Guitar bands never answer the great questions of existence, but for fleeting moments, the best ones might get you through the night or give you reasons to believe. By now, any rocker whose needle isn't permanently stuck on 1967 or 1977 should know about Husker Du. This flame-throwing and flame-keeping trio of Minneapolis sound-and-fury sculptors has made a remarkably prolific, rewarding career out of crawling through wreckage and turning garbage into gold. Although this year's encyclopedic Warehouse album is too melodic for hard-core head bangers and too cerebral for MTV airheads, it's powerful proof that the toughest top-flight songsmiths around may also be the most compassionate bunch of cynics. If the Huskers never stop looking for light through the darkness, New York's sinister Sonic Youth never stop trying to turn darkness into performance art. Bursting out of the sort of smarty-pants ghetto where you hear words like "postmodernism" more often than you see cheeseburgers, the band has finally moved beyond its earlier horror-comic cartoon imagery and aimless digressions. Sonic Youth's latest and best release, Sister, is a dense forest of noise collages that keeps erupting into haunting, evocative songs. Tonight, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 5706 S. University; 706-7300 (Husker Du). Saturday, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449 (Husker Du). Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203 (Sonic Youth).
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Monica Dee.