Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Material Issue - International Pop Overthrow


Growing up my friend Nick was pretty lucky to have two older sisters into good music. One put him onto things like skateboarding, punk rock, graffiti and miscellaneous rebellion. The other was an academic, but really into 90's indie rock, shoegaze, new wave and brit-pop. There was a fair amount of musical crossover between the two so I'm not sure which one got him into Material Issue, which coincidentally got me into Material Issue. Truth be told, I could not stand them at first. Sometime in middle school Nick and I were watching a VHS tape full of music videos one of his sisters had and "Valarie Loves Me" was on it. I think I might have said "they are trying too hard to sound British" or something at the time, but either way, I wasn't having it. I was a hard sell as a kid because I remember hearing the Morrissey single "The more you ignore me the closer I get" and Blur's Modern Life is Rubbish around the time I first heard Material Issue and I was put off by all three. Morrissey being the most offensive to me at the time. It more or less boiled down to the fact that none of those bands were Nine Inch Nails and I didn't really want to hear anything that wasn't fast, heavy or both.

A few years after the original exposure, Nick was listening to International Pop Overthrow in his car and it occurred to me that I really hadn't given Material Issue a fair shake. While they aren't the most mind-blowing, innovative band ever, they still put out a record full of incredible, jangly pop songs about girls and heartbreak. An old friend of mine always said he wanted his wedding song to be "The Very First Lie." Kind of funny given the backhanded nature of the lyrics, but a great song nonetheless.

Though this record sold fairly well, they were certainly overshadowed by other, edgier bands coming up in Chicago music at the time. They released a few more records following International Pop Overthrow, but like many (I presume), I've never actually listened to them. Sadly, lead singer Jim Ellison committed suicide in 1996.

Material Issue - International Pop Overthrow