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Various - Dischord 1981: The Year In Seven Inches (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Dischord 1981: The Year In Seven InchesDischord 1981: The Year In Seven Inches (1993)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


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

As the hardcore punk scenes erupted across the country in the early 80's, a few cities would come to distinguish themselves from the rest. And in 1981, Washington, DC, would stake their claim as arguably the best. At the center of it all was Dischord Records putting out records. And what better way .


As the hardcore punk scenes erupted across the country in the early 80's, a few cities would come to distinguish themselves from the rest. And in 1981, Washington, DC, would stake their claim as arguably the best. At the center of it all was Dischord Records putting out records. And what better way to chronicle those early days than release some of the seminal EPs from the hardcore heavyweights onto one, concise album? Not counting bands like Bad Brains, they're all here: Minor Threat, Government Issue, Teen Idles, SOA, Youth Brigade - all pounding out lightning speed punk anthems with an emphasis on the speed. And thus was to define the Washington harDCore sound.

Up first is the Teen Idles's Minor Disturbance EP. The songs are about as fast and unpolished as any other band of the scene. With lyrics like "We're as idle as teens can get!" they lived up to their name, as songs dealt with boredom, disillusionment, and being shut out of clubs for being too young. But as musically minimalist as they were (along with many others), their importance lies in them, along with Bad Brains, jump-starting the scene and setting a precedent of a new, unheard level of aggression and speed. They would also create Dischord Records while bassist/songwriter Ian MacKaye would lay the foundations for the straight edge movement. This was a band that was important on a variety of levels.

Henry Garfield (later known as Henry Rollins) gives you an idea of the psychotic origins of the definitive Black Flag singer in his band State Of Alert in the No Policy EP. And it just about trumps any band on this compilation in its ugliness and assaulting factor, which is an impressive feat considering the names on here. With the longest song clocking in at 1:12, they were much more bleak than the Teen Idles as Henry sings about fighting at shows in "Warzone" and "Gangfight," suicide, and getting harassed by cops. Not much more to say here. These were a bunch of no bullshit, straight up pissed off group of guys led by Henry's low, throat-tearing voice.

Minor Threat comes in twice in this compilation with the self-titled EP and the In My Eyes EP. There isn't much to be said that hasn't already been said. They weren't the first hardcore band, but they were certainly one of the most influential. The oft-misunderstood and oft-maligned straight edge lifestyle championed by Ian MacKaye deals with personal issues such as rejecting the things accepted by society that fuck with your mind and body. Meanwhile, his bandmates would rip through minute-long hardcore classics like "Minor Threat" and "Bottled Violence," which denounces scene violence and the things that promote it. Others like "Filler," "In My Eyes," and "I Don't Wanna Hear It" have been matched by few in their sheer intensity. What separated them from their peers was how seamlessly they blended melody with tight musicianship while playing some of the fastest songs of the early hardcore days. "Take your time! / try not to forget / we never will / we're just a minor threat!" I had to include that somewhere in here.

The highly underrated Government Issue and their Legless Bull EP is up next. Ironically, they would also have the greatest longevity of all the early DC punk bands. The snotty vocals of John Stabb reminds me of a Dead Kennedys-style cynicism and bite in insulting everything from religion to fashion trend whores to Crass. Subtle in their lyrics they were not. While they belted out the speedcore songs with the best of â??em, they also changed up the music a bit, which served as a foreshadowing for later records. There is a bouncy feel in "Rock'n Roll Bullshit" as Stabb mocks, in order: Van Halen, the Ramones, and the Clash. "Sheer Terror" has a creeping, moody feel to it as Stabb sarcastically explains "It irritates you, the way I dress / It bothers you, my hair so short / I do it to annoy you, I confess / I hate you and all your sort" before the song explodes into a hardcore blitz.

The East coast version of Youth Brigade rounds out the compilation with their Possible EP. And they get the award for shortest song with a 3-second blip. Featuring the original singer from Teen Idles, Nathan Strejcek this time around has got a much more powerful, gruff vocal style. And following suit, his band does not fuck around. The chaotic opener "It's About Time That We Had A Change" is fast and mean while "Pay Attention" and "Wrong Decision" get nods for top thrashers on this compilation. My favorite of theirs is "No Song," which rumbles along at a menacing pace as Nathan gives the middle finger to religious factions of all kinds. Youth Brigade was a short lived band, but in their time, they give you another slice of vintage DC hardcore.

Included are the lyrics to all the songs plus a bunch of photos of all the bands. If there ever was a punk compilation that should be considered essential, this is it. Get it.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 1, 2005)

This record is just simply essential.
To me Government Issue is theb est band on this comp.

Anonymous (August 17, 2005)

$9.98 for about 50 furiously fast and heavy tracks from the OG Dischord bands!

And that Government Issue EP--that thing is psychotic and sick as shit can get!

Why don't you have this? Do I have to throw a stapler at you or something?!

Gray Davis
Special Counsel
Loeb & Loeb

Anonymous (March 28, 2005)

This, to me, is what DC hardcore/punk is all about. score for the CD

Anonymous (March 27, 2005)

yeah so i watched, burn to shine, and thought it was ok. The ted leo song was awesome. q and not U was great ( i have never seen them live), bob mould was good, and The Evens were good too. other then that, it was ok.

i heard the same people who did it are coming out with a chicago one. should be interesting.

Anonymous (March 27, 2005)

Yeah, Burn to Shine was a real disappointment. See it on Netflix if you're curious, but I can't imagine buying it. I mean, it's only a half hour of content and some of the bands are lame. It sounded like such a good idea too.

Anonymous (March 27, 2005)

I think there has always been people who hated drugs and what they do to people. Straight Edge just gave it a name

Anonymous (March 27, 2005)

Charles Bronson were kind of like that.

-BSD

BrandonSideleau (March 27, 2005)

One of the many great things about early hardcore bands (like these) is the complete nonexistence of the macho, meatheaded bullshit which would dominate the scene 10 and 20 years later. These guys were just a bunch of angry and, for the most part, very intelligent kids who wanted a way to fuel their discontent....pretty much the exact opposite of what it is now. Even Henry (who has always been well informed and intelligent) was just a skinny little guy in these days, lashing out against the world's bullshit. What happened to bands like these.

Anonymous (March 26, 2005)

Someone needs the review the French Toast cd NOW.

BrandonSideleau (March 26, 2005)

just reviewed it...should hopefully be up Tuesday unless somebody beat me to it. what a great cd (this one and the Evens).

bannedinct (March 26, 2005)

Someone needs to review the Evens cd NOW.

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

Holy fuck what a compilation.

Government Issue were simply amazing for their first few years - the "Boycott Stabb" record that was recently reissued by Reflex Records is a scorcher. A lot of the "legless bull" tracks ended up on that. Killer, Killer band.

-Ken

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

Yeah, you've got to hate to scarves. It really shows up on the recording and all. Moron.

Anyway, don't forget that the new French Toast record (feat. Canty) came out too. It's great stuff, but it doesn't quite top The Evens.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

Burn To Shine was disappointing. Q and not U are good, but the singer is wearing a bunch or scarves and a weird, its really awkward. Ted Leo and the Evens are good, but nothing special. The rest of the bands didn't do anything exciting. The whole thing is just too short. They should've had everyone perform two songs or something, its just lacking.

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

I got the Evens cd the other day. great stuff.

and does anybody own the dvd, Burn to Shine, Wash. DC 1/14/2004?

i cant wait to watch it.

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

hly fuck, its about time this got reviewed

joeg (March 25, 2005)

Cool review but....but I'd like to add something. Not that I'm saying you meant to make it look like this......but Ian MacKaye didn't set the groundwork for the "straight edge" movement. Ian always hated that group mentality shit and denounced the "scene" from the start. The song "Straight Edge" is just his own personal anthem....not some rally cry for a bunch of asshole. And one more thing, the Bad Brains were hardly "musically minimalist", their frenetic riffs and solos make the greatest rock bands of all time tremble. Still, cool review...well written and nice to see someone has ood taste in music. right on

-Yea you're right. Ian was the key figure (which unfortunately whether he liked it or not) in starting the straight edge thing which he had no intention or idea of starting. All the violence and overall bufoonery associated with it was of course nothing he could have forseen or ever supported. I also didn't mean to call bad brains amateurs if you will because they were very talented musicians. I was saying they were at the forefront of taking the whole ramones style punk to a whole fucked up new level. Glad you enjoyed the review.

BrandonSideleau (March 25, 2005)

Cool review but....but I'd like to add something. Not that I'm saying you meant to make it look like this......but Ian MacKaye didn't set the groundwork for the "straight edge" movement. Ian always hated that group mentality shit and denounced the "scene" from the start. The song "Straight Edge" is just his own personal anthem....not some rally cry for a bunch of asshole. And one more thing, the Bad Brains were hardly "musically minimalist", their frenetic riffs and solos make the greatest rock bands of all time tremble. Still, cool review...well written and nice to see someone has ood taste in music. right on.

darkstarm (March 25, 2005)

no apologies. Really really good review!

TheOneTrueBill (March 25, 2005)

There's going to be a GI DVD coming out soon. I can't wait to get my hands on it. check out www.spontaneous.com if you want shirts, records or shit from them.

A friend of mine made me a copy of this three, four years ago. I still can't stop listening to it. I love every song on here.

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

Government Issue's worst stuff... Definitely no good at all... SOA are pretty cool, playing in a way that was actually super unique at their time. Teen Idles can be good for more mid tempo stuff... Minor Threat are simply unbeatable, this is their best stuff, along with their "Flex Your Head" track "Stand Up" (the Wire cover isn't that great)... Youth Brigade just fucked up with this EP. Their demos are awesome.

-BSD

joeg (March 25, 2005)

god damn that ended up being a long review. my bad. i had to review each 7" and was trying to summarize the best i could.

Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

I'd actually recommend the Dischord anniversary collection over this, but it's still worth a listen.

OC

gladimnotemo (March 25, 2005)

Hot damn, this CD is beyond essential. It breaks down as:

1. Government Issue
2. Minor Threat
3. Teen Idles (very close to Minor Threat, though)
4. S.O.A.
5. Youth Brigade

...for me, at least.

xWileyx (March 25, 2005)

Yes sir

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