The Washington, D.C. hardcore scene is one of America’s oldest and most important. Dischord Records — the legendary label that repped Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Teen Idles — has now digitized D.C.’s most seminal sounds.
Back in 2013, Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art opened an exhibition titled Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s — an archeological goldmine of relics from the capital city's long-lost outlaw days. The show's most unbelievable treasures were unearthed from what's perhaps D.C.'s most important subculture ever: its vibrant hardcore punk scene, championed by seminal label Dischord Records (founded by Minor Threat members Jeff Nelson and Ian MacKaye). As an undergrad studying in D.C. at the time, I was able to view original handwritten lyrics to Minor Threat's "Straight Edge," the Cramps-button-spangled jacket Alec MacKaye wore in the Teen Idles' Prior Disturbance cover shoot, and early sketches Cynthia Connolly drew of the sheep on Minor Threat's iconic Out of Step album cover (one of which was spraypainted on a teenage Ian's skateboard, also included in the exhibition).
Now, Dischord is gifting the rest of the world with more DIY treasures from its storied past: the label has uploaded its entire archive to Bandcamp.
Yes, every artist on the Dischord roster is now represented on its Bandcamp page, meaning that listeners can dive into the historic D.C. punk scene without needing an Apple Music or Spotify subscription (it's also worth noting that since launching in 2008, Bandcamp has distributed over $100 million in revenues to independent artists — much higher royalties than these streaming giants).
Considering how infuriating this circus of an election is shaping up to be, an extensive catalogue of blistering political punk anthems really couldn't have arrived at a better time. If Trump has got you feelin' some typa way, the anarchic radical outfit Nation of Ulysses is probably a cathartic place for you to start. Other Dischord digital highlights include Minor Threat's first ever demo tape, girl punk trio Slant 6's Inzombia, and unreleased State of Alert tunes — recorded before Henry Rollins came on board, when he was still assistant managing a Georgetown Haagen Dazs.
Dive into the entire Dischord archive here.
Text Emily Manning
Image via Flickr Creative Commons