Punknews.org
Gray Matter - Food For Thought / Take It Back (Cover Artwork)

Gray Matter

Gray Matter: Food For Thought / Take It BackFood For Thought / Take It Back (1990)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: fistchodefistchode
(others by this writer | submit your own)

When I talk to people about Dischord bands (which isn't a regular occurrence), or more specifically Dischord bands in the mid-80's, Gray Matter never seems to get mentioned. This is a shame as they are a great band, and this CD (a compilation of 1985's Food For Thought LP and 1986's Take It Back EP,.
Amazon


When I talk to people about Dischord bands (which isn't a regular occurrence), or more specifically Dischord bands in the mid-80's, Gray Matter never seems to get mentioned. This is a shame as they are a great band, and this CD (a compilation of 1985's Food For Thought LP and 1986's Take It Back EP, plus a few bonus tracks) is amazing.

It really feels like two different discs in one. So I'll review Food For Thought, and Take It Back individually.

The songs from Food For Thought (1-10) are excellent. I find the songs incredibly catchy, and the lyrics easy to relate to. Lines like "I kind of hate your guys, but I wanna have friends, I wanna feel good even if you pretend", "never worried 'bout pretending, never worried 'bout offending", "I'm afraid of getting hurt, and of walking through the dirt" and "and if I cry and want attention, realize it's just pretension" rock my world. Central themes involve coffee, cigarettes, growing up, feeling bored, feeling sheltered, and so forth. Reading the lyrics, it may seem like they're complaining like modern emo bands do oh so well, but they're not. They're merely stating- like a little kid- how it is. They're honest lyrics about things people can relate to, but never come out and say (do you tell your friends you really don't like them, but because you're incredibly fucking bored you hang out with them?). Great catchy music from the DC hardcore scene, or post hardcore scene. Emotional post-hardcore? Emo perhaps? Fuck I hate labels.

After Food For Thought ends (with a Beatle's cover of "I am the Walrus"), the sound totally changes into a harder, less refined, distorted sound. Singing is replaced by spastic screaming or calmer singing (focused, angry, and reflective, like after you settle down from an outburst) and again the lyrics fucking rule. Some examples of lines here are "kill confusion by killing options, burning bridges to stay warm," or "and I don't want identity, all I wants consistency!". Golden. For people out there that love labelling music, this is... noise rock, or 80's alternative, or Rites of Spring-esque post hardcore. Although Gray Matter's (I don't know who sings what, the booklet mentions two vocalists) sound more like a little kid having a temper tantrum here, and less like Guy's "every word I say I say out of complete desperation as if I could fucking collapse at any second" scream.

It's an amazing CD. I like it better than Embrace's effort, and just as much as Rites of Spring's. Criticize my review all you want, just download some songs, and see for yourself.

I didn't give it a ten only for the reason that it's not one of my all-time favourite albums. I love it, and every song is great, but it didn't change the way I see everything, or hear music or anything like that.

Oh, and I constantly fucking break it down to this CD in my room, so it's danceable in the spasmodic seizure sort of way, especially Take It Back.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Hot Water Music - No DivisionDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RBig Boys - Lullabies Help the Brain GrowCock Sparrer - Shock TroopsJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyDead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery DisastersAgent Orange - Living In DarknessAdolescents - AdolescentsFucked Up - Hidden WorldRamones - Rocket to Russia

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 10, 2005)

i dont know why more punk bands are like this.......The album is frickin awsome.

rkl (June 23, 2005)

i know im a little late in the game, but to say that the refused sound nothing like born against is utter ignorance. they had albums before the shape of punk to come, most notably songs to fan the flames of discontent, in which one can hear a major ba influence.

Anonymous (May 28, 2005)

This band's truely amazing. I find their lyrics to kick ass as well as they're music. i love eveything about Gray Matter.. they rock.

lushj (October 12, 2004)

This score is for the full-length on this cd. Gray Matter was a great Dischord band that was overshadowed by the Ian MacKaye bands. They did a tour in the early 90s that introduced me to them, and they kicked some butt live!

Really really good melodic punk, with a weird pronounciation of "vivarin" in that cool tune about speedy substances...

