Music News

Soul Asylum

Although long in the shadow of scenemates Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, Soul Asylum ended up being the most commercially successful of the three. Early on, the act was derisively dubbed Hüsker Jr. by certain critics primarily because its early records seemed to imitate Dü's high-trajectory melodic hardcore. But by the time 1988's Hang Time was released, Soul Asylum had crafted a sound that would make the band famous. Singer Dave Pirner's just-shy-of-whiny vocal delivery and insidiously tasteful and catchy guitar riffing earned critical praise and an increasing fan base. With 1992's ubiquitous Grave Dancer's Union, Soul Asylum owned rock radio; anyone within earshot of a boombox back then heard "Runaway Train" and its plaintive yet sincere chorus whether they wanted to or not. After a lengthy hiatus, the band returned in 2006 with Silver Lining, a record that, while unlikely to win over members of the indie cognoscenti, should still appeal to longtime fans.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.