Friday, January 21, 2005

State of The Union

Given all of the attention focused on Washington DC this week with the inaugaration, etc. it seemed like the right time to take a look at an often overlooked compilation: Dischord Record's State of The Union LP. Released in 1989, the comp was designed as a benefit for a local DC shelter. A side by side listen with the previous Dischord DC comp, 1982's Flex Your Head, shows the dynamic growth and change in the DC sound over the course of just a couple of years. A handful of the musicians who participated in Flex Your Head era bands are back in different form for State of The Union. The music here is more "mature" and diverse, (i.e. slower and more melodic) and that isn't meant as a knock. Here's some standouts:

Ignition - Anger Means.mp3
This is Ignition at their best. A different version of this appeared on an earlier 7", but this is a better version (both are on the Complete Services CD) Jim at Vinyl Mine had an earlier post on Ignition that is worth a read.

Kingface - Dirty Wings.mp3
And speaking of Vinyl Mine, there was a post on Kingface just this week. Check it out while you can. This is a creeping sonic blast with raspy vocals. One of their best.

Rain - Worlds At War.mp3
Solid melodic post-hardcore recorded in 1986. I never knew a thing about this band, and the only real info that I can find is from Flex! Was this another Ian Mackaye project?

3 - Swann Street.mp3
3 were essentially 3/4 of Gray Matter with Jeff Nelson on drums. This is a different version of "Swann Street" than on their mighty Dark Days Coming LP. Geoff Turner's big vocals make this mostly acoustic cut a gem.

One Last Wish - Burning in The Undertow.mp3
OLW were a short-lived 1986 project featuring an post-Rites of Spring and pre-Fugazi Guy Picciotto on vocals. If you like either of those bands then you'll dig this. A posthumous CD was released on Dischord in 1999.

Shudder To Think - Let It Ring.mp3
I remember really hating Shudder to Think many years ago, mostly on account of the "vocal stylings" of Craig Wedren. Surprisingly, this cut sounded really good to my ears - a shimmering Husker Du circa Metal Circus guitar sound and relatively tame vocals.

I guess that's enough. Also included are solid cuts from Christ on A Crutch, Soulside, Fugazi, Thorns, and Fire Party.

Buy Stuff!
Various Artists - State of The Union
Various Artists - Flex Your Head
Ignition - Complete Services
One Last Wish - 1986
3 - Dark Days Coming