Sweet New Arrivals: Classic DC Punk Rock

Hey everyone! Happy thanksgiving/corporate-sponsored-culturally-dubious-gluttony-holiday! Tomorrow we’ll all be going home to our families or roommates’ families, stuffing our faces, and taking a moment to reflect on all we are thankful for.

We here at the music library are very thankful for our Sweet New Arrivals this week- five CDs of classic DC punk and indie rock! Most of these new additions are related to the legendary Dischord Records, a label that has come to embody DC’s biggest moment in rock history and has served as inspiration for countless musicians and music fans since.


First off is the mother lode: 20 Years of Dischord. This is a 3 CD box set retrospective of, yes, the label’s first 20 years (1980-2000). It contains 73 songs, 21 of which are previously unreleased songs, demos, live versions, and alternate versions. It also comes with a 134-page book full of pictures and write-ups of each major Dischord release. This is a comprehensive introduction to the label and the scene that birthed it.


        13 Essential D.C. Hardcore Albums

These two albums are crucial Dischord releases from the label’s heyday in the early ’80s. The 1982 Void/The Faith album (left) is a back-to-back split by two of the earliest hardcore bands in DC, a collection of intense punk. Meanwhile,  Rites of Spring’s self-titled 1985 album (right) is considered an essential document in the punk subgenres of post-hardcore and emo. Composed of past members of the Faith and future members of Fugazi, Rites of Spring applied the fierce energy and shouted vocals of punk with emotional lyrics and almost pretty guitar lines.


Next is an album by Ian Mackaye’s band the Evens. For those who don’t know, Ian Mackaye is a founding member of Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Dischord Records itself. The Evens are his latest project, a collaboration in which he plays baritone guitar and his wife Amy Farina (formerly of the Warmers) plays drum. The Odds (2012) is their most recent release.


Last is the most important indie rock album to come out of DC: The Dismemberment Plan’s Emergency & I (1999). In fact, the Dismemberment Plan are probably the only important indie rock band to come out of DC (so far). This, their third album, is widely considered their masterpiece, an angular blend of post-punk, art-rock and math rock. It was produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox, another sweet DC band. About to throw this baby on the stereo!

Happy thanksgiving, everybody!