Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Band Of The Week: Jawbreaker

I was contemplating giving Red City Radio another week of being the Band Of The Week, due to their new album coming out yesterday (and it's GOOD, expect a review soon). But that's not really fair to all the other bands in the world. So instead, I chose a band I've been re-listening to a lot lately that deserves more recognition: Jawbreaker.

Jawbreaker was a highly influential punk band that formed in the mid-80's and lasted about a decade (Wikipedia says 1986-1996), at which point frontman Blake Schwarzenbach formed the also influential Jets To Brazil. Jawbreaker played an agressive, rough form of pop punk that helped pave the way for some of my favorite newer artists, such as The Menzingers and Dan Padilla. In the years they existed they put out 4 albums, Unfun (Shredder Records, 1990), Bivouac (1992, Tupelo/Communion Records), fan-favorite 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (1994, Tupelo/Communion Records) and Dear You (1995, DGC Records), which was a pretty good record but most fans hated the slick production as well as the cleaned-up vocal style.

Jawbreaker have been credited as being one of the bigger influences of the 90's emo revival. Schwarzenbach's heart-on-his-sleeve, confessional lyrical style drew in teenage listeners who heard their own thoughts and emotions in the songs. For example, "Want" from Unfun is a love song that strips away all romantic notions of teenage lust, with Schwarzenbach saying not "I love you" but simply "I want you." Or the non-album single "Kiss The Bottle," long held by fans as one of their best songs. The song romanticizes a drunk who would rather spend time at the liquor store than a lover in need of support.

Despite it's lack of popularity, I would recommend checking out Dear You. Also check out "Want," "Boxcar" from 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (which contains my favorite line Schwarzenbach ever recorded: "You're not punk, and I'm telling everyone") and "Kiss The Bottle." There's also a pretty good tribute album titled Bad Scene Everyone's Fault (named from a track on Dear You), and Lucero do a really good cover of "Kiss The Bottle."

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