M.I.A.: Notes from the Underground / After the Fact: 2 x LP

Nov 20, 2023

There was a time when most bands couldn’t touch M.I.A. From their first release, a split with a band called Genocide, through their first solo flight, the indispensable Murder in a Foreign Place, they meted out a barrage of hardcore that was fast, tight as nails, melodic, and infectious as hell. With their second release, Notes from the Underground, they slowed things down a tad and their final album, After the Fact, saw them kicking things firmly into mid-gear and doing a deep dive into exploring the assorted corners of the musical parameters they’d set for themselves from their outset. My recollection of that period was that they caught a lot of flak for those last two records—as hardcore got more myopic and puritanical as a “scene,” most of the bands that had pioneered the genre continued to push ever outward at what was rapidly becoming a cage—and, listening to them again decades later reinforces the view that the flak was largely unwarranted. Sure, the tempos shifted and, in the case of After the Fact, the notorious “’80s production” sound reared its head, but the music itself across both discs was still very much rooted in punk and just as flat-out great as ever. This particular reissue is especially gorgeous—both have been remastered, Notes… has a silkscreened cover, After… has a die cut cover, there are inserts for both and there’s also a large booklet with photos, flyer reproductions, and guitarist Nick’s reflections on the band’s original tenure in the underground—and is clearly a labor of love. Most importantly, this is fucking affordable, with this two-LP package priced at what most single LPs go for these days, in stark contrast with similar double-LP reissues from other bands of the same era clocking in at a hefty eighty dollars. Whether you already have copies or don’t, this is very much worth picking up. –Jimmy Alvarado (Modern City)

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