this brilliant flowchart breaks down dischord records' legendary punk archive

Last month, the seminal punk label uploaded its entire discography to Bandcamp. If you’re eager to dive into Dischord's discography but not sure where to start, a new chart breaks down four decades of the hugely influential tunes.

by Emily Manning
12 August 2016, 4:40pm

Over the past four decades, cities across America have developed their own distinctive hardcore punk scenes and sounds; among the most influential is Washington, D.C.'s vibrant subcultural community, anchored by Dischord Records. Founded by Jeff Nelson and D.C.'s hometown punk hero Ian MacKaye in 1980, Dischord began as a way to self-release and distribute 7-inch records by Teen Idles (the pair's project before they established Minor Threat). Later, it transformed into a hub for the D.C. DIY scene, and today is considered one of the world's most important punk rock labels.

Last month, Dischord uploaded its entire archive to BandCamp, making hundreds of vastly influential tunes available digitally for a great price (Minor Threat's iconic album Out of Step is just $5) on an independent platform that pays fair royalties to underground artists. If you're eager to dive in but don't quite know where to start — nearly 40 years of music can be intimidating! — Washington City Paper is here to help.

The D.C. weekly enlisted its Art Director, Stephanie Rudig, to illustrate a handy flowchart breaking down Dischord's discography. The chart doesn't include every artist on Dischord's roster, but is definitely a wonderful jumping off point.

The chart begins with the absolute basics for any Dischord newcomer: Fugazi, Minor Threat, and Rites of Spring — the short-lived experimental punk outfit considered the forebearer of emo (though its members reject the association). It then considers the various flavors of punk, and makes recommendations based on reader preference. For searing political anarchism, try Nation of Ulysses. For a garage-y inflection, give girl trio Slant 6 a spin. Anyone who takes their punk with a hearty helping of pop or weirdness will find more specific recommendations based on intersecting subgenres, like pop-punk, indie-pop, or even glam grooves.

In addition to being a helpful resource, the chart demonstrates the diversity and artistry contained within the punk movement. Though it pre-dated Dischord, Bad Brains — the D.C. quartet considered the first ever hardcore punk band — began its life as a jazz fusion outfit and went on to incorporate reggae influences within its uptempo tunes. The group's cross-genre explosion wielded a massive influence on the Dischord generation. By opening up its vast archive digitally, who knows how Dischord will continue to influence a new guard of youth? 

Related: Iconic punk label Dischord Records just uploaded its entire archive to BandCamp


Text Emily Manning
Image via Flickr Creative Commons 

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