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

"they definitely borrow from their asthetic, but not their sound at all. though NOU was very tongue in cheek while refused were dead serious. the international noise conspiracy, however, rip off the make-up like there's no tomorrow."

yes, aesthetically speaking of course. good call with the Make Up and TINC too. i've been thinking of writing a thesis on Dennis Lyxzen's unnatrual preoccupation with Ian Svenonious' career.

"Refused didn't just steal from NOU, they ripped off Born Against pretty shamelessly too."

see, i've heard that before but cannot see it at all. they don't sound or look anything like Born Against.

Anonymous (October 10, 2004)

"I'm afraid of getting hurt, and of walking through the dirt".

Did this band employ a 7 year old with a copy of 'My First Rhyming Dictionary' to write their lyrics for them?

Anonymous (October 9, 2004)

"Why all this praise for Dischord? The only label that embodies the spirit of independent music is Drive Thru.
Why listen to crap like this when great bands like Allister & Homegrown are there for the taking?"

Good one. Without a doubt, Homegrown inspired the late-great scene of the "summer of '85", in DC. They, single-handed, slayed pop-radio in the very same year. Truly are truly "MAN" amoung "men".

-ObeyYourParents

Anonymous (October 8, 2004)

Why all this praise for Dischord? The only label that embodies the spirit of independent music is Drive Thru.
Why listen to crap like this when great bands like Allister & Homegrown are there for the taking?

Anonymous (October 8, 2004)

"also, i'll throw this out for discussion: Refused shamelessly ripped of NOU's style."

they definitely borrow from their asthetic, but not their sound at all. though NOU was very tongue in cheek while refused were dead serious. the international noise conspiracy, however, rip off the make-up like there's no tomorrow.

Anonymous (October 7, 2004)

Refused didn't just steal from NOU, they ripped off Born Against pretty shamelessly too.

Anonymous (October 7, 2004)

yes. i love gray matter. i'm surprised nobody here has compared them to dag nasty yet.

Anonymous (October 6, 2004)

I bought "Join Us." It's growing on me. I like "-F" and "Yellow Light" lots, but the rest sounds like pretty formulaic Jawbox-influenced post-rock with emo influences. But since it's on Dischord it can't get lower than an 8.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (October 6, 2004)

bluetip. discuss.

Anonymous (October 6, 2004)

First Void/Faith, now this...

Fuck yeah. Those Dischord bands were fucking one of a kind, it's good to see them making a comeback (if only on this site!)

Go Gray Matter.

Anonymous (October 6, 2004)

These chaps were, without a doubt, an excellent band.

As for the NOU. I dig all their recorded material, but I'd have to say "Plays Pretty for Baby" edges out "13-Point-Program..." by a hair. It definitely flows better, and is a bit more refined. But "13-Point-Program..." has most of my all-time favourite NOU tunes.

-ObeyYourParents

Anonymous (October 6, 2004)

nah, "plays pretty for baby" is much better. more refined, but just as vicious. Nation of Ulysses are probably my favorite dischord band, behind fugazi, which says a lot. also, i'll throw this out for discussion: Refused shamelessly ripped of NOU's style.

anyway, on a totally unrelated note, this score is for the new Wolf Eyes album. best noise-rock since Swans' Children of God. no joke.

FortyMinutesWest (October 6, 2004)

This is really great, highly recommended.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

I was just thinking the other day when I read the Void review that someone should review this... apart from Fugazi, I would argue that this is the best band on Dischord. A lot of people would disagree, but seriously, Gray Matter is THATfucking good. Best songs: "Burn No Bridges", "Second Guess", "Give Me a Clue", both of their Beatles covers ("I've Just Seen a Face" and "I Am the Eggman"), and wow... just about everything.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

Score is for breaking it the fuck down in your room. *lol*

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

No.

13 point program is tops. "Miss Washington DC" is one of my all time favorite punk tunes.

OC

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

am i the only person that likes 13 point program... better than plays pretty for baby?

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

Speaking of great old Dischord... Nation of Ulysses anyone?

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

i kinda want to go this, being a dischord junkie and all. this review might have pushed me over the top into putting it on my "to get" list.

though i personally would take embrace over rites of spring.

ZDP (October 5, 2004)

Call me a loser or whatever, but it wasn't until I saw the Flip video "Sorry" that I heard about this band. But I totally agree with the reviewer here, this album is gold.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

Great album....this isn't "emo"...or atleast it isnt what people call emo these days.

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go