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Jawbreaker

There are certain bands whose songs hit you at just the right moment of adolescence, whose music you blasted while driving a banged-up, third-hand car the wrong way down downtown streets. Jawbreaker, for many teens in the mid-'90s, was one of those bands. Their first three records, Unfun (1990), Bivouac (1992) and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (1994) were all progressively better takes on the San Francisco punk theme. By 1996's Dear You, Jawbreaker had signed to a major label (DGC), and--despite that blasphemy--put out their best record yet. The band didn't last long after Dear You, and Jawbreaker became yet another sob story in the annals of major-label destruction.

What separated Jawbreaker from other bands of their sound and era were their subtly ironic lyrics: "I don't think I hate you enough to commit you to me," sings Schwarzenbach in "I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both" off of Dear You. "Chemistry" is high school set to music, and "Unlisted Track" is the kind of simple song that makes aspiring 17-year-old songwriters shiver.

Blackball Records, run by Jawbreaker drummer Adam Pfhaler, just re-released Dear You, including five tracks that didn't make the original cut, and the video for "Fireman." Among the bonus tracks is "Shirt," the printed lyrics of which are accompanied by a picture of Kurt Cobain sporting a Jawbreaker shirt. Mostly, the re-issue is a sign that it's really been 10 years since the year punk exploded. and that Dear You has not been lost forever on the shelves of the indie-rock-gone-major-label museum of shame.

More by Annie Holub

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