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Uncle Tupelo Trio: Husker Du & Don't

Mark Jenkins

Washington Post, December 13, 1991

UNCLE TUPELO'S "Still Feel Gone" was recorded at Longview Farm and Fort Apache studios in Massachusetts, strongholds of sloppy-but-sincere post-punk, and sounds it. Yet Uncle Tupelo is from Missouri, and sounds that too. The trio's music pays its respects to Husker Du and other roots-conscious mid-'80s post-hard-core bands -- one song is even named "D. Boon," after the late Minutemen singer/guitarist -- but it's more countrified than most

As indicated by such song titles as "Looking for a Way Out," "Discarded" and "Cold Shoulder" ("to cry on," they explain), the Uncles marry punk gloom and honky-tonk woe. Like a cross between Camus and a guy who can barely balance on his bar stool, hoarse-voiced singers Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy are concerned with falling: "Fall Down Easy" is soon followed by "Watch Me Fall."

"What the hell are we doing here?" the group asks on "True to Life"; the answer, despite Farrar's banjo, mandolin and harmonica, is updating Husker Du. That's such a sufficiently common sloppy-but- sincere post-punk undertaking that "Still Feel Gone" is likely to get a cool shoulder from most potential listeners.

UNCLE TUPELO -- Appearing Saturday with Danny Gatton at the 9:30 club.

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