I Can’t Change Your Mind)
The Slim (Live At The BBC) (5:21) (If I Can’t Change Your Mind)
Where Diamonds Are Haloes (Live At The BBC) (4:30) (If I Can’t Change Your Mind)
Gee Angel (Live At First Ave. Minneapolis, November 2, 1994) (4:17) (“Gee Angel” Live)
Clownmaster (Live At First Ave. Minneapolis, November 2, 1994) (2:43) (“Gee Angel” Live)

The Joke...The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes
Besides’ Hidden Limited Edition Live 1995 Bonus Disc

God’s honest, it wasn’t until it was home that I realized Besides had a free live disc inside. There was nary a peep on the outside packaging about it (at least on mine… Amazon’s have stickers). The extra weight my seasoned hands felt was rationally explained away as a possible, extra thick Ryko booklet. Instead, was this blistering 18-song gig recorded 11/19/94 in hometown, Minneapolis. At Amazon, HERE.

Gift (4:12)
Company Book (3:28)
Hoover Dam (3:08)
After All The Roads Have Lead To Nowhere (3:42)
Where Diamonds Are Halos (4:21)
Slick (4:04)
Going Home (2:13)
Running Out Of Time (2:29)
Frustration (4:38)
Changes (3:44)
Can’t Help You Anymore (2:59)
Helpless (3:04)
If I Can’t Change Your Mind (3:04)
In The Eyes Of My Friends (3:12)
Clownmaster (2:43)
Gee Angel (4:17)
Explode And Make Up (4:39)
The Slim (8:36)

the studio albums…
Copper Blue (1992)
The Must-Have Debut
The Act We Act (5:10)
A Good Idea (3:47)
Changes (5:02)
Helpless (3:06)
Hoover Dam (5:28)
The Slim (5:14)
If I Can’t Change Your Mind (3:19)
Fortune Teller (4:28)
Slick (4:59)
Man On The Moon (4:33)

Beaster (1993)
The Weird EP

Come Around (4:52)
Tilted (4:08)
Judas Cradle (6:16)
JC Auto (6:13)
Feeling Better (6:22)
Walking Away (3:01)

File Under: Easy Listening (1994)
Goodbye Cream (And Sugar)
Gift (4:15)
Company Book (3:46)
Your Favorite Thing (3:51)
What You Want It To Be (4:14)
Gee Angel (3:57)
Panama City Motel (4:07)
Can’t Help You Anymore (3:29)
Granny Cool (3:34)
Believe What You’re Saying (3:56)
Explode And Make Up (4:55)


  • Willard
    August 2, 2011 - 08:05 | Permalink

    Find it all HERE

  • August 2, 2011 - 08:15 | Permalink

    Thanks so much Willard. I ripped these years ago at 192 and sold the discs. I’m thrilled to upgrade.

  • Willard
    August 2, 2011 - 08:20 | Permalink

    Selling sugar on the side, eh?

  • August 2, 2011 - 08:22 | Permalink

    You got it, Back when you could actually get a few bucks for a used CD.

    • Willard
      August 2, 2011 - 08:29 | Permalink

      Know what you mean. I was pretty shrewd when it came to selling my LPs at the right time. Over 5,500 of them, averaging a couple bucks each – for albums! And that’s after weeding out the rarities. As much as I missed a few over the years, I was thrilled with that transaction. Wasn’t so lucky on CDs. Missed my window of opportunity, so I’ve still got a wall of about 4,000 of them. It’s actually not even worth it to sell most of them.

  • Sudsman
    August 2, 2011 - 08:31 | Permalink

    Fantastic! Thanks for the great Cities rock!

  • Gummo
    August 2, 2011 - 09:10 | Permalink

    Thanks, Willard, I too loved Sugar! Under those buzzsaw guitars and pounding drums were the melodic hooks of true pop music. I’ve sampled a few of Mould’s post-Sugar solo work and haven’t found the same melodiousness, but at least we have this work to enjoy.

    • Willard
      August 2, 2011 - 09:22 | Permalink

      I hear you Gummo. I followed Mould after Sugar, too, and while there was some cool material (except for the bizarre electronica side track), Sugar just seems to fill a need that his later stuff didn’t. Which could be more about my attention span than Mould’s output.

  • August 2, 2011 - 09:27 | Permalink

    Sugar was Bob Mould’s 3rd best band (after Hu Du and the solo stuff he did- pre Sugar)-

    Hey- check out Bob Mould’s new book if you haven’t already!

    • Willard
      August 2, 2011 - 09:35 | Permalink

      You can read some of Mould’s See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage And Melody at Amazon, HERE.

  • Johnny Kinkdom
    August 2, 2011 - 17:22 | Permalink

    Thanks for the remaining rarities. I loved this band too. Amazing live. I have had success selling LP’s and CD’s on eBay with a starting price of $0.99 but no one bought these discs. Broke my heart a little. Some of the finest power pop ever recorded!

    • Willard
      August 2, 2011 - 17:37 | Permalink

      Yeah… I used Ebay for a bunch of rare stuff 10 years ago, but just don’t have the patience for the high volume, low profit work.

  • Greensleeves
    August 2, 2011 - 21:02 | Permalink

    Thanks, Cap’n! Sugar was/is definitely one of the great, lost bands of the 90s. Certainly the Bob Mould project I’ve spun the most over the years. J.C. Auto just positively smokes! As an EP and single enthusiast, I felt your pain when “Besides” showed up…thank heaven the powers that be decided to include “The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes” on the first batch to keep us from really busting a spring!

  • joao
    August 3, 2011 - 20:42 | Permalink

    wonderfull , thank you !

  • August 6, 2011 - 20:53 | Permalink

    Thanks for Sugar, i bought F.U.E.L. long time ago on cd, cool stuff.
    As for unable to sell CDs, the change from vinyl to cd was already bad for the artwork, but going from CD to MP3 was even worse!
    I still enjoy taking out the CD booklets (at least some of them!), reading the liner notes & admiring the cover art. Especially Ryko did (& does) a very good job artwork-wise.

    • Willard
      August 6, 2011 - 22:00 | Permalink

      I think of the internet as replacing the artwork. Since I don’t have time to stare blankly at covers anymore (saw a cool 10″ today, looked though the book, nice… but I’ve killed the need for owning it), the internet acts as an interactive booklet. Remember when labels used to put links on CDs to get people online? People don’t need an invitation anymore. You’re right. Many Rykos were good. I like those Miles box set notes… but the size is almost unmanageable.

  • eric b
    September 22, 2011 - 07:56 | Permalink

    Any Replacements stuff floating around in those archives? Seems like a natural complement…

    • Willard
      September 22, 2011 - 08:51 | Permalink

      Nothing unusual.

  • ate2zee
    August 30, 2012 - 04:12 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard for the Sugar extras. The main Sugar albums I have, but–Asides, Besides, etc. were unknown to me. I’m excited to hear these. I just read your note about no dead links. What an accomplishment. I can’t believe you re-upped the whole thing. Good work!

  • Arizona
    September 1, 2012 - 05:36 | Permalink

    Thanks for all the Bob Mould, including his newest. I note that he will be on David Letterman
    Tuesday Sep 4, 2012. Will Dave tell us that Bob will “blow the roof off the dump”?

    • Willard
      September 1, 2012 - 09:21 | Permalink

      Thanks for the info. Haven’t seen the guy play in a long time.

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