Discount - Ataxia's Alright Tonight (Cover Artwork)


Ataxia's Alright Tonight (1996)

Liquid Meat

Jon Kirby

Good music is subjective, despite a thousand record geeks sputtering protests to the contrary. People have different tastes, and react differently to different stimuli. I'm providing this disclaimer because the review I'm going to offer will probably be quite opinionated.

Discount is one the best bands to come out of the 90s, or at the very least one of the best punk bands. Yet they have none of the incendiary bombast found in seminal groups like Los Crudos or Born Against. Part of it may be that Discount is a pop-punk band - that's right, you heard me. When did pop-punk become such a bad word? It doesn't have to be.

Discount is pure. Riffs that cut and stick to the inside of your skull, perfectly composed songs, and some of the best lyrics and most honest vocals ever caught on tape. Let's not avoid the issue: as important as the other three members are, Alison Mossheart is the soul of this band. Forget any bullshit prejudices you've developed against "girl singers" in bands. With Discount, it's simultaneously insignificant that they have a girl singer, and also the most important thing about them. A classic rock contradiction.

Everything this band recorded is more than worth your hard-earned dollar. This album is a triumph - it lacks the clearer production of some of the later material (not that I oppose a good recording), and that roughness really complements the songs and gives them a lot of charm. And some of their best songs are right here on this little piece of plastic: the inescapably catchy "K.V. T-Shirt", and the absolute pop-punk masterpiece "Lights Out", which is anthemic as fuck and terribly heart-breaking.

Discount's songs are serious. This is music that doesn't wink and smile. It's not ironic or sarcastic. It isn't humorless, but it's not trying to make you laugh. It makes you feel. Discount is so honest that it fucking hurts. They craft 2 minute gems of distortion, melody, and emotion like nobody else before or since. Others may have the same level or craftsmanship and emotional resonance (say Jawbreaker, who are equally vital), but like all great bands, Discount is an entirely unique entity.

This is a fucking ten. Buy it today.