Now if anyone deserves a tribute album, Jawbox would be at
the top of my list of nominees. But once you decide to make said album
you have to tread carefully in that you want to honor the spirit of
the band without using them as a platform for your own notoriety.
And then one up on that thought when it comes to the actual covers
of the songs, you have to walk a fine line between the two extremes
of reproducing the material word for word or, on the other side of
the fence, performing the song altered beyond the face of recognition,
thus spurning all those die-hard fans such as myself.
So, did they succeed? Hell yes!
Before I continue though, let me get my one nit out of the way so
I can focus on all of the good things about this album: couldn't you
get some bigger name artists to be a part of this? Not that any of
these bands doesn't deserve to be on here, its just I would have thought
there would have been at least a few "known" artists who
would have wanted to be a part of this. Well, whatever, moving on.
What impressed me about this album was the nice variance between
the original material and the covers, some aim to emulate, others
to recreate in a different image, but all kept the heart and soul
of Jawbox without desecrating it in the least. Another thing I highly
enjoyed were the choices of songs throughout the career of Jawbox;
not one album was favored in the compilation. I feared that the first
two of Jawbox's albums would go by the wayside since they were on
Dischord Records, before they jumped to Atlantic Records to push the
big time. I was certainly surprised that "Savory", their
only mainstream single, wasn't covered here, although at the same
time I applaud the conscience or unconscious omittance of that song
as a poke at feelings that a lot of people felt when Jawbox left Dischord.
All songs show how far and wide an impression this amazing band made
on the music scene during its brief tenure, but I would like to point
out a few for special recognition. Black Cross's version of
"Tools And Chrome" couldn't have done a better job of capturing
the energy of one of my favorite songs, grabbing that edge that sound-wise
was present on the early Dischord releases. Along the same lines Ourselves
adds a level of panache' to "Breathe" that was refreshing
to listen to. And in the vein of originality I have to give props
to The Actual for their take on "Static", inspired
yet different enough from the original to mark their own particular
stamp on it.
So it goes without saying that if you are any sort of Jawbox fan
you need this album, and as a plus the makers of the record are
trying to hold to the ideals of the D.C. scene by donating $2 to
the Lupus Foundation of America for every CD sold. So what more
do you need, Jawbox, good covers and your philanthropy for the year
all rapped in one.
1. "Cooling Card"-Retisonic
2. "68"-Pilot To Gunner
3. "U-Trau"-Riddle Of Steel
4. "Tools and Chrome"-Black Cross
5. "Green Glass"-The Life And Times
6. "Empire Of One"-Great Lakes Wrecks
7. "Static"-The Actual
11. "Cutoff"-Red Animal War
13. "Consolation Prize"-Fate Heroic
14. "Whitney Walks"-Heros Severum
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