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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Dischord Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

October 1, 2004
It's been an interesting year for Dischord, to put it quite plainly. To begin, they released three LPs that were exponentially better than they had any right to be - Beauty Pill's long-awaited debut full-length, Black Eyes' Zorn-y swan song, and Q and Not U's startlingly mature Power . As icing on the proverbial cake, they also finally disseminated that "lost" Warmers EP, reminding the indie rock listening populace that Fugazi, Jawbox, and The Dismemberment Plan weren't DC's only notable purveyors of brainy post-punk during the Clinton years.

And now, as the year two double-aught four draws to a close, they release what should be the great-granddaddy of all things jarring and jittery: the debut EP from Medications, a band anchored by two members of the all-too-short-lived Faraquet, who, if you will recall, kicked quite a bit of ass during their heyday.

Just as I honestly didn't expect Q and Not U to make the sort of record that I will eagerly pass down to my children someday, I didn't expect anything that Devin Ocampo and Chad Molter put their brains together to create to be anything short of spectacular… and, if you, astute reader, noticed the six out of ten rating in this review's header, then you know that Medications falls quite short of spectacular.

So how did these DC vets drop the ball? Well, they certainly didn't do it by way of misguided experimentation or spewing out a set of wimpy three-chorders about chicks and parties and low self-esteem. If anything, it would be easy to fault the players for not changing enough, for the problem with these five songs is that they're just too damn reactionary.

DC has fallen prey to the cowboys and warmongers, and punk rock has been usurped by shitty nü-emo bands whose idea of a dynamic live show is vomiting on the underage girls in the front row. Therefore, we should combat that by locking ourselves in a garage, shutting our eyes really, really tight, and kicking it like it's 1996 all over again, right? Iraqi Freedom and Bleed American never happened if we just hide behind our linchpin angular geetars and math for math's sake rhythms, and if we keep our eyes closed long enough, we'll also forget that scores of other bands have used, abused, outgrown, and run right into the fucking ground this exact template over the last decade. Bluetip, Schmluetip.

While they're heads and shoulders above zillions of other Red Medicine-lite math rock contenders in terms of sheer competency, Medications still try their hardest to make you struggle to actually enjoy them. Open seas of melody cave in to numbing stop/starts, chugging rock furor implodes in to a vacuous temper tantrum, and cogent sniper attacks unfold in to trying messes of disjointed parts. They forget that this is still punk rock that they're playing. We should feel bruised and bloodied as the songs end - not haggard and impatient. In their efforts to intellectualize a weathered aesthetic, the men of Medications have lost sight of what they did so well as Faraquet.

Not everyone will feel this way about this EP, of course. Seventeen year-old males with black-rimmed glasses, lots of free time, and gigantic man-crushes on Steve Albini and Damon Che will have their minds blown. Everyone else will just feel significantly underwhelmed.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan



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