Unrest – Imperial f.f.r.r.
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006
There's a history to DC's Unrest and frontman Mark Robinson that I should really investigate, but haven't. Honestly, I picked this one up based on word of mouth and to savor that all important feeling you get from buying something you haven't heard (and subsequently thinking it is excellent). It's rare these days, but I don't think I had heard this when I impulsively bought it. I knew that the two people whose tastes I respected the most thought it was one of the greatest records of all time, and I snatched it up. I have a hard time describing the particular jangle of the guitars on this record, because the only bands that have that sound seem to be bands that come after Unrest (see: Uncle Wiggly, who were on Unrest's own Teen Beat label!). There's something almost avant-garde about these guitars, despite the fact that this is an incredible pop record. Catchy, upbeat and with a fresh coat of C-86 run through the ringer. It's where the colors start to blend together. It's strange how post-hardcore and post-punk out of DC involves incredibly intricate guitars. There's a precision in that scene that's absent from a lot of the rest. For instance, last night I noted that local dudes Muscle Worship have a lot of DC influence and now I'm realizing that bands I cited as influences (Dismemberment Plan, Q and Not U) have some stake in Unrest.
Despite all this avant-garde leaning shit, my favorite track on the record is the simple, gorgeous ballad “Isabel.” It starts of side two, and gets me every time. Something about the melody that just makes me melt a little bit and automatically note that I should put it on a mix at some point. Though I prefer tunes like “Cath Carroll” and “Make Out Club,” as an album this is just outstanding. This is a record that serves as a fuck you to people who think indie-pop can't be artful and as profoundly good as “more serious” music. Fuck those fuckers, this is the motherfucking jam.
Here's the video for "Make Out Club," not because it's on this record, just because it's fucking great:
And here's the standout, "I Do Believe You Are Blushing":