VARIOUS ARTISTS: Twenty Years of Dischord: 3 X CD

Like the bachelorette said to the male stripper, “My goodness, what an attractive package.” It’s a three CD set, it’s got seventy-three songs, and a 134 page booklet chock full of one of-a-kind pictures. The booklet’s cover has two pictures of Ian Mac Kaye and Jeff Nelson (Dischord’s two owners) in the exact pose in the same home office, but twenty years apart. (Also, if you look really close, the case box has a ghost image of the Dischord logo on it.) I’d be a king liar if I didn’t go directly to disc three, which had twenty-one unreleased tracks by such defining, never-to-be-topped-at-their-own-game bands as The Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Void, Scream, and Faith. It truly is unbelievable how great this stuff sounds, two decades down, and there’s new surprises. I’d never even heard of The Rozzlyn Rangers before, whose track is really fun. This disc is not only a document of WashingtonDC’s hardcore roots, but a great checking of the national pulse at the time as well. Disc One has material previously released – and, unless you’re a total collector kook looking for the Minor Threat 7″ with the misspelling of Gary Cousins’ name on it – Dischord has been kindly enough to keep their entire catalog in print, readily available, and exceedingly fairly priced. But, since they’ve been so busy, keeping a constant release schedule, this is a great way to double check if there aren’t any bands that have slipped under your radar. I think I’m liking Rites of Spring more now than I ever had. At the end of Disc One and into Disc Two, there’s a shift away from hardcore and bands I’m prone to like more, into the more atmospheric, opened up, less meat-head-attracting sounds Dischord has been known for for the last several years, with standout tracks from Fugazi, Jawbox, The Nation of Ulysses, Autoclave, and Slant Six. A DIY best case scenario. It’s stuff like this that makes listening to music so worth while. Someone’s been doing it so right for so long. That’s inspiring in and of itself.

 –todd (Dischord)