The Lawrence Arms – Apathy and Exhaustion
Fat Wreck Chords,
Acquired: Fatwreckchords.com, New, 2003
OK, when I said Lagwagon was the best Fat Wreck band I lied. Of the era when Fat Wreck was in its prime, they were the best. The best vintage Fat band, but overall, man, I think the Lawrence Arms are where it's at. They were literary and at the same time they were drunks, and I connected with this a lot, even though I was straight edge all during high school. I think that's why I still loved them in college, though. I would daydream about being in a band like this. There was the brash, snotty gruff voiced delivery of Brendan Kelly, who's “Porno & Snuff Films” is what immediately hooked me into the band (this was during the height of my girlfriendless porning days). Then there was Chris MacCaughan, who's voice was smooth and lovely and sang about relationships and stuff (“Your Gravest Words” is still one of my staple unrequited love songs). There was just a lot of variety, especially for a Fat Wreck band and I liked that, and I still like that. I don't know why I wrote most of this in the past tense, because they're still together. Man, this band is so good. Listening to this doesn't bring me back to the old days because it's still incredibly relevant. While some bands here strive to achieve a “midwestern sound,” which I think is pretty lame, Chicago bands have always been kind of different. Some of them bought into that “midwestern sound” vibe, but it was offset by the Minneapolis sound and ultimately, the music there was grittier and better, yet at the same time kind of midwestern but not by choice. Anyway, that's another story. This is on clear green vinyl and I will never ever sell it.