The 101

The 101 (The Self-Starter Foundation)

In Andy Greenwald's lame book Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers and Emo, the author unhooks his lips from the gonads of Dashboard Confessional long enough to cite Denver's own Christie Front Drive as one of the founders of contemporary emo. Granted, that alone is enough to make anyone justifiably hate Christie Front Drive forever. But the music speaks for itself: From 1993 to 1996, the band put out a grip of records (including a split single with the now-famous Jimmy Eat World) that defined mid-'90s emo as much as it left it in the dust. While a lot their contemporaries were either too crybaby or too sassy, the guys in CFD simply wrote some great, powerful pop songs -- no Kleenex required.

Now, after a spell in the shoegazer outfit Antarctica, Christie Front Drive's leader Eric Richter is back with a trio called the 101. But don't think his hipster home base of Brooklyn is rubbing off on him; although this four-song disc is pretty stripped down, it's a far cry from dance punk or garage rock. Instead, Richter seems to be pulling straight from his roots -- most notably Superchunk and Hüsker Dü -- to forge a sturdy, streamlined and catchy-as-fuck style. His vocals and guitar work, as always, border on cavernously anthemic, but here the melodies blur by with a nervous velocity that doesn't sit still long enough to stew in either emotion or nostalgia. Thankfully, the 101 wouldn't have fit anywhere in Greenwald's book, seeing as how it's neither punk, teenage or emo -- not to mention the fact it sure as hell feels good.

 
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