20 Years of Dischord
Dischord Records, 2002.
I have been struggling with this review for a while. After trying to arrive at a less predictable introduction for two months I gave up and opted for the truth. At age 13 Minor Threat changed my life. I had been deeply entranced with heavy metal, and (how embarrassing) U2 up to that point and was blown away by Ian MacKaye's powerful barrage of teenage angst and prophetic salvos about clean living and the social change. From Minor Threat I was sucked into the rest of the Dischord Records catalog and immersed myself in the world that emanates from 3819 Beecher Street.
How predictable and cliché, I know, but it's the truth.
Seventeen years later, I still enjoy Fugazi, Jawbox, Lungfish, Shudder To Think, The Make Up, Q and Not U, and pretty much all of the other bands Dischord has pumped out in that time. For fans like myself, the new 20th anniversary compilation, entitled 20 years of Dischord, is what the Rapture (the event not the band) would be to Ned Flanders of The Simpsons.
Spanning 20 years (the
comp was due out in 2000, but was held up in post-production), I found myself
surrounded by old friends, while bumping into new acquaintances, as I listened
to the 73 songs in the 3 CD set. The selection of tracks illustrates the diversity
in both style and message that are one of the finer points of the Dischord
label. Take for example the droning motorcade of philosophy that is Lungfish,
rubbing shoulders with the jagged poetics of Jawbox.
Or the poppy punk sounds of Slant6 colliding with the angry, twisted guitars of Youth Brigade. No matter what mood you might be in, Dischord has the dish for your musical appetite, just count on getting a heavy dose of morality and social politics with your meal.
As if 3 CDs weren't enough, there is a beautifully designed booklet that gives a succinct, but thorough documentation of the label's history, philosophy, and culture. I found this to be an excellent accompaniment to the music and sifted through the histories and bios of the bands that have made the label one of the strongest, most well respected record companies in the history of the industry.
But it doesn't stop there.
The compilation also includes
some mpegs of shows by The Teen Idles, Untouchables, SOA, Faith, Void, and
Deadline. The image quality is poor, and the action hard to follow, making it difficult to watch more than once. Nevertheless,
you have to hand it to the folks at Dischord for giving you your moneys worth.
You see, at $18.00, this is the hottest comp to hit the streets in 22 years,
and if you haven't heard any of the bands on the label, now would be the time.