Tuesday, March 08, 2005

D, V

Discount- Singles #1
Discount- Singles #2


There’s a decent amount of repetition involved in reviewing records, certain instances that recur. Take, for example, greatest hits albums- look back at the Devo review I did the other day. All you need to do is plug in a band name and a few song titles and any greatest hits album in your collection more or less syncs with what I wrote.

Singles collection? Same thing but different. The ones that are laid out in chronological order chart artistic/musical progress as the band grew into themselves and each other, then there’s a period where things are solid to awesome (especially if the band broke up suddenly.)

I don’t want Discount’s singles output to fall into the same category, but clichés recur because they’re true. It should come as no surprise, then, that the early Discount singles are, in a lot of instances, pretty cookie cutter- there are hints of the jagged explosiveness that would mark the band’s later stuff, but there are also obvious stylistic swipes from other bands (there’s a few, f’r example, that sound a whole lot like Crimpshrine.)

By the end of the first disc, the band begins to hit their stride. The second disc is the one that still gets pulled out- a lot of stuff recorded between ‘Half Fiction’ and ‘Crash Diagnostic.’ Breakouts from the formulaic structure of pop-punk that manage still to be insanely poppy and catchy, if that makes any sense- songs that would fit on either album.
For me, the transformation from pop-punk band to just band was a one-shot deal: like I mentioned earlier, I saw them after a year layoff and they had completely changed their sound. The singles chart the progression, show that the change was incremental.

Another odds n’ ends cliché: the demo versions of the ‘Diagnostic’ stuff sound okay but show the growth that occurred before the end results of the better produced, fleshed out album versions.

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