In an era of digital immortality, where news articles, blog posts, Facebook accounts, and even IM conversations last forever (long after they’ve been “deleted”) in an incomprehensible, almost mythical online-cloud, it’s hard to conceive of an album ever going “out-of-print.” But once upon a time (not so long ago) when owning a record meant having something you could actually hold in your hand, caress, scratch, or destroy by throwing it out your window in a fit of rage, The Unanimous Hour, Lungfish’s eighth album, did go out-of-print. Now, Dischord Records (the highly-regarded D.C. record label founded in the 1980’s by Fugazi’s even-more-highly-regarded Ian MacKaye) has remastered and re-released the album that was originally recorded in 1999.
When Lungfish rolls, they roll deep. They’re one of the only non-D.C. artists that Dischord has been loyally and repeatedly committed to over the years, Ian MacKaye has been known to personally guide their recording sessions, they’ve had songs covered by Joan Jett, and almost anywhere you go you’ll find a still-devoted cult of Lungfish listeners despite the fact that the band has essentially been defunct since 2005 (after recording no less than 11 albums).
To love punk and hardcore, and not love Lungfish is like loving to eat, and not loving pizza. While, it’s not impossible to break down The Unanimous Hour, and find its bass-lines repetitive and zestless (like marinara from a jar), or wince as the strained, monotonous vocals of Daniel Higgs drag across each song with irritating insistence (like mozzarella you can’t bite through or chew), or wonder what would be wrong with a little variety of flavor from the chords (why always cardboard-dry pepperoni?), expressing these opinions won’t make you popular amongst friends—it will make you strange. So when you’re invited over to listen to the new Lungfish album on iTunes and have some dinner, instead of suggesting falafel, or recommending an alternative pizza style (“BBQ chicken sounds good!”) try to remember that Lungfish (like pizza) has some serious fans, and a few redeeming qualities. The Unanimous Hour is still music after all (and pizza is still food), and if you get drunk first you can listen to (and eat) anything, so bottoms up.