Born: 1960 in Malone, NY.

Sounds like: All the layers of fuzz on Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade and New Day Rising peeled away to expose the bruised heart underneath.

For fans of: Frank Black; Vic Chesnutt; pretty much every college rock act of the '80s;The Daily Show theme song (he wrote it).

Latest release: 2009's Life and Times, another set of strikingly honest confessionals from one of alt-rock's most consistent songwriters.

Why you care: Bob Mould is responsible for, like, half of all the life-affirming records to come out of the indie-rock underground—and he only played a direct part in creating a few of them. As the singer-guitarist for Minneapolis post-hardcore legends Hüsker Dü, he upped the artistic ante for an entire generation of bands: The Minutemen famously took the Hüskers' 1984 epic Zen Arcade as a challenge, responding with their own magnum opus, Double Nickels on the Dime; and don't think crosstown rivals the Replacements weren't pushed to greatness by living in the same city as the most aggressively ambitious group in American punk. But Mould's influence didn't end when the band collapsed in 1987. He spent the early '90s fronting Sugar, which produced two classics of its own: the power-pop master classes Copper Blue and File Under: Easy Listening. Save for a stint as—believe it or not—a pro-wrestling scriptwriter, Mould has mostly dedicated the past two decades to building his solo discography, releasing eight albums that vacillate between mournful folk, full-throated rock and electronic experiments, all linked by his genius for soaring melodies and gripping introspection.


Bob Mould plays Mississippi Studios on Saturday, Dec. 4, with Telekenisis and Cobirds Unite. 9 pm. $18 advance, $20 day of show. 21+.