-based Dischord Records was founded in 1980 by friends Ian MacKaye
and Jeff Nelson
to posthumously release a seven-inch single by their band the Teen Idles
. They went on to release records by more than 40 other bands, becoming one of the most seminal punk
labels in the United States. Although they have released different types of bands falling under the umbrella of “punk rock,” Dischord does not work with anyone who is not from the Washington-Baltimore area. In addition, it’s worth mentioning that they believe in selling records for a fair price -- for many years, their CD’s have retailed at $10.
They are arguably best known for putting out records by MacKaye’s two most celebrated bands -- Minor Threat and Fugazi. Minor Threat is credited with founding the straight edge movement (in fact, MacKaye unintentionally coined the term “straight edge”), while Fugazi is a tremendously influential post-punk band, hailed for their commitment to independence and leftist politics. During the signing craze of the 1992 alternative music boom, Fugazi famously refused to sign with a major label, despite offers of multi-million dollar advances.
In addition to MacKaye’s bands, other Dischord notables include Henry Rollins’ first band State of Alert (SOA), Rites of Spring, Jawbox, Nation of Ulysses, The Make*Up, Shudder to Think, Lungfish, Dag Nasty, Soulside and Hoover.
After a brief lull in releases throughout the mid-1990’s, Dischord has begun issuing records by a new generation of D.C. bands including Q and Not U, El Guapo and Black Eyes. In addition, they continue to support the D.C. music community by providing money and support to up-and-coming labels and advertising in even the smallest fanzines.
In 2001, Dischord released a 73-song retrospective CD boxed set entitled “20 Years of Dischord” with a song from each band with a release on the label, as well as comprehensive liner notes. Anyone interested in learning more about the label might consider picking it up.