Review: Dischord 1981: The Year In Seven Inches
In 1993 Dischord Records released this 48 track collection of first wave HarDCore ditties from five bands – four and a half if you consider the Teen Idles the rough draft for Minor Threat. In 1981 I was living in Maryland and attending college, and even then I was older than most of the kids in that scene. It flew under the radar even in DC. They seemed like a tight bunch well organized, and if you wanted to see the bands in person you could drive to Rockville and they’d sell you records at Yesterday & Today Records, the local musician’s workfare program.
Dischord proved that with artistic talent and a few bucks you could put out records and sell them cheaply. Y&T’s Skip Groff showed Ian Mackaye and Jeff Nelson how to do it and the fellers took it from there. Minor Threat led the way and they were by far the tightest and most talented band of the lot.
I have a theory the local scene’s hardcore at the time was the Ramones played at 78 rpm, and under all the fast and furious are actual melodies. I didn’t think that then because it was so loud and fast I thought they’d be lucky just to make it through a song without breaking something internal. Minor Threat hit like a train the same way the Ramones did when they started. My theory doesn’t work so well with Youth Brigade and either Faith or Void (I never knew what side of their split I was listening to), who tended more toward slow metal played fast.
The Teen Idles are average. Neck Rollins fronting S.O.A. are great, sometimes steaming along like D.R.I.. Minor Threat rule. Government Issue were great early on even though the vocals suffer from sameness and also sounding like a dog barking. Youth Brigade were also great even though they were heavier than I like